Little dogs in the big dog park
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Thread: Little dogs in the big dog park

  1. #1
    Junior Member Twrx's Avatar
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    Little dogs in the big dog park

    So my local dog park is actually quite nice with quite a few great dog owners that frequent it. It has a dedicated park for large dogs (20lbs+) and a small dog park.

    I usually go on the weekends, and I have never seen any problematic dogs there. The owners know their dogs, and are actually pretty good.

    My problem is the people that bring their 10lb chihuahuas into the large dog area. It sucks because when I see a small dog in there, it means my greyhound cannot go in and play.

    She has some prey drive in her, and combined with years of racing (chasing small fast moving objects), I do not want to take a chance that she will snap back into a racing mindset. Any larger dog, my dog does perfectly fine with.

    So why do people do this? The small dog park is smaller, but still a nice size. 9 times out of 10, if I watch those people and their dogs, they won't leave their owners side as the 5-10 large dogs running around intimidate them. Then I look at the small dog side, and the 3-4 little dogs are all running around having fun.

    Why?
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    Senior Member kathylcsw's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    Our local dog park has a large and small dog side with 30 lbs and under considered "small." As someone who owns dogs under 10lbs I would never consider taking them to the big dog side. I see small dogs over there all the time though. We went yesterday and we were the only ones on the small side although there were 2 Cairn Terriers on the big dog side. I would never risk my small dogs getting hurt and do not understand those who seem to not consider that.

    I do find that small dog owners can be really weird about their dogs though. I have a Jack Russell Terrier and she plays somewhat rough. Some people are so overprotective of small dogs that she cannot always play with the other dogs. Thye act like they are afraid she will hurt their dogs. I also see owners who act all funny when dogs are sniffing each other's butts. The dog park can be an interesting place.

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    Senior Member Kayla_Nicole's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    In my experience, the people bringing small dogs in will say things like, "oh he/she loves to play with bigger dogs". I have a feeling that some dog owners do not think about how some large dogs might react to their small dogs, they only think of how their small dog reacts to most large ones.

    It does make it very difficult on owners such as yourself though. Are there signs posted or anything of the sort that says dogs must be over 20 lbs to play in the large dog section that you could perhaps point out to these dog owners?


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    Senior Member Crantastic's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    Could you ask those people to take their dogs to the proper side? Maybe if you explained that greyhounds naturally like to chase small animals and that you're worried about their dogs getting hurt or killed, they'd comply? Maybe not, though... a lot of dog park people think they're entitled to do whatever they want. This entire thread (about a chihuahua that was in the big dog side of the park because the small dog side was too small and no one ever used it) comes to mind: (Chihuahua killed by Husky at dog park yesterday..)

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  6. #5
    Senior Member taquitos's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    Yeah I take Meeko to the small dog side at my park... unless I see dogs that I know (bigger ones) that I know he gets along well with. I think the people who bring their dogs to the larger side are trying to socialize their small dogs with larger dogs as well so that they are comfortable with dogs of all sizes. You could always kindly ask the owners if they mind going to the other side because of your dog's prey drive. If someone asked I would have no qualms at all and will move to the other side.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Amaryllis's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    Quote Originally Posted by taquitos View Post
    Yeah I take Meeko to the small dog side at my park... unless I see dogs that I know (bigger ones) that I know he gets along well with. I think the people who bring their dogs to the larger side are trying to socialize their small dogs with larger dogs as well so that they are comfortable with dogs of all sizes. You could always kindly ask the owners if they mind going to the other side because of your dog's prey drive. If someone asked I would have no qualms at all and will move to the other side.
    A woman once brought an 18 month old chihuahua so small it would have fit into the palm of my hand (and I have small hands) to the big side of dog park, saying that she was getting a mastiff and she needed to get used to bigger dogs. Kabota is only 45lbs and normally is very friendly with every dog, but even he was getting weird around her, so I suggested that this was not the place for such a small dog, even if she just got stepped on by a bigger dog. The owner got very angry and started yelling, but once I opened my mouth, the other owners were emboldened to speak up and we got her to leave.

    I still worry about that dog and the planned for mastiff puppy.
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    Senior Member Flaming's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    I had to leave last night because someone brought 2 small pug puppies to the large side. My dog is clumsy and although she is nice she isn't exactly gentle when she plays...My dog will probably fall on one of those pugs and kill it. But that pug owner was staying there hell or high water and any larger dog that so much as looked at her pugs the wrong way was getting yelled at.

    The smaller side was literally 3 feet away, it's fairly large and had 3 other dogs around the same size as her pugs in it.

    Sadly this lady isn't the first to do that and probably wont be the last.
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    Senior Member CptJack's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    Because people are dumb, and they are entitled.

    They believe that if they want their dogs socialized, the dogs at the dog park should be the dogs to do it. They believe that any dog at the park should be up for that task - except their dog, whom they are socializing. They believe that big dogs who are a danger to small dogs are, somehow, defective or broken or dangerous. They believe their small dogs (and they) are special snowflakes and the rules don't apply to their dogs, or themselves.

    I won't even let my similar sized dogs play without supervision. I am relaxing that a bit and allowing Jack and Bug to be out at the same time, when we leave. Kylie MIGHT be allowed out as she ages and calms, with the other two. Thud will NEVER be allowed out with the others, unsupervised. There's simply too much difference in size. Accidents happen and all it would take with that size difference is one warning snap.

    Furthermore, Kylie is by FAR the smallest dog in her agility class. The next smallest is a beagle that is more than twice her size. The others are BIG DOGS, and I'm not exactly letting her get all up in their business, either. Same reason: I don't know the dogs, I don't really know the owners. She really would love to play with the golden in class. I might let her, someday, but that won't be until I know the owner and dog better. The greyhound and GSD are interested in her running in not entirely comforting ways; I don't see her getting to interact with them, oh, ever.
    Last edited by CptJack; 04-08-2013 at 04:10 PM.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Kayota's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    I bring my dog to the large dog side because literally nobody uses the small dog side whether they have a small dog or not.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member taquitos's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    Quote Originally Posted by Amaryllis View Post
    A woman once brought an 18 month old chihuahua so small it would have fit into the palm of my hand (and I have small hands) to the big side of dog park, saying that she was getting a mastiff and she needed to get used to bigger dogs. Kabota is only 45lbs and normally is very friendly with every dog, but even he was getting weird around her, so I suggested that this was not the place for such a small dog, even if she just got stepped on by a bigger dog. The owner got very angry and started yelling, but once I opened my mouth, the other owners were emboldened to speak up and we got her to leave.

    I still worry about that dog and the planned for mastiff puppy.
    Yeah I mean if the dog is THAT small then yes, I would definitely worry. Sometimes size doesn't matter and the dogs can get along (WITH SUPERVISION OF COURSE), but there is obviously still the risk of an accident happening. I personally wouldn't be comfortable going over 50 lbs for dogs that socialize with Meeko. The biggest is a 50 lbs pit, but she is a special case (her back legs do not work properly due to a birth defect, and she's super gentle with small dogs). Dogs 25+ lbs usually tend to hang out in the big dog area. The small dog area is for dogs under 15 or so lbs... I can't imagine them having much space otherwise (at the park I am at anyway).

    Another issue is that despite it being fenced off, some dogs do try to jump over the fence (larger dogs of course), which is a bit problematic if the dog has a very high prey drive...

    Overall I just don't go to the dog park when it's very busy lol! I go with my friends' similar sized dogs, or I go when I see dogs I already know and am familiar with.

  12. #11
    Senior Member Kirsten&Gypsy's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    I'll be getting a sighthound in the future. I'll probably be taking him/her to the dog park during quiet hours for off leash time, and this is a problem I expect to run into.

    I would gently talk to the small dog owners, explaining the situation. It's prey drive, not aggression, yadayada. I'd rather not take chances, yadayada. Would you mind keeping your teacup yorkiechipoo in the proper side?

    Question for anyone: if a large dog hurts/kills a small dog in a situation where the small dog is on the wrong side of the park (according to posted signs), is the owner of the large dog liable?

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  13. #12
    Senior Member CptJack's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirsten&Gypsy View Post
    Question for anyone: if a large dog hurts/kills a small dog in a situation where the small dog is on the wrong side of the park (according to posted signs), is the owner of the large dog liable?
    Unfortunately, I would bet on most areas the answer to that being 'yes'. I don't much like the way laws are written regarding dog liability, because the general assumption is 'your property damaged someone else's property, pay up'. I like it even less when you can be held liable for your dog biting another dog or person ON YOUR PROPERTY, even if the person or dog has no business being there. If there's a leash law it can help, but not always. It works sort of lke 'get fined for breaking the leashlaw, but you can still use the dog owner for damaging their property (killing or hurting them/their dog)'.

  14. #13
    Senior Member Flaming's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirsten&Gypsy View Post
    I'll be getting a sighthound in the future. I'll probably be taking him/her to the dog park during quiet hours for off leash time, and this is a problem I expect to run into.

    I would gently talk to the small dog owners, explaining the situation. It's prey drive, not aggression, yadayada. I'd rather not take chances, yadayada. Would you mind keeping your teacup yorkiechipoo in the proper side?

    Question for anyone: if a large dog hurts/kills a small dog in a situation where the small dog is on the wrong side of the park (according to posted signs), is the owner of the large dog liable?
    I don't know about else where but here chances are it's the courts will make it large dogs fault. Even if a flying chi rips my dogs eye out of socket before my dog defends itself, it'll be my fault or I'll be dragged through courts so long I'll be living under a bridge somewhere.
    It's the attitude here that small dogs are delicate little snowflakes that can do no wrong and large dogs are to be watched at all times because they'll eat you.
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    Senior Member CptJack's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    Quote Originally Posted by taquitos View Post
    Dogs 25+ lbs usually tend to hang out in the big dog area. The small dog area is for dogs under 15 or so lbs... I can't imagine them having much space otherwise (at the park I am at anyway)..
    I don't really use dog parks, because here they're all thunderdome style things that are less boring than going to the legal off leash areas and letting them run/play with each other. A bunch of dogs crammed into a fenced in circle just strikes me as a disaster waiting to happen, and again - it's BORING.

    That said, I really wish there was more than 'big' and 'small'. Because frankly my 25lb dog would not do well with large dogs, anymore than my 15lb dog. Bug would be better with large dogs, in general, as far as PLAYSTYLE goes, but she's still a small dog who could easily get hurt. There needs to be a medium, darn it all. <25lbs, 25-50lbs, and >50 makes more sense to me.

  16. #15
    Senior Member Dog Person's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    Our dog park has a 35 lb and under small side and a big dog side. Zoey is a medium sized dog and she does much better on the small dog side. The few times I brought her into the big dog side the dogs were usually just too rough for her. Also, There usually is snarling and fighting over on that side. I figure I'll keep Zoey where it seems that it's a little more controllable ... although every so often there's a nasty dog in the small side as well.

  17. #16
    Senior Member DaisyDC's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    We live in a condo, with no yard, so for us the dog park is mostly somewhere we can go play ball or frisbee and get some zoomies out. If we had a yard we could play in, or there were any legal off-leash areas here, we'd probably use them instead. There's a few dog parks near us we've tried. One's a thunderdome-style free-for-all with no separate areas for big and small, and it seems to draw mostly big, rough dogs. We went maybe three times, and haven't been back. The most spacious and popular park has a separate small dog area, and Daisy's right on the size borderline, but frankly has always seemed enormous compared to the teacup sized dogs I see playing in there, so we stick with the "regular" side, as we mostly stick to ourselves anyway, and it for the most part has been okay. She's generally fine with dogs up to about lab/retriever sized, but much bigger, or in big groups, and she can get a little nervous. The best is an unfenced park that doesn't get much traffic, probably due to being unfenced; the dogs tend to be midsized and well behaved, and the most I've ever seen there at once is maybe 8, tops. We tend to go there, as I like using it for a bit of off-leash hiking.

    Honestly, as the owner of a dog on the small side, I've removed her when I've seen her getting nervous, or big dogs getting too intense. I think the small dog owner has to be just as--if not more--aware as the big dog owner, and not hesitate to remove the dog if they need to, especially if there is a small dog area to use.

  18. #17
    Senior Member LoMD13's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    I've seen a large dog switch within seconds from being perfectly friendly and chill for several hours to thinking my little dog was a bunny to chase and kill. Having seen that, and how sudden it was, I tend to think people who put their little dogs in with big dogs thunderdome style are being sort of reckless.

  19. #18
    Senior Member RCloud's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    Yeah, it annoys me. The very last time I was ever at a dog park, was last summer in northern California. There was a dog park right across the street from where we were staying at my in-law's house, and I decided a couple times to bring Ma'ii in. There was one women there who always had her tiny Chihuahua in the large dog section. The dog was nervous, timid, and anti-social towards other dogs, and every time I saw them there, the dog was sitting on her lap on a bench. One day while there, Ma'ii approached this dog on her lap, genuinely curious, calm, and good natured. He wasn't being pushy or over excited, he simply wanted to sniff him. The dog jerked back in a panic and the women shoved Ma'ii - HARD. I didn't say anything to her, I called Ma'ii over, leashed him and left, but still, WTF?? If you and your small dog are that freaked out by larger dog greeting them, what are you doing at a dog park, let alone in the large dog section? IMO, you have no business being there!


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  20. #19
    Senior Member Flaming's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    The little pugs were there again today except this time the slightly larger of the 2 was getting in the face of and going skitzo in the faces of larger dogs.
    We left, we had too, Manna couldn't take a dog as small as her head chasing her and being a pint sized bully. Manna plays rough but she's getting to understand her size.
    Honestly I hope that dog doesn't get eaten but for some reason I can see it happening very soon.
    And the owner....still yelling at everyone
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  21. #20
    Senior Member InkedMarie's Avatar
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    Re: Little dogs in the big dog park

    I would tell the dog owner, not ask, them to leave the large dog area. If they will not, I would call whomever is in charge of the park. If there is no number to call, I would call the police. If the police won't come, I would insist in it, saying you want it on record that they refused to leave and that if their dog gets hurt, it's their fault. I would try to get the dog owners license plate, if they drove. I know you don't want the little dog to get hurt but you shouldn't have to leave. Maybe go to the small og section; when they complain, tell them to talk sense into the other owner.

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