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Great article! I frequent dog parks but have a well-trained, stable dog and know how to read body language relatively well thanks to my year spent monitoring dogs at a daycare. I know my dog and I know what playstyles work and don’t work with her. I also know how to read other dogs to see when they’re getting overwhelmed or over-aroused and will call my dog back so she doesn’t get involved. I have also, on multiple occasions, driven to the dog park to see owners on their phones, or dogs playing inappropriately, and turned right around without going in.

I think dog parks are a wonderful training opportunity for some people, and an absolute health hazard for others. I most likely would not frequent dog parks if I had a yard, and access to a few dogs for my dog to socialize with. But I don’t, at the moment, so dog parks it is.
 

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See, dog parks have never made sense to me.

Dogs are territorial pack animals. But lets take them to a common area and have them interact with other strange, unrestrained, territorial pack animals.

It smacks of anthropomorphizing them as little children that you take to make neighborhood friends at the local playground. (Never mind that there are plenty of snotty little crotch monkey bullies at children's playgrounds too)
 

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Yeaa I have never been the biggest fan of dog parks. Neither of my dogs have much desire to play when there are a lot of dogs in one area anyway, they kind of just linger around. They are both VERY friendly with other dogs when we come across them but I never shut them in an area with the sole idea of them just frolicking around with a bunch of other dogs of various personalities. If we come across another dog on a walk and my dogs express an interest in interacting with it and so does the other dog, then great! They have had many short play sessions that way. I like for my dogs to initiate play themselves, and not with dozens of other dogs who I hope are also friendly and under control.
 

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I think if my dog could talk he would explain the dog park experience as equivalent to attending one's spouses yearly office/x-mas party. I personally detest the very concept of dog parks. They're rarely good for dogs but are often touted and used as a good reason to restrict dogs to go anywhere else outside of its home. You know, cuz if your dog wants to go out that's why we have dog parks mantra. I'm old. I had dogs before dog parks were a thing. After the leash law clamp down era something was needed to give the dog a bone, as before then we all just brought our dogs wherever and on occasion there would be issues (not nearly so often as you'd think) and the dog park was the solution. Problem is space/dog density and activity options. Back in the day you'd go to most parks/public spaces and see, at most, a couple of dogs within your visible range. They'd be interested in what their human pack was up to, not what the dog across the field was up to. Volleyball, swimming, frisbey, picnic. Whatever. The dog was there with it's human family to do human family things in much more open spaces. The dog park is geared towards having your dog purposefully try to hangout with a dense population of stranger dogs while the human family babysits. Just... no.
 
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