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So, I have a 9-year-old lhasa apso. He goes for daily walks and is properly socialized. He has no problem getting along with other people or other animals. I have cats, birds, hamsters... and he gets along with them all. However, he is a little nervous around big dogs. When he was still a pup, he was being walked and a lab/german shep cross attacked him. Luckily, both dogs were on leashes and the owner of the larger dog pulled her dog back, but Odie still was hurt and had to have treatment for bites on his face. It wasn't too bad, but he was traumatized. It has taken me years but I think I have finally gotten him to the point where he won't be completely terrified around bigger dogs. We walk down some busy streets on our walks and over the years he has gotten better when he encounters big dogs. Also, I work for a veterinarian and I take him to work often. He interacts with bigger dogs there and has been doing very well. My only concern is that at an off-leash dog park, there will be no control over the dogs due to the fact that they will not be leashed and okay, lets face it, I'm so attached to my dog and I'm terified that he will freak out. All of my co-workers talk about how great the dog park is and how much fun their dogs have. I don't want to deprive my dog of that fun, so... I think I'm gonna give it a try. Thoughts?
 

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Don't! There's just too much risk of something bad happening at dog parks. If it was my dog I would not risk it.
 

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Don't! There's just too much risk of something bad happening at dog parks. If it was my dog I would not risk it.
Thats what I'm scared of. I know my dog would never provoke a dog or start anything. He's very predictable. It's other dogs that I'm worried about. It's taken me so long to get him back to being fairly comfortable around other dogs. I've talked to people at work that swear by dog parks. One veterinarian at work has a pug that she takes all the time and her dog has a blast. Everybody at work says that they've never seen anything bad happen at the dog park... so I was starting to think that maybe I'm just being paranoid.
 

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Karli lives for her saturdays at the dog park . She was a rescue and very timid it took her a couple weeks before we even knew she could bark we were and are her 3rd and last home . I think you will be shocked at how gentle most of those dogs are last week she made friends with the sweetest pit people around were asking if they were fighting because she was rolling Karli over her back but as gentle as if Karli was a puppy. We all told them no. It was so funny to watch .
One other thing people that take the time to take their dogs to a park those dogs are their babies also and no one wants their dog hurt . You meet some very nice people and their 4 legged owners .
So my vote is go for it try it once or even 2 times because its something new and see how your baby does .
 

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well i was nervous too, my lhasa is 2.5 years old and never met very many dogs and after a few times at the park she was fine. some advice i would give include

go to a park that has a small dog area separate. that way your dog can interact with smaller dogs but also have clear view of bigger dogs in the main area and get used to them being around (plus getting used to all the new smells in the area in general)

go to the park on weekdays in the morning when its more likely that kids will not be there to rile up big dogs and there will also be less dogs in general during weekdays in the mornings before 2-3 pm (from my experience)

mine was very nervous and scared when being greeted by big dogs. but now she can greet 2-3 big ones at the same time as long as they dont crowd her (4+ big dogs all greeting and she will get a little ansty but we're still working on it). i've found taht normally its either the puppies (large breed puppies) that give the most trouble - because they dont know when to stop sniffing at the little ones that are nervous). if you go a few times you might notice the same people with the same calmer/older dogs that will make it very easy for yours to meet some older ones without as much risk.

my lhasa is very picky still about who she plays with though, but i can tell she has a lot of fun when she does find someone to play with and its also fun seeing her interact with many different dogs. last week she chased a great dane around the park! we have only been going maybe once or twice a week in the past 2 months though . so things will take time but it is well worth it =) have fun !
 

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My dog loves the dog park. He adores running and playing with other dogs. We make sure to only go when it is not crowded and we keep him close. I have never had a problem, but tons of people have. It is up to you and you need to make the decision for yourself.
 

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Like anything else, there are risk/benefit ratios that you have to weigh for yourself.

If you get in a car accident at 60 mph you won't be as injured as if you were going 70..does that mean you always do the limit?

Planes crash, do you avoid planes because of the slim possibility that you're next flight isn't going to see a landing strip?

Do you avoid going out to a bar because you might end up in a knife fight with some raving lunatic?

Dog parks are no different. You have dog owners of questionable competence, with dogs of unpredictable temperament and breed. Anything can happen. My experiences with dog parks have been nothing but positive..there are anywhere from 5-30 dogs there at any given time, most off leash. The only problem I saw last week was one dude with his German Shepard..which was snarling at other dogs. A woman asked him to please put his dog on a leash and hold him back, he did but then he complained that the other dogs should be on leashes too! As if they should all be punished for his dogs lack of sociability..but I digress.

Your dog was traumatized..between you and me this should have been dealt with years ago when it first happened. Better late than never. And just because the dog park is "off leash" doesn't mean you have to let your dog run around free. Maybe keep some mace handy just in case something does happen.
 

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My dog LOVES the dog park. She is older and not so much interested in playing with other dogs, but will usually find a swimming partner who has a temperment like her own. We have had encounters with crappy owners and their ill-behaved, poorly socialized dogs. My dog will stand her ground even though she is not a large Lab. I have never had to seperate another dog from her.

I recently took a friend and her year old GSD with me. They were dog park virgins. She was terrified to let him off the leash for fear he would get into a fight. He is not aggressive, just a playful 100 lb pup.

From my own encounters, I feel you can not keep your dog on a leash, it's only asking for trouble. Let them run and be a dog. A heirarchy is quickly established at a dog park and dogs have a way of finding playmates that suit them.

Not sure if this applies to your park, but at the two we visit, there is an area for little dogs only. You could also try going in late morning/early afternoon during the week when it's not as busy.

Good luck with whatever decision you make, it will be the right one for you and yours.
 

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The decision is up to each dog owner but to me going to a dog park would be like having my child hitchhike everywhere. Maybe nothing would ever happen but the risks would be too great for me to ever do that. The only way I would ever even possibly risk a dog park would be if it was a neighborhood park that had strict, enforced rules and some type of knowledgeable supervision. Maybe I am overly cautious but I'd rather be that than watch my dog torn to bits because I thought it would never happen to my dog.

As someone said, weigh risks vs benefits, taking into consideration that, while you make choices for yourself when it comes to things like flying or driving at excessive speeds, your dog has no choice about decisions you make that affect its welfare, health and even its life.
 

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I love the dog park I go to. But most importently my dog loves it.

Will your dog enjoy it?
Does he like to play?
Is he nervous around a large group of dogs?

Not every dog is a dog park dog. Not every dog enjoys going or playing.

Do they have a small dog section?

My dog enjoys it alot, and even a mention of the word park sends him in to a frenzy of excitment. W go at the same time every day, so when 2 o'clock rolls around, he is so excitied to go.

But if he didnt like to play and run with oher dogs. I would bother.

Sounds like your dog is uncomfortable with large dogs. And a group of hyper playing dogs may just make him very nervous. and he could snap at a dog. Even though you say he wouldnt, you never know as you have never put him in this type of situation. He is 9 years old, hasnt played with many dogs from my understanding (correct me if Im wrong) So why stress him out by throwing him into this type of enviroment?

The decision is up to each dog owner but to me going to a dog park would be like having my child hitchhike everywhere. Maybe nothing would ever happen but the risks would be too great for me to ever do that. The only way I would ever even possibly risk a dog park would be if it was a neighborhood park that had strict, enforced rules and some type of knowledgeable supervision. Maybe I am overly cautious but I'd rather be that than watch my dog torn to bits because I thought it would never happen to my dog.

As someone said, weigh risks vs benefits, taking into consideration that, while you make choices for yourself when it comes to things like flying or driving at excessive speeds, your dog has no choice about decisions you make that affect its welfare, health and even its life.

I have been going to dog parks for almost 5 years. not once have I seen a dog "ripped in to shreds" not once have I seen a fight so bad it drew blood.

My dog has been in some heated fights at the park. its life dog fihts happen, wether it be at a dog park, a conservation, a neighboorhood block. he has been in worse situations at the end of a 6 foot leash.

If you scop out a park, become friendly with people. you will notice that most are not some idiot dog owners we all would like to believe they are. I have met soem amazing friends I never would have met if I didnt go. Some amazing dog experts (good breeders, behavhourists and just all around knowledgable people)

if you go at offpeak times and get to know the regulars. it is a great place to go. My good dog park experiences out weight the bad at least 100:1. I cant even think of the last bad time I have had there.

well off tot he dog park, it is 2pm...
 

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I understand that hearing how people's dogs LOVE and LIVE for the dog park can make you feel like you are perhaps missing out on things. I don't understand why a lot of dog owners these days (and perhaps this has always been true) feel like dogs 'need' to be able to go to parks with lots of other dogs and play. Dogs are not children...I don't think they are at the house 'wanting' to go play with other dogs at the park. I have come to the realization that mac'n'roe have each other to play with...and we have other means to meet and socialize with other dogs...without the risk of being attacked. My dogs are very happy and well socialized without the use of the dog park.

There are a lot of risks at a dog park....I've tried taking mine..and the past few times I've been there...I have seen problems. Last time I went, a dog immediately began jumping in Mac's face and Mac was then jumped by three dogs (within 1 minute of us being there)...and though it ended no one was hurt..it just goes to show how quickly things can go wrong.

Your dog isn't missing out on anything...it's nine years old and probably happy. If the dog has fears of larger dogs, why put your dog through that anxiety along with the risk that something could go wrong, which could end up with your dog being hurt. I would highly suggest against it. If you do go, make sure you go to one with a small dog area and go at times when there are less dogs (less than 7) there...and try to use it as a way to make friends to have private play dates...
 

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I understand that hearing how people's dogs LOVE and LIVE for the dog park can make you feel like you are perhaps missing out on things. I don't understand why a lot of dog owners these days (and perhaps this has always been true) feel like dogs 'need' to be able to go to parks with lots of other dogs and play. Dogs are not children...I don't think they are at the house 'wanting' to go play with other dogs at the park. I have come to the realization that mac'n'roe have each other to play with...and we have other means to meet and socialize with other dogs...without the risk of being attacked. My dogs are very happy and well socialized without the use of the dog park.

There are a lot of risks at a dog park....I've tried taking mine..and the past few times I've been there...I have seen problems. Last time I went, a dog immediately began jumping in Mac's face and Mac was then jumped by three dogs (within 1 minute of us being there)...and though it ended no one was hurt..it just goes to show how quickly things can go wrong.

Your dog isn't missing out on anything...it's nine years old and probably happy. If the dog has fears of larger dogs, why put your dog through that anxiety along with the risk that something could go wrong, which could end up with your dog being hurt. I would highly suggest against it. If you do go, make sure you go to one with a small dog area and go at times when there are less dogs (less than 7) there...and try to use it as a way to make friends to have private play dates...

Great post! Thank you!.
 

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The last event I had with Mac...we went in..and mac'n'roe were greeting the dogs. A dog came up to mac and was NOT properly socialized and was getting all up in Mac's face putting his mouth on mac's face...jumping in his face while making contact with him. Mac was clearly uncomfortable and was trying to remove himself from the dog's relentless invasion with normal dog avoidance techniques (turning his head, backing up, trying to get away from the dog). Then, Mac gave a warning look (raised hackles). I immediately called Mac to me, as I saw the problem happening and was right there about to intervene. The dog backed off for a second and I thought it was going to walk away..Mac was turning to come to me and then the dog attacked with others joining in.

BTW - there were only about 9 dogs at the park...plenty of room...but this dog immediately came for mac...and the owner was no where to be found...not watching her dog. Luckily I had another woman right there that was dog savvy enough to help me with the situation while I secured my dog Roe.

The risk to your dog isn't necessarily if your dog is socialized..but others. and, if something happens between other dogs..your dog could be caught in the cross fire (which I've also seen, as my dog being the perpetrator). It's just not worth it. I've been to the dog park probably...oh 40 times. I don't think I've been there 10 times when NOTHING happened...every other time I've seen some sort of scuffle between two dogs. No, they haven't been ripped to shreds or killed....but I feel their safety is more important.
 

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My dog does enoy the company of other dogs.

what about people like me, with out another dog?
No friends who own dogs, and the 2 that do, 1 is a 13 year old lhaso apso who doesnt play and another very obese chiuahah who is 8 who is terrified of his own shadow.

I have no where to let my dog run legally offleash. so the dog park is the best place. I guess Im lucky with my dog park. I havnt had to many issues ever. I adore the dogs and the people know how dogs act are not idiots.
 

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Your are very lucky tank:)

My DP is a Zoo ....the "big" dog side has at a min 30+ dogs while some owners are very nice..others are on the phone, sitting on the bench, or socializing w/other people while there dogs are at the other end of the park.....the little side is ok ...but a little too boring...I used to take my dogs but they are intimidated by the big dog side and are to active for the small dog side..so we just play at home :D

I can only go at peak hrs...because I work 9-5 m-f...the only off time I could think to go might be early Sunday morning:(
 

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This is like life in general, you pay your quarter and take a chance on the ride. If I have this correct you want to take a nine year old dog to a dog park. This was a dog that has already had a problem with a large dog and you have him straightened out so now you're going to give a bunch of dogs a chance at him because you think he might have fun. I have absolutely no experience in dog parks. 50 yrs in the dog business and I consider myself lucky that I never felt the need to serve any of my dogs up to the dog park doG of chance. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
 

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My sister is the epitome of overprotectiveness. She literally followed Landen around the park so he was never more than like 10 feet from her. She got so frustrated when he would just take off running just to run. She is the opposite of those people who sit around and do not pay attention to their dogs.
 
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