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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I would like to take my dog, Halo, to the dog park for the first time. I have never been to a dog park before. I am kind of nervous and wondering if it is a good idea.

Halo (1 years old) doesn't really get to be around a lot of other dogs. When we go walking she loves to visit with other dogs and sniff. Our neighbors dogs are either older or a little too aggressive so she doesn't get to play with them. She really hasn't gotten to really play with other dogs since puppy class I am embarrassed to say.

Halo is a friendly dog. She's a 35 lb English Springer Spaniel Mix. She's a very smart dog, but does have some issues. She invents new fears all the time. I don't want her to out of the norm out of fears or make other dogs want to do something to her. Last week a Halo and I went walking with a friend and a man walking a 6 or 7 year old Beagle came up and they sniffed each other. The dog then snapped at Halo for no reason. It really didn't seem to bother Halo. I was more shocked than she was.

Well yesterday we went to run errands and she barked and growled at every dog we passed. She used to just get happy, but the growling shocked me. She only barks at select people.

Oh, my father did say he tried to take her to a dog park on leash one day some months ago. He didn't elaborate much other than to say it was kind of embarrassing. She just gets really excited when she sees other dogs.

Does she sounds really to go to the dog park? I feel like I have maybe done her an injustice by waiting so long.

Any tips if i take her today.

Thank you all
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I guess we are going to be waiting another week or so. I didn't even realize you have to register. I send this in Monday. I would still love some more tips. And thanks for the positive response.

Dog Park Fees and Registration

Although the concept of organized dog parks has been around since the 1980’s, it has been much more recent that city park systems have accepted the challenge of developing safe, easily accessible, and FUN recreation centers for “man’s best friend”. As a result of the relatively new placement within the P&R budget, fees for the Durham Dog Park are required to help alleviate costs associated with park operation and expansion; i.e. waste disposal bags, water lines, fencing and maintenance. Your Dogapalooza Tag will allow your pet access to existing and future Dogapalooza Dog Parks.

Please note: Fees are not prorated, and are valid for the City of Durham’s fiscal year, July 1 through June 30.

Fee Schedule:
City of Durham residents:
$12/year for first dog
$10/year for each additional dog
Non Durham city residents:
$20/year for first dog
$18/year for each additional dog

I just found one more dog park in the next City over. i think we will try this one out. There are no fees or rules that I have found yet. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing.
 

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I've never been to a dog park with fees, but I'd support it. It might weed out some of the most casual users and I can't imagine that a buck-a-month would discourage anyone who's serious.

I would NOT go to a dogpark without rules. Canine anarchy is a very ugly thing and is, I think, the source of most of the horror stories people love to relate about dogparks.

Also, a dog on a leash in a dogpark full of unleashed dogs is likely to feel vulnerable and defensive. Not a good thing.

Your dog may or may not be a dogpark-type dog. There's probably only one way to tell and it's not a failure, on your part or your dog's, if it doesn't work out. The only failure comes from ignoring signs that your dog is extremely uncomfortable or defensive around other dogs or that there are out-of-control dogs in the park that might be a threat. Don't be afraid to walk away if it's not working (even if you've already paid the annual fee.)
 

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The dog park I used to go to had an annual fee as well. It also had rules but sadly, some people either couldn't read or felt the rules didn't apply to them. I stopped going because my dog was attacked on a few occasions and I didn't want to chance another attack. That said, I know of a lot of people that go to dog parks all the time and have wonderful experiences. I doubt I will ever go again unless I can find a park that only has a few dogs and the regulars of the park are super responsible people.
 

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When you get to the park you'll want to watch for several things: Are the other owners watching/controlling their dogs? Sadly, some bring their dogs there to just harrass and bully the other dogs and burn off some energy. Are the dogs really playing? Good play should have good amounts of role reversals....on top, then on bottom; chaser, then chasee. Are the dogs well mannered/socialized? Respecting another dogs desire to not play.
Did the owners bring water for their dogs? Maybe even a first aid kit? Do the owners have good control...especially recall?
Those are just a few of the things to watch for. You might try different times of the day to get into a good group.
 

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When you get to the park you'll want to watch for several things: Are the other owners watching/controlling their dogs? Sadly, some bring their dogs there to just harrass and bully the other dogs and burn off some energy. Are the dogs really playing? Good play should have good amounts of role reversals....on top, then on bottom; chaser, then chasee. Are the dogs well mannered/socialized? Respecting another dogs desire to not play.
Did the owners bring water for their dogs? Maybe even a first aid kit? Do the owners have good control...especially recall?
Those are just a few of the things to watch for. You might try different times of the day to get into a good group.

Good advice TonneyDogs. This was all lacking in my park experiences. I think the only dog there that had any recall was mine. Some of the play that was going on was a Golden retriever that was killing some bird and the owners were mostly on cell phones or chatting with each other way far away from the dogs. I would NEVER want to put my dog into any situation like that.
 

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Probably the same way they'd enforce licensing and rabies vaccinations. Animal control, or some other authority, walks through periodically and dogs without the appropriate tags are ticketed.

I guess the owners are ticketed, not the dogs.
 

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Yeah, I would assume it is about Animal Control showing up. I wish they would make themselves more visible at the dog parks. I think it would help some with the people NOT following the rules. It would be a much happier place if everyone could just abide by the few simple rules in place. Picking up after your own dog is another one of my pet peeves at dog parks and elsewhere. So few people seem to know how to do that. I mean, It isn't rocket science and yet... Just think of all the freedoms that would be allowed our dogs if there were not so many irresponsible pet owners. :(
 

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The one in Johnson City, TN is also a dog park with fees. ($18/year) They issue you a swipe card to get into the park once you pay your fee. After the ordeal with the Richmond, VA dog park (FLEAS everywhere, aggressive dogs, just generally pretty skanky), I fully support fees for dog park enterance.

I have a springer spaniel mix, too, and she is also about a year old and she is from North Carolina... But she is great at dog parks. She is very excitable in general, but dog parks and large events (we take her to outdoor festivals where dogs are welcome) she handles with grace. It is actually kind of surprising.

I'll also add that for some reason, beagles set her off. She doesn't do anything to them, but she gets spooked around beagles and only around beagles -- both familiar ones and ones we meet out walking. It's a little weird, but I thought I would mention it since you said your pup had a bad reaction to a beagle.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you all so much for your advice. It is good to read about others experiences too. I guess I have have to give it a try and stop worrying so much. Halo is so friendly and excitable, she acts like she doesn't notice that other dogs don't like her.

I believe the city gives special dog tags for dogs where the owners have paid there fees. I don't think it is enforced very well. My dad said he didn't notice anything stating you had to be a member.

Trixie, I remember speaking with you before on here when the dogs were younger. You dog looks a lot more springer spaniel than Halo does. I want to do a DNA test. Oh and Halo actually liked the Beagle. They were getting along well ( I thought) and the Beagle just snapped at Halo out of the blue. The owner apologized. Halo acted like she didn't even notice.

Here are the rules for the other park:

Dog Parks
Homestead Dog Park
Homestead Park
100 Northern Park Drive

Hours: Daily, dawn to dusk

The long awaited 20,000 square foot Homestead Dog Park is now open. Your dog can run and play without a leash in this enclosed area in Homestead Park. The dog park is entered through a double gate to ensure safe release of dogs from leashes. The fence is 5 feet high to prevent dogs from escaping. The park is open dawn to dusk.

When using the park please follow these rules of behavior:

Dog owners must be 12 years or older or be supervised by an adult at all times while in park
Dogs must be at least 6 months old
Dogs must be leashed while entering and exiting the park
Dog owners must have leash in hand at all times
Dogs must be under voice control at all times while in the park
Dog owners must be in the park and within view of their dogs while the dogs are using the park
Dog feces must be cleaned up by owners
Dog owners must fill in any holes created by their dogs
Dogs must be removed from the dog park at the first sign of aggression
Female dogs in heat are prohibited from the park
Please remember that the Homestead Dog Park is the Town’s only leash-free dog run area. Dogs using all other parks, trails, greenways, or open space areas must be on a maximum 6-foot leash. In addition, dogs are prohibited from entering athletic fields.

Southern Community Park
UNDER CONSTRUCTION
1000 Dogwood Acres Drive
(southern entrance)

Phase One of Southern Community Park is currently under construction with an anticipated completion date in late spring or early summer 2008. The approximate 2-acre dog park will have water, a small dog area and will be split 50/50 shaded and sunny.
 

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Well isn't that nice abut the fees. So you mean to tell me that when I visit my sister and want to bring Lola to the dog park I can't do it without paying the full fee?. I don't mind paying for a day or two. They should have a visitor fee. If someone from there were to bring there dog up here to our dog parks they would not be charged a dime. People can and have brought their dog's to our dog parks when visiting from out of state.

They just need to follow the rules like anyone else.
 
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