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My partner and I are seriously considering adopting a dog from a good friend of our's. They are becoming aware of their inability to provide Carlos with the attention he needs and since we have just had to re-home our last dog we feel we're a good fit. Plus we absolutely adore Carlos.

The only problem is that his current family hasn't had him to a dog park in years. Carlos is turning four this summer. My partner and I love parks and dog parks in general and would love to take Carlos with us.

How should we go about testing to see if he's going to enjoy this? I highly doubt he'll be aggressive, but one can never be sure. He's quite submissive around people and in the house he's in currently he is the submissive dog out of two. Their older dog Casey is definitely the alpha.

I've heard that walking him on a leash around the dog park enclosure is a good way to test him. However I'm wondering what specific cues from him I should be looking for before deciding to take him in.

Also, should I keep him leashed once we enter the enclosure? I've seen people do this and personally I've always felt it was a bad idea. It seems to me like it would make the situation worse--making the dog feel trapped and such--but what do you think?
 

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Generally, if he's growling a lot or snapping, his ears are back, or his tail is tucked under, I don't think you shouldn't take him in there right away. A good idea would be to take him during times of the day when no one's there to let him get used to it first, and try to find a friend with a reliable dog that you can either play with there alone, or at your house to test him and see how he reacts. It doesn't sound to me like you would have a problem, but you never know, like you said.

Definitely no leashes in the enclosure. It can cause stress, frustration, and can make dogs react.
 

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Thanks for the reply!

I'm actually trying to get a friend to bring their border collie mix too. There are tons of places at this particular park where they can be alone together to play. And Gigi is a wonderful dog.

If nothing else I have no doubts that the two of them will have a great time, even if we don't make it to the rest of the dogs.

*chuckle*

I'm just worried that he might get a little over-stimulated with so many dogs. As I said his current owners haven't had the ability to get him out of the yard in years. They just don't have the time it's not that he's difficult.

I've never had to deal with over stimulation before so that's a concern. Would he just show aggression when he gets to that point? Or would it be more like shock symptoms? Heavy panting and laying down and such?
 

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I don't have much experience with over-stimulation in dogs, but I would imagine he would start by showing calming signals; licking his lips, yawning, tail between his legs, and he may even lay down, but it could very well escalate to aggression quick. I'd start playing with your friend's border collie first, then go to the part in the late morning maybe, when there aren't so many people there, but a few more, and gradually work up to a larger amount of dogs so that he's always comfortable.
 
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