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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone!

Wesley got a nasty bite from another dog at the park that pretty much covers half of his head and face. It's awful.

Scariest part:
It looks like he was brutally attacked, but he was actually just playing with a larger dog when this happened. I see it all the time (Wes does this, too) - holding another dog's head or neck with teeth while playing. The problem is, this time Wesley twisted his head while it was inside the other dog's mouth, and the dog clamped down on him.

What's your general feeling about public dog parks?

Even though I have a backyard, I take Wes to the park every day. He's a one-owner type of dog (could really care less about people he doesn't know), but socializing with other dogs is his FAVORITE THING IN THE WORLD. I haven't found any other activity that makes him as excited or motivates him to exercise this much.

Of course, not every pet owner is the same. I have seen some pretty terrible, unprovoked attacks in the past year that made me wonder why ANYONE would knowingly bring their aggressive dog to the park.

So I've always watched him. The entire time. Probably a lot more than the majority of people who bring books, socialize, etc. I honestly just stare at my dog and call him if anything even close to him gets out of hand.

I know there's a risk every time we go, but this incident has made me wonder if I am a bad owner, if I should deprive him of something he loves, or if maybe getting another dog for him to play with at home would be the best thing.

Thoughts?

wesbite1.jpg wesbite2.jpg wesbite3.jpg
 

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I can't offer much advise, seeing that the phenomenon 'dog parks' is unknown where I'm from. We have unfenced off leash areas for dogs, and that's it :p Good recall is pretty much essential.

If you don't trust the situation at the dog park, perhaps the best decision is not to bring him there anymore. Maybe you can find another off leash area for your dog to romp around?

Adding another dog is something I'd only do if you yourself would feel ready for it (financially, enough space, and enough time to devote) and of course, if the current dog is (preferably more than) okay with it. But the latter doesn't sound like a problem for Wesley ;) But I don't know if adding another dog is a solution to your problem.
 

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Scariest part:
It looks like he was brutally attacked, but he was actually just playing with a larger dog when this happened. I see it all the time (Wes does this, too) - holding another dog's head or neck with teeth while playing. The problem is, this time Wesley twisted his head while it was inside the other dog's mouth, and the dog clamped down on him.
I think the question should be after you have seen other dogs injured and now your dog has been worked over, how do you feel about it. As far as what kind of dog owner you are I think I'll keep thoughts on that to myself.
 

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Personally, i love the dog park. There are always risk when you enter which you need to know of such as things like these happening.

First time i ever brought jacey to the dog park, He was a skittish little pup who would be on his back being submissive every time a dog even went near him. A year later and he doesn't have this issue to often but he can be pretty anti social unless he's with the right dog. Just tends to walk around, or sprint around depending on his energy level and dogs tent to follow.

Jacey has been attacked before, but its something you just have to move on from or they can sense your anxiety and pass it along. Along with getting hurt like this, Your dog can easily get kennel cough. Jacey caught it from there as well. Although it is a general rule, Not everyone keeps up to date on their needles like they should. Which doesn't help contain sickness.

You can try to find more controlled groups however. I usually have a few doggie friends over in the yard from time to time and if things get just a bit to out of hand we are on them in a second. We also have group walks on the weekends. One of the local dog trainers here started the group and there are 600 members in it. There is a good outcome most weeks from 20 up of people. Great way to socialize your dog and keep them fit. Something to consider trying to start up. Some of the dogs in the group are aggressive and jerks on leashes, But with a group it helps to have the support of others around you. They also take donations at the start of the walk and donate it to rescue groups on the island.

Hope im allowed to post this but this is a feature the news did of the group walks.
http://ntv.ca/?p=1617
 

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I have no need for dog parks with my current dogs (Neeka is reactive and SiSi only likes small, gentle dogs), but I live downtown and dog parks and off leash areas are pretty much the same thing. We avoid the issue and go to a football field when no one is using it. We leave when other dogs come or at least move to the other side of the field.

The only exception is when we go to an offleash area with trails instead of a fenced in box. Our dogs do way better there, and I think the motion of the owners greatly reduces confrontations in dogs.

If I did have a dog that liked to play with other dogs, I'd try to set up private playdates. That failing, I'd probably go to a facility that has playgroups. If that wasn't around, I'd try to find a park with a lot of space and a solid group of regulars that are good at moderating the park and know the dogs that should be avoided.

I mean- when you have dogs play, there will always be an element of danger. If you have a dog that really enjoys playing with other dogs, I think it's all about management and trying to limit the risks as much as possible. I also wouldn't go until my dog had very solid recall. I need to be able to call my dog out of a situation I don't want them in.
 

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WHen I lived in the US, I went to the dog park with a friend and his dog, but it didn't seem like a great place. There was some jerk there tossing out kibble which led to his dog aggressively guarding the kibble, people opening both gates at once for their dogs to come through allowing other dogs to escape, lots of skirmishes, and one dog who did not have bite inhibition that latched onto another dog. The owner of the biter had to hit her on the head repeatedly to get her to let go. (this was about 6 visits where I saw these things.) My friend decided to go to other places, but not the dog park.

Here we don't have dog parks, but we go to the soccer field with an 18M long leash. The dogs are really thrilled there as they run play and tumble. They've never gotten tangled or anything. Sometimes dogs wander in, but we don't let them play since they don't have their owner with them and/or are street dogs. I'm just too scared in that situation. Probably only 10% of people vaccinate their dogs here. Very few are fixed.

We have a fenced yard, so occasionally have someone come over to play. This is also big fun for the dogs.
 

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There have been many threads on this topic in the past. You might want to do a search. There seems to be a fairly even split among opinions. Some dog owners love and swear by them, some are wary and proceed with caution and some dislike and avoid them, feeling them too risky. I am in the last group.

I have a very soft, gentle, docile, smallish dog who absolutely loves every dog she meets; big, massive, small or tiny. Sadly for her, (and at times scary for the both of us), not all dogs love her back. I feel that dog parks are just too risky.

My opinion only. Other opinions will differ, according to many variables.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I can't offer much advise, seeing that the phenomenon 'dog parks' is unknown where I'm from. We have unfenced off leash areas for dogs, and that's it :p Good recall is pretty much essential.

If you don't trust the situation at the dog park, perhaps the best decision is not to bring him there anymore. Maybe you can find another off leash area for your dog to romp around?

Adding another dog is something I'd only do if you yourself would feel ready for it (financially, enough space, and enough time to devote) and of course, if the current dog is (preferably more than) okay with it. But the latter doesn't sound like a problem for Wesley ;) But I don't know if adding another dog is a solution to your problem.
Thanks for this response! I guess what's upsetting me most is that I failed to recognize the way he was playing with this dog as dangerous. I agree that good recall is key, which is why I never took him there until he was fully trained (off leash). If I can't get him to stop everything and come to me, no matter how distracted he is around multiple dogs, that is a really scary thing. Maybe I should do more research on the playing habits of dominant/aggressive dogs to know what to watch for? :(
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Scariest part:


I think the question should be after you have seen other dogs injured and now your dog has been worked over, how do you feel about it. As far as what kind of dog owner you are I think I'll keep thoughts on that to myself.
Wow. THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking time out of your day to read a post that was obviously difficult, heart breaking, and embarrassing for me to write. If it wasn't for people like you leaving short, condescending remarks, WHO KNOWS where this forum would be. It must be tough knowing everything!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Personally, i love the dog park. There are always risk when you enter which you need to know of such as things like these happening.

First time i ever brought jacey to the dog park, He was a skittish little pup who would be on his back being submissive every time a dog even went near him. A year later and he doesn't have this issue to often but he can be pretty anti social unless he's with the right dog. Just tends to walk around, or sprint around depending on his energy level and dogs tent to follow.

Jacey has been attacked before, but its something you just have to move on from or they can sense your anxiety and pass it along. Along with getting hurt like this, Your dog can easily get kennel cough. Jacey caught it from there as well. Although it is a general rule, Not everyone keeps up to date on their needles like they should. Which doesn't help contain sickness.

You can try to find more controlled groups however. I usually have a few doggie friends over in the yard from time to time and if things get just a bit to out of hand we are on them in a second. We also have group walks on the weekends. One of the local dog trainers here started the group and there are 600 members in it. There is a good outcome most weeks from 20 up of people. Great way to socialize your dog and keep them fit. Something to consider trying to start up. Some of the dogs in the group are aggressive and jerks on leashes, But with a group it helps to have the support of others around you. They also take donations at the start of the walk and donate it to rescue groups on the island.

Hope im allowed to post this but this is a feature the news did of the group walks.
http://ntv.ca/?p=1617
This is such a good point. I'm really freaked out about it now, so I would need to get my anxiety in check before ever considering it.
I'm definitely going to look into groups after reading this, too. :) Seems like a much safer alternative.
 

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Yes. Wow. Another identical thread.

With that out of the way, I don't typically mind the dog park. My experiences are limited to the past 2 months though, since I just got a dog in January and the first dog park in the area just recently opened. I don't go to socialize or read or do anything but to watch Jax. While I may not be within reach, I'm always watching and trailing somewhere behind him. Jax has yet to show an aggressive bone in his body in the 5 months I've had him, and while I know a dog could unpredictably be set off by something, he's not given a reason to think he can't socialize well. The only problem that he gives me is sometimes he's that dog that's a little too playful for some others. Of course, again, I keep an eye on him and when he's being too much for another dog, I get his attention and make him move on. The issue at our park is rarely an overly aggressive dog, though it's coming sooner or later, as the place is quickly becoming crowded. The issue I have with dog parks in general is that not all owners are very attentive to their dogs. They're there to let their dog go while they socialize or do Lord knows what, and this can lead to disaster with the wrong dogs present. Something happens and where is the owner? Oh, clear across the park and hardly paying attention. Or the owners that think the slightest bark or growl is a horrid thing, that if it's coming from their dog, they quickly jump to quiet the dog, or if it comes from another dog, they quickly jump to assume the dog is being aggressive. On one of our most recent trips, I had the joy of a woman almost shreaking at me, "HE GRABBED HER BY THE NECK!" Yeah, woman, they were trying to play. Sheesh. There was no aggression in it in any way. Just some of the annoying pet peeves. Oh, such as the family that brought there tiny, maybe 5 pound dog into the big side. It obviously set off one dog's prey drive, which started chasing the little thing as it ran around squealing, and of course all sorts of other dogs joined in the chase. My issue with dog parks are the uneducated, ignorant, and careless people. Much of that, however, can be negated by simply not being any of the above.
 

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Yes. Wow. Another identical thread.

With that out of the way, I don't typically mind the dog park. My experiences are limited to the past 2 months though, since I just got a dog in January and the first dog park in the area just recently opened. I don't go to socialize or read or do anything but to watch Jax. While I may not be within reach, I'm always watching and trailing somewhere behind him. Jax has yet to show an aggressive bone in his body in the 5 months I've had him, and while I know a dog could unpredictably be set off by something, he's not given a reason to think he can't socialize well. The only problem that he gives me is sometimes he's that dog that's a little too playful for some others. Of course, again, I keep an eye on him and when he's being too much for another dog, I get his attention and make him move on. The issue at our park is rarely an overly aggressive dog, though it's coming sooner or later, as the place is quickly becoming crowded. The issue I have with dog parks in general is that not all owners are very attentive to their dogs. They're there to let their dog go while they socialize or do Lord knows what, and this can lead to disaster with the wrong dogs present. Something happens and where is the owner? Oh, clear across the park and hardly paying attention. Or the owners that think the slightest bark or growl is a horrid thing, that if it's coming from their dog, they quickly jump to quiet the dog, or if it comes from another dog, they quickly jump to assume the dog is being aggressive. On one of our most recent trips, I had the joy of a woman almost shreaking at me, "HE GRABBED HER BY THE NECK!" Yeah, woman, they were trying to play. Sheesh. There was no aggression in it in any way. Just some of the annoying pet peeves. Oh, such as the family that brought there tiny, maybe 5 pound dog into the big side. It obviously set off one dog's prey drive, which started chasing the little thing as it ran around squealing, and of course all sorts of other dogs joined in the chase. My issue with dog parks are the uneducated, ignorant, and careless people. Much of that, however, can be negated by simply not being any of the above.
Thanks for this, and sorry about not searching the probably million other dog park threads. LOL why is it totally acceptable for people to bring their little dogs into the big dog side? Hahaha.
 

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I think you have to know your dog, their temperment/level of training, and also know what the park is like, regarding the people/dogs that attend, and then try to minimize risk. I don't take my 3 to the dog park. One was basically feral for years, and is still fearful of strangers. I wouldn't trust him in that kind of environment. Since I have 3, they can play with each other, in my yard, and they get daily walks. So no need to take them.
My brother has just one small dog, and lives in a quadraplex with a tiny yard. His dog is VERY well socialized, loves all people and dogs. Our park has a small and large dog side that has owners who enforce that rule. I've seen the group of small dog owners basically block a man who brought his Rott into the small side, and started to unhook his leash. It stopped the lg dog owner in his tracks, and all of the small dog owners basically told him "No WAY, No How". He left. I haven't really seen any incidents in the small dog side. There are times of the day where it is crowded, and my brother and I avoid those times. His dog loves it, and would really miss attending.
So maybe if your dog enjoys it, and you understand the risks, you could attend during less busy times, and watch the interactions more closely. I'd avoid being there when the dog that did the damage is there.
 

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Until I moved to a less dog-friendly area, I frequented dog parks all of the time (usually 7-10 trips a week). The only way I felt comfortable doing so was because I have years of experience at reading dog body language and watching dogs interact in groups. Dog parks are definitely a gamble and people need to be VERY careful when they're there.

That being said...
Scariest part:
It looks like he was brutally attacked, but he was actually just playing with a larger dog when this happened. I see it all the time (Wes does this, too) - holding another dog's head or neck with teeth while playing. The problem is, this time Wesley twisted his head while it was inside the other dog's mouth, and the dog clamped down on him.

Getting another dog simply as a playmate for the first dog is not a great reason to add another dog. Have you considered doggy daycare?
Your dogs injuries are far from normal.
This is something I've NEVER seen from something other than a dog fight. I hope you took your dog to the vet.
 

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How I feel depends totally on the size and design of the park, and somewhat on the individual "culture" of that particular park. I think they can be fantastic, or they can be horrible.
 

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Wow. THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking time out of your day to read a post that was obviously difficult, heart breaking, and embarrassing for me to write. If it wasn't for people like you leaving short, condescending remarks, WHO KNOWS where this forum would be. It must be tough knowing everything!
Well I was trying to make a point without being rude.

Of course, not every pet owner is the same. I have seen some pretty terrible, unprovoked attacks in the past year that made me wonder why ANYONE would knowingly bring their aggressive dog to the park.
You witnessed the above attacks and you ask what kind of an owner you are for tossing your dog into the mix. Just as it was your decision with your dog it was my decision not to pat you on the back. I thought the dog had a much more difficult program as it was his head being abused.
 

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Thanks for this, and sorry about not searching the probably million other dog park threads. LOL why is it totally acceptable for people to bring their little dogs into the big dog side? Hahaha.
It's not generally acceptable. It seems to be that many parks with separate large and small dog sides actually are more so "small side" and "everyone else, including small dogs at the risk of the owner" though, and not an absolute "you must not enter if your dog is under 30 pounds" rule. With that said, some "small" dogs get along fine with the larger dogs. Of course, there's a large difference between a 5 pound toy-something-or-another and a tougher 25 pound something-or-another. So while your 20-30 pound "small" dog may be fine with 60-100 pound dogs, letting that tiny 5 pound thing loose with the rest is bound to set off a prey-drive issue if there long enough. And that's exactly what I witnessed on one particular day. Fortunately, everyone went running for their dogs and the owner of the tiny thing rushed to catch it and scoop it up. No harm, no foul in that case, but that's not always the story. Some people are uneducated and think "oh, well my little dog does well with big dogs" while not considering how other, unknown large dogs may do with that person's small dog. Other people just think the world revolves around them and that if your larger dog causes an issue, you should handle it and leave, rather than them because they see nothing wrong. Really, like others have said, dog parks can be great or they can be horrible, and it really comes down to the crowd of people and to making certain you're remaining aware of your own dog in case a situation does break out.
 

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I will stay well clear of any dog park after some jerk dropped poisoned bait in several around us. Around 16 dogs were killed as a result. Apart from that, if you compete at any level in dog sports, you, and any dog you come into contact with are at risk of being quarantined for 14 days if you pick up canine cough, and that is almost guaranteed at some time or other.
I would rather go to a dog friendly beach, or lakeside, or find a friend with acreage. Maybe ask your local school if they would mind you using a corner of the playing fields. A great exercise is swimming. A 5 minute swim is equal to a 5 kilometer walk. If you have a creek or beach, you can take the dog out of his depth and just hold his tail while you stand knee deep, unless you have a great dane..
 

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Unless it is a dog park like Sas posted a while back..... Dog parks are BAD NEWS.....

It is not IF but WHEN your dog gets in a confrontation. And it does not matter if your dog is the one that is getting hurt or doing the hurting..... It is going to be a lot of stress on everyone....
 

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That being said...

Your dogs injuries are far from normal.
This is something I've NEVER seen from something other than a dog fight. I hope you took your dog to the vet.
Yeah... That's not the kind of injury that results from play. Maybe it all started out as happy go lucky play but somewhere in there, the other dog got serious. I've worked in doggie daycare for years. Never have I seen an injury like that come from anything other than a fight.
 
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