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A neighboring town has just built a dog park. I hear great things. They even have a doggy water playground, but it will not be fully functional for about 2 more weeks. I have never been so I don't know what to expect. I know I need to socialize Luna, and I wonder if the dog park is a good idea. I wanted to check it out today and I figure if it doesn't work out, we'll leave and go to a regular park. She is UTD on all shots and the vet said she is ready to be socialized. Any input would be appreciated. :)
 

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There are a lot of people around here that don't like dog-parks, they think they're bad news. But if you work around the tricks of going when it's good, then you should be able to avoid serious, and potentially dangerous problems.

My first, and the most important for me is to, go when it's not busy... I know you want to socialize Luna, but if she's never been to a dog park before, taking her when it's busy or even slighty crowded is not a good idea.

I would go to the dog park before you take Luna. Get a feel for it, and see if you see any problems... I would go real early in the morning or real late in the evening. I go real early in the mornings, and I try to avoid going on the weekends.

I would try to take Luna and get her used to the idea of her listening to you off-leash in a "new area". Then after a few weeks I'd start letting her get in there with other dogs. (My dog park has three different pens, and I try to get one pen when it's empty, and then when I'm ready and Donatello's ready I'll let him go into another pen and mingle.)

Going to the dog-park the best way for someone like me in my situation socialize my anti-social dog... He does wonderful now with other dogs, with the exception of yesterday.

Another tip is, if your dog or another dog is getting aggressive, it's best to just leave the dog park altogether.

If you need anymore advice, I'd be willing to help. : ) Good luck and I hope it goes well for you and Luna!
 

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Thanks. I think we will go and check it out and taker her on leash. I just want to look it over and let Luna sniff around.
There is a Borzoi next door and she and Luna have a playdate coming up, so that will help with socializing. She is very gentle and I am hoping that LUNA doesn't get too rough for HER. LOL She might think that Daschle is a sheep or something.
 

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That's a great idea, and I like the "playdate" plan as well.

Meeting and greeting dogs on different territory can usually bring out favorable results, or at least that's what I've come to find out.

My dog has playdates all the time with my step-mother's dogs, (all three of them), lol. And he has such a blast... But every now and then, when I can, I like to take him to the dog park and meet strange dogs.
 

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I personally don't go to dog parks anymore. Tried them before and knowing what I know about dogs and people, it is just too risky. Things can fall apart so fast it is not worth the gamble to me. I have seen too many fights, ignorant and innattentive owners, and dogs that are a time bomb waiting to go off. I recall reading of a member here whose sister? took her dog to the dog park and it was attacked and killed and the people also sustained some serious injuries. I am sure they never would have expected that to happen, but the truth is ANYTHING can happen. And unless you are totally prepared for something terrible to happen, I would steer clear.
Taking a dog there for socialization is also a bad idea, in my opinion. Dog parks can be totally overwhelming and too much stimulation for a dog learning to interact with others. I personally think the best way to socialize is to make contact with dogs in safer environments, and make play dates with known dogs. Also training classes are a great idea as well.
My Boxer loves to play with other dogs, and we have plenty of friends and neighbors with dogs that we get together with. I just know I would never forgive myself if something bad happened at the dog park when I know how high the chances are of things going wrong. Just my two cents....
 

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First tip I have and what I think is the most important is watch your dog and watch other dogs around your dog too. Don't sit down on a bench and let your dog wonder around and out of sight, instead stay by your dog's side and watch how other dogs interact with yours. You should really know your dog before you take him somewhere like the dog park. I know it sounds stupid "know your dog" but you need to be able to predict how your dog will most likely react to a certain dog or situation.

The second tip I have is don't let your dog in the dog park unil he/she is completely calm and not lunging or crying to get in. Sometimes I'll take a quick little walk before we actually enter the dog park and that usually does the trick for Hallie. When you bring in an overexcited dog the chances of an altercation with another dog are drastically increased. It's kind of like a chain reaction, older calmer dogs frequently snap at excited puppies that bombard them so you definitely don't want your overexcited dog prancing up to the wrong dog and greeting it too enthusiastically.

The third tip I have is don't ever pick your dog up unless it's absolutely necessary. And also try to avoid having your dog on the leash in a dog park especially when there are alot of dogs. When you pick your dog up and there are alot of other dogs around it draws their attention and they will come up to you and see what you're doing and unfortunately some may jump up at you and your dog and that can be dangerous for both you and your dog not to mention it could cause a fight if your dog feels threatened and snaps at a jumping dog and you're right there in the middle! With the leash I've found some dogs feel vulnerable because they are on a leash and can move where they want when too many dogs come up to greet them.

Oh and also, don't take your dog if it doesn't have a good recall! Because I can't tell you how many times I've seen an owner actually have to chase and catch their dog when it's time to go. Plus, you may need to get your dog away from a certain group of dogs or a tense situation and you running up and grabbing your dog can add fuel to the fire.

The dog park can be a fun place! I've been taking Hallie since she was 6 months old and I've never encountered a fight or an altercation. I've seen a few little dogs that snap and a few bigger ones that have a humping problem but so far my experience at the dog park has been great! My dog park may be a little more strict than some though. At mine you have to sign your name stating your dog is not aggressive and that you understand all rules before entering. Though you only have to do this once and we don't have dog park security :rolleyes:and no one checks before you enter to make sure you've done this. Most do some do. It is 'required' though.
 

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Depends on the dog, the park and the owner.

Esther has a short fuse and little patience with foolishness, so she doesn't go anymore. On her last visit, she picked up a terrier mix that had snapped at her once too often and slammed it to the ground. The dog survived but I can't take the risk.

Molly does fine and sometimes goes without Esther, but our local park is small and it's hard to get away from potential trouble. The park in our old home town was 17 acres so you could be about as social or non-social as you wanted. My previous dog was there nearly every day for ten years without serious incident. We had a lot more trouble walking around our own neighborhood with unsecured dogs charging him, though no dog ever did it more than once.

Be aware that dogs leashed in a off-leash park may feel vulnerable and defensive.
 

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I'd just like to add, that I have to be extremely careful when I take Donatello. He has an avid dislike for "pit-bulls" or any dog that looks like the bully-breed... He will turn into the leanest-meanest-fighting-machine with teeth on a leash! He's scared of the wind blowing but if he sees a "Pit-Bull", he's out for blood! It sounds comical, but it's going to turn deadly one day if I don't make sure I do everything I can to keep him away from those breeds.

Just yesterday, he apparently confused a gangly Lab puppy for a "Pit-Bull" and made the snap decision to **ATTACK**... Left me scratching my head in confusion, and that just got him so riled up we had to leave...

We don't go near as much as we used to go because of the economy, but he still gets plenty of socialization from playdates with my step-mother's dogs...

I wish you luck, again, at the dog park. Let us know how it goes! : D
 

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I Used to be a huge advocate for dog parks and while I still take mine to them from time to time, I don't go NEARLY as often as I used to. Why, you ask?

1) Inattentive owners who utilize the dog park to take the place of regular exercise for their dog.

2) Too many owners ignoring the "No intact dogs" rule.

3) "Know it alls" who in reality, don't know jack shi*. I LOVE to socialize at the dog park but lately it seems that the place is full of people who have far too much time on their hands and/or "wanna be" veterinarians.

All of that said, a WELL RUN dog park can be an amazing tool for your dog and a place where he/she can get a lot of stimulation and enjoyment.

Oh, NEVER EVER EVER leash your dog WITHIN the confines of a dog park. It's a recipe for disaster!
 

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The dog park is one of the only ways my dogs socialize...Belle has leash aggression, or whatever it's called...but off leash she's great! So we have lots of fun there :) Be prepared for you and them to get pretty dirty :D
 

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How old is Luna? I wouldn't socialize a pup in a dog park... too many factors out of your control. I would take my dog to the dog park only when she was an adult, comfortable with other dogs, when one bad experience isn't likely to make as much of a dent.
 

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I am very surprised to hear how many people dislike dog parks. I am a part-time dog-walker (just for fun, the pay is unbelievably poor!) and love taking the dogs to dog parks. The dogs love it, too. I have never encountered an aggressive dog, but I have encountered ignorant owners who think their dog's playful bark is a sign he's about to attack, and consequently drags the poor dog away. I've always found it odd when owners don't want their dogs to socialize with other dogs.

Perhaps it's a matter of living in a highly dense urban area (Chicago). Most people don't tend to let their dogs off the leashes because parks have no enclosures. There is a dog park near me where people let their dogs off the leash but I've yet to go. I'll give it a try after Gatsby heals from neutering.
 

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I know alot of people dislike dog parks on here but I am a GO for it. I have been socializing my dogs since puppies with dogs of all kinds, and because of it, at home they are the greatest around other dogs that they meet for the fist time, because they are used to it. They don't bark at all at the dogs next door (they bark all the time because of lack of socialization) and are happy go lucky.
Of course their are idiots whereever you go, yes...I have seen a few fights at the dog park. but because of my dogs training if a fight breaks out I immediatly call them to me and they ignore the fight and come to me. Wicket was also a social mounter but by constantly goign to the park and by always being alert, I was able to really decrease his mounting by alot. the key is to know when to go. If your dog is a really nervous dog go when their are not alot of people. If your dogs are social bunnies like mine are...go when it is crowded. Yeah, it is irriating to see people ignoring their dogs, I even know of this lady who disciplines other peoples dog (a know it all that I completely ignore, although if she EVER touches my dog I will let HER KNOW) It is annoying to see people bring their dogs who have not been neutered or spayed and how much havoc that can cause for all the dogs there.
but at the same time, It is great to see other dog lovers....(People in my neighborhood think I am crazy for loving my dogs and it is hard to set up doggy dates with neighbors...), we talk about training issues, people with shy dogs and nervous dogs love the social changes they see in their dogs.
My dogs are not perfect, they have issues I am working on, but I never am afraid of how they will react to other breeds of dogs, when I walk them I don't fear about them jumping at another dog as I know some dogs do here in the neighborhood that have had no socialazation. They have seen great danes to the smallest dogs...they are also used to seeing people of all shapes and sizes....
 

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There are a lot of people around here that don't like dog-parks, they think they're bad news. But if you work around the tricks of going when it's good, then you should be able to avoid serious, and potentially dangerous problems.

My first, and the most important for me is to, go when it's not busy... I know you want to socialize Luna, but if she's never been to a dog park before, taking her when it's busy or even slighty crowded is not a good idea.

Another tip is, if your dog or another dog is getting aggressive, it's best to just leave the dog park altogether.
I agree with deege39... I also feel that every dog park is different. I have 2 close to my house. One is bad.. a dog got mauled there 6 weeks ago and died from it's injuries. The other is very laid back and I've never had a problem or have seen any problem between the dogs when i go there - whether it's busy or not. The people have always been very nice and my dog enjoys going there.
I guess my advice would be: take your dog there and see for yourself whether you and your dog would like it or not.
 

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The key with the one I go to is to go at off peak times. I love going and usually there are some really nice dogs there, but I go mon-fri from about 10-12 am. I was there later today, something I've never done before, and I was talking to one of the regulars...he said "your gonna want to leave by 4 or 5, because people with aggressive dogs have been coming in about 5 or 6. Sure enough, the place filled up at a little after 4 and two fights broke out and owners started screaming and yelling....and that was before the supposedly aggressive dogs had arrived. We left promptly after that.

But the place is beautiful, wooded and secure, and most of the time it's ok, nice dogs and nice people. I'm going back at 10 in the morning. Being there later was like a night and day experience and I see now why people don't like dog parks.
 

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We just took our Stella to a dog park for the first time. She's almost 10 months...and a little shy around other dogs. We went to 2 parks and had 2 very different experiences.

First park...HUGE fenced in park with walking trails. All the dogs seemed to congregate in one spot at the top of the hill. It was almost TOO big? Nice people....not too many dogs, but I told my husband I would not want her in THAT big of an area unleashed. Also noticed that alot of folks were not PICKING UP THE POOP! Gross! The park had bags...and trash cans and yet they were not picking up poop...or picked it up and just left the bag on the ground.

Second park. Smaller park. Mostly flat with a small walking trail that goes up a hill. All fenced in. Stella is a runner...so we want a fenced in park until we get her better with her commands. (we've had her a month). Again, very nice people, not too many dogs...still folks who don't pick up the poop (arrrrggghghhh), but a very different vibe.

Stella was less intimidated here? We've taken her back a couple of times and she seems more comfortable with the environment...and running around with the other dogs. I would agree with the other posters:

Stay close to your dog!
Don't go when it's too crowded.
Watch the other dogs as some of the owners sit on the bench and talk on their cell phones....or let their dogs jump all over people.
Be wary of the sizes of the other dogs.

A woman yesterday brought her dog who was a chihuahua who couldn't have weighed more than 2 lbs. The tiniest dog I've ever seen. She seemed shocked when the other dogs (St. Bernard, German Shepherd, Pit Bull) all ran over to investigate. It looked like a toy to them. Not surprising her dog spent it's entire visit shivering in her lap.

We'll keep taking Stella to the smaller park. She seemed to really enjoy it and was able to burn off some of her puppy energy.

Check out all the parks in your area and find the one that "feels" right.

We used this link to find the ones in our area: http://www.dogparkusa.com/
some we didnt' even know about!
 

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I do not take my dogs to a dog park. There is just too many things that can go wrong. It is not worth the chance of my dogs getting injured or picking up parasites or diseases. I am sure that most of the people that go to dog parks are responsible owners and pick up after their dogs and keep tabs on them. But all it takes is one irresponsible person. Just not worth it imo. If I want to socialize my dog than I would prefer to set up a play date with others dogs and their owners that I know.
 

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Yesterday was the first time I brought my dog to a dog park, even though I ended up with quite a bit of saliva and had to keep him back at times from getting too excited I think it's the best ting I ever did for him. I never saw him happier than yesterday i think.

He slept like a baby afterwards, I will definately be bringing him back.
 

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I do not take my dogs to a dog park. There is just too many things that can go wrong. It is not worth the chance of my dogs getting injured or picking up parasites or diseases. I am sure that most of the people that go to dog parks are responsible owners and pick up after their dogs and keep tabs on them. But all it takes is one irresponsible person. Just not worth it imo. If I want to socialize my dog than I would prefer to set up a play date with others dogs and their owners that I know.
That is true though, got to take parasites and diseases into account, especially these days. You're right.
 
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