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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
There is no dog park in our entire city of 400,000 people because we're pretty squarely stuck in the dark ages. There is however a dog park N of me about 45-60 mins drive. I'm thinking of taking one or both of my dogs there on Memorial Day since I have nothing else to do, but I have a couple of questions.

First of all, should I take both of them or just Zero (see sig). Zero loves other dogs and loves to play, but at 15 lbs I'm concerned that he could get hurt by another dog. This park I'm going to supposedly has agility equipment there that I'm sure he would have a blast playing on and he would love to play with the other dogs. Brutus on the other hand is not the playful type. That's kind of understandable at his age I think. He doesn't hate other dogs, but he's pretty indifferent to them. If we meet another dog on a walk, he will sniff them, walk back to my side and look at me as if to say, "Why are we standing here?" Zero wants to stay and play with the other dog. I'm afraid if we went he would sniff around for awhile as hounds love to do, then come back to where I was and nap. He's an older dog too so I'm concerned with him possibly getting hurt by younger dogs who want to play when he's not in the mood. Brutus also does not like to travel in the car. He fidgets, constantly turns in his crate and barks his head off about 40% of the time.

Second of all, how worried should I be about something bad happening? I've never visited this park before so I have no idea what kinds of dogs and dog owners show up there. I've also heard all the horror stories about bad things happening at these places.

Edit: Just found out this dog park has a web site. http://www.salinaanimalshelter.org/Dog_Park.html
 

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The main think I would be concerned about is that I would think Memorial Day would be a BUSY day at the dog park and IMO that wouldn't be a good time to go for a first time visit.

Also, I think it would be a good idea for you to visit the park by yourself first without your dogs to get a feel for the atmosphere there, but since it's so far away I don't know if you can/want to do that.

Some parks have a great group of people and dogs whereas others are full of idiots and crazy dogs and it'll be hard to know what category this particular park falls in before your first visit.

However, one thing you could do is research other things to do in that area that way if you go there with your dog(s) and decide that it's not a place you want to be, you guys can do something else so it wasn't a complete waste of time driving all the way out there.
 

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i agree with what everyone else said. for a first time i would definitely recommend a time when the dp is a little less crowded. possibly a night after work. i have a feeling mem day will be packed and might cause your dog to get overwhelmed quickly.

be prepared to have a bunch of super sniffy dogs come right up to your dog the second you get in there.

i would recommend keeping your dog on leash until you and your dog feel confident.

and keep a close eye on your dog at all times. one of my biggest pet peeves is the owners who take their dogs to the dp, take off the leash and shut their brains off (maybe they were never on to begin with). i have never had a problem at the dp but i always keep an eye on my dog and the second i see something i don't like i can address it. i hope to avoid the problem before it even becomes one.
 

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I agree with most of what's been said except for keeping your dog on a leash.

I think you should avoid the DP on a weekend if it's your first time. Better to go when there is less people. Go take a look first, even bring your pup BUT don't go in... just walk around the outside. Your dog may or may not be uncomfortable the first time, be prepared for either. I would not recommend going in with the leash on and many parks do not allow that. I've seen dogs that are not leash reactive, react when tied up like that and being confronted with a large group of unknown dogs. Better to have your leash handy but not on.

I love the DP that I have. I know now when to go and when not to go. I avoid weekends and evenings. For us, that is the busiest times. I am happy that I have dogs that are DP dogs, some aren't and that's cool too.
 

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I don't know.. you've gotten on without them all this time, haven't you? I've learned it's not always good to try something brand new if you've got things the way you want them. I'm not one of the people who is 100% anti-dog park, but I've seen the nastier side and my best advice is that you need to ALWAYS be on the lookout. You SHOULD be worried about something bad happening because you don't know these other dogs or their owners.

I've stopped going to mine because it is not worth it to me and because my dog is not just a dog-park kind of dog anymore.

Might be just me but the idea of a tunnel in a dog park kind of scares me too. What happens if a fight breaks out inside the tunnel? Then you can't get to your dog.

Either way, I highly suggest 1) not going on a busy weekend 2) going by yourself to scope it out, maybe more than once and 3) going with one dog only the first couple of times if you decide to go. Watching ONE dog at a dog park is more than enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'd go by myself, but it is a 45-60 min drive. There's absolutely nothing else up there to do. That town has a Wal-mart, a mall and a few fast food joints. I may take just the cocker spaniel. He has near perfect recall except when he's excited about other dogs. He loves to play with other dogs and tends to ignore me and everything which may be a problem.
 
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