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Discussion Starter #1
Neither myself nor my dog have ever been to a dog park. We have a big privacy fenced in yard so we play fetch, tug, he jumps in the baby pool with my son and runs around crazy in the back yard. We dont walk him a whole lot because half a block into it, my 3 year old son doesnt want to walk anymore, so I'm carrying all 37 pounds of him AND the dog who constantly pogo jumps up my leg to lick my son's feet. It's just a big bundle of chaos and aggravation. So, our pup gets his exercise in the yard. My sister in law, who has a 45 pound dog is determined to take my 7 pound Papillon to the dog park with her and her dog Kayla to "play". Our dog, Dexter, has gotten used to Kayla and she ignores him, so they get along great..lol. But other big dogs intimidate Dexter and he will cry and whine for me to pick him up and hold him, which is unusual as he isnt a fan of being held (he loves to run free!). On neutral turf he would probably warm up to other small dogs, but this dog park is just one big fenced in area where all the dogs go. I've read on here that some parks have a separate area for small dogs and I would be ok with that, but this one doesnt. I've put her off so far, but she's insistant. Would it be stupid to take him to a dog park and keep him leashed beside me? Are there any other advantages to taking him to a dog park? He seems to love our back yard and playing there. Am I being too paranoid about the dog park? Should Dex be allowed to meet other dogs and "play"?

I have had my SIL come to our house and bring Kayla and both dogs have run and played in the back yard. I keep suggesting this again, but she wants to go to the dog park. What is so great about the dog park?
 

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Your dog, your rules. If you don't feel comfortable with your dog going to the dog park (and at 7 lbs I wouldn't be too comfortable with it either. Especially with no small dog side.) then tell your sister to back off.
 

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Keep your dog at home he will be fine and safe. Nobody here can help you with the decision as you are little guy's owner. You got to have the intestinal fortitude to protect Dex.

Look at it this way, were he to get injured or worse you would never forgive yourself.
 

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Next time she brings it up say, "No thanks, I don't think he's ready for a dog park." Repeat repeat repeat.

the dog park is not the place to see if your dog gets along with others.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I really dont want to take him. I've found several threads on here where small dogs have been hurt and even killed at dog parks, so I guess I am a little paranoid. He's just turned 6 months, he's fully vaccinated, but we havent had him neutered yet, so he's an intact dog. I asked my SIL if they allow intact dogs there, as some dog parks dont, and she said that it's fine no one cares. Ugh.. I CARE!! That's yet one more reason not to go.

Why is she so in love with the dog park? Is it really that wonderful?
 

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I wouldn't risk it. Thankfully there are none around me but even if there were...no dog parks for my dogs. one)they like to stick to themselves most of the time and two) even though they are labs and a medium sized mix they could still get killed and or injured. So I would not risk it. If YOU want him to play with other dogs ask them to come to your house so your dog can warm up to them and you will feel better than taking him to a dog park and being nervous. Your dog can read you and I know if I get nervous my dogs do too.
 

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Since there's no small dog area at the park I'd recommend against it strongly. It increases the odds that you'll encounter a dangerous, dog aggressive, dog or a dog who has a high prey drive toward smaller animals.

I'm still undecided about going back to our nearest dog park since a few bad apples can't follow the rules for the small dog area. Our Chi mix loves to run about and play with the other small dogs but i don't want her to be attacked again by a larger dog who doesn't belong in that part of the park.
 

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I would not take a papillon to a dog park unless the park had a completely separate, fenced-in small dog area, or if it was a big park with many off-leash trails to explore. The "Thunderdome" style where dogs are all forced together in a smallish space is not safe for little dogs. Scuffles happen all of the time (I sat in a dog park for 20 minutes last week and saw one involving six or seven dogs), and that could be deadly to a small dog. A papillon could be trampled accidentally just in play! Keep your dog safe and keep saying no to your sister-in-law.
 

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I take my border collie mix to the dog park all the time, and I cringe every time I see someone bring their teeny little dog in the park with all the big dogs. It's so dangerous, and there's good reason that we have two parks with a dividing line at 25lbs. People just ignore the rules, and say things like "Oh, but she loves playing with my big dog at home!" while their yorkie cowers under a bench. I'd definitely bring him to a small dog park, but not one for all sizes or a big dog park. It's just asking for trouble.
 

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Could you get a stroller to put your son in while you walk the dog? If you want to walk him more.... Or if you have a spouse/partner, wait until they are home so they can watch your son while you walk him?
 

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I would never bring a small dog to a dog park that isn't separated into small dog/large dog areas. Too risky. just tell your sister in law "No". Maybe take him for a walk with your SIL and let her walk him while you walk/carry kid. Or let her babysit kid and you go take the dog for a walk. Dogs really like walks, with all the different sights/smells. Can you have a husband, SO, friend watch kid for 20 min a day while you walk your dog?
 

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I don't let anyone else (husband aside) take my dogs places. My dogs don't go to the dog park, and ours does have a small dog side.
I'd second pushing your son in a stroller or putting him in a back carrier so you can all enjoy the walk.
 

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Put your child in a stroller and walk your dog; it'd be good for him! Continue to play in the backyard all together and skip the dog park.
 

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Yeah say no & don't feel bad about it, it's your dog & not hers, you have to pay the vet bills, not her if he gets hurt & you had to deal with any behavorial ramifications if he has a bad experience.
 

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Put your child in a stroller and walk your dog; it'd be good for him! Continue to play in the backyard all together and skip the dog park.
Ditto! Your dog, your rules!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I think we're in agreement. Small dog in a dog park with large dogs equals fuzzy snack :)
Definately something that I want to avoid.

Are there any advantages of going to a dog park? Other than an off leash run?
 

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The main advantage of a dog park is to let dogs play, expanding the sphere of socialization skills. But a small dog should not play in a large dog area under most circumstances.

You can always find somewhere else to let your dog play, plus you can control who he plays with... which you cannot do in a dog park.

Disclaimer: My dog is 65 pounds and when he was MUCH younger, he was the pest you always read about in the dog park... not dangerous... just a little too 'extraverted' :) Now that he's older, he's just as playful, but not as robust, so I no longer take him to a dog park.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thank you. I havent been able to figure out why my SIL is so dead set on the dog park. She and her dog love it. But her dog is 6 years old, 45 pounds, spayed, calm and very easy going. Mine is a 6 months old, NON neutered, 7 pound ball of chaotic, wiggly, bouncy puppy. Two completely different dogs here.

After reading all the posts I am even more convinced that the dog park is NOT a place for my pup. He has tons of off leash time in the back yard and he's crazy about playing fetch, which you cannot help but do, since he bounces up and down with the ball hanging out his mouth (I call this "Pogo Puppy"...lol). So, I dont think he's missing anything that is detrimental to his wellbeing by not going to the dog park.
 
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