View Full Version : Dog Park Behaviour Question

02-16-2008, 04:58 PM
I have a couple of different dog parks I walk Bodea to, and I have a question to you folks. My dog is really mild in manners, a good girl who loves to run and play and is never dominant though she is friendly. Should I expect that people who have more dominant dogs control the levels of aggression? I have found some people look at me like I'm nuts when I ask them to call off their dogs when mine is in distress. I don't make a big deal of it, but I now avoid the park when I see those particular dogs running about.

Your thoughts? Thanks. :confused:

Ginger's Mom
02-16-2008, 05:22 PM
This is slightly tough to answer. The easy answer is yes. Of course you should expect the owner to control their dog at all times in public. Now comes the tricky part, What appears to be aggression to you (because your dog is scared) may appear to be harmless play to the owner of the offending dog. Some dogs are noisier and more active/assertive when they play than others. My answer varies depending on the circumstances. Ginger is a very timid dog, so I have to resist the urge to tell some to call off their dog every time she tries to hide. Ginger has to learn that at a dog park she needs to be tolerant of other dogs behavior. So instead of calling off the other dog, I will redirect Ginger's attention, and the other dog either loses interest or starts playing with her in a way that is more acceptable to both dogs. If the dog is truly aggressive, then they should leave the park, if they do not, I would have no problem in removing my dog from the dog park and alerting the grounds people that there may be need of a clean up in the dog pen shortly (and knowing me, I would probably make some rather rude comments on the way out ;) ).

02-16-2008, 05:41 PM
Hi Gingers Mom :) thanks for replying, I really appreciate it.

This park is really small, a fenced off baseball diamond plus some extra 50 feet or so square.

I do let my dog figure out and divert her to different play.

I think the people who are not paying much attention to their dogs are dog walkers with 6 or more puppies.

Anyway... I shall just continue to do my best. :) thanks again!

02-16-2008, 09:20 PM
I just started taking Logan to a dog park. She's OK with other dogs, doesn't appreciate a butt sniff (but will do it other dogs :rolleyes: )She's not anti-social but will not, ever get into the play brawls the other dogs get into. She walks away, but can hold her own. She's not intimidated one bit, just a snob.

In all the time I've gone, I only saw one "fight" that the owners had to break up. I found out it was between the 3 same dogs all the time. I guess it's hard to know when the 2 families will be there.

I sit and watch and am in awe how the dogs know what to do. I watch the body language. It's just remarkable. Total instinct. The dogs know how to handle each other. I also learned to unleash Logan in the first enclosed gate before letting her in. I noticed that when the owners release the dog after it enters the park, the other dogs are more apt to surround it.

02-16-2008, 10:12 PM
I agree with Ginger's Mom. :)

Chipper is pretty rambunctious so if it appears he's pestering an uninterested dog, I'll redirect his attention and have him go after Kia. :p ;) :D She loves me for it, believe me. :rolleyes:

And since my two are pretty playful, I've never had a problem with them playing with a dog or walking away on their own if they're not interested.

Recently there was a woman at the park with two Goldens. Everytime a dog went up to hers, she'd call her dogs to her and either shoo away other dogs or ask owners to call their dogs. Pretty snobbish if you ask me. Why take your dogs to a dog park if you dont' want them interacting with dogs? :confused:

The Goldens were friendly and didn't appear to mind saying hi to other dogs but gracious the woman would freak out.

02-16-2008, 10:56 PM
There are many issues with dog parks and many experts simply do not like them. They range from irresponsible owners who are not paying attention to their dogs to owners that bring dogs with aggression issues to parents not paying proper attention to children or idiot owners who put small dogs in with the large dogs. Here is State College a dog was killed at the dog park because of that. This woman placed her small dog in with a large pack. They literally ran the dog over. She died later that day from internal injuries.

But there is also another problem that you have to be cautious of and that is parasites and disease. If a dog has untreated whip worms and go to the bathroom while in the dog park the area is now contaminated and it is possible for your dog to contract whip worms. You cannot get whip worm spoors out of the soil. They are easy to control by heartworm medication but that doesn't always mean everyone who brings their dogs to a dog park is totally responsible.

I guess I am just saying that being cautious of your dog and who it plays with is not a bad thing. I would much rather be over protective and keep my dog safe, happy and healthy. I know I didn't answer your question much. We both won't and can't take Sequoia to a dog park. She is much too unpredictable with other dogs and can very quickly become aggressive with smaller dogs running from her (she is a husky) or she becomes aggressive with other aggressive dogs very quickly. We have dealt with her issues while she is on leash and she is much more relaxed and doing much better but we would never subject her to the stresses of a dog park. She has some playmates we get her together with that we know she gets along with for her romping time.

Oh..and you are not the nutty one. You are right..they should have better control of their dogs. ;)


02-16-2008, 11:16 PM
idiot owners who put small dogs in with the large dogs. Here is State College a dog was killed at the dog park because of that.
I wanted to say that, but I was afraid what the reaction would be. But I completely agree with you on this one. Is it really so hard to read? BIG dog park vs. SMALL dog park? The small dog park exists for a reason - because in the BIG dog park, there are prey-driven dogs such as sighthounds and nordic breeds. Giselle has gone after several small dogs, and, every single time, the owners refused to heed the "Dogs under 30 pounds must go to the small dog park" signs. If I don't bring my greyhound into your small dog park, I expect the same courtesy. It's really that simple.

Because of this and many other reasons, I've resorted to going to dog parks at off times and I always muzzle my dogs now. It may not be fair to them, but if there's a problem, it's no longer my problem - it's yours.

If at any point, you feel uncomfortable, just leave. Our local dog park is relatively unknown, so we're usually free of irresponsible owners. However, there are a lot of plain rude dogs who go and who would easily cause a tiff with my dogs. When that happens, we just leave the big dog park and go to the empty small dog park. Ironic, eh?

Ginger's Mom
02-17-2008, 07:14 AM
I am glad someone mentioned the switching large/small dog sides. I have a big problem with that, too. Both ways. The large dog side of our dog park has huge puddles that the dogs love to play in (the water just lays there for days after a rain). So for three days after a significant rain, you can be sure big dog people will be bringing their dogs into the small dog side, because they do not want their dogs wading (and in some cases purposely lying and rolling around in) the puddles. I am not unsympathetic to their problem, and I understand the large dogs have the right to run and play too. However, what they need to do is get together and put pressure on the township to fix the problem, not just shrug, and bring their dogs in the small dog pen. :mad: (Not an easy fix, since I think some of the holes are caused by the actions of the dogs.) On the flip side of that, I have seen people take their small dogs into the big dog pen, which causes the owners of some big dogs to either, leave with their dog so that it doesn't chase the small dog, or keep their dog on a "shorter leash," so that the little dog doesn't get hurt. Those dogs should not be penalized because "Suzie" (made up name) likes to play with big dogs, or likes to have more room to run.

02-17-2008, 02:34 PM
Good topic. I have a lot of minor issues with dog parks.. but we still take Eli to keep him socialized... so he doesnt end up like our other two.

When dogs like those come up to Eli and just wont leave him alone, he'll generally take care of it himself... He has this 'Gremlin' noise that he makes when someone is bothering him. He sits down, snaps at the other dog and then comes to J or I. Im not afraid of pushing a dog away from Eli if they were persistent. Or telling someone to take charge of their dog, if I knew who the correct owner was (usually dont though).

Our dog park has a sign with 10 or so rules.. No smoking, no children under 8 yr old, pick up your dog's crap, all must be spayed/neutered, no agressives, etc.
EVERY time we're there, someone is smoking. EVERY TIME... and there's no ashtrays.. because its not allowed.. so I wonder where all those spent cigarettes end up. On the ground maybe? ugh. Its disgusting. I'll make some loud disgusted comments and give some dirty looks in hopes that they stop.. sometimes they do.

Last couple of times there have been children, young children. These little kids run away from the dogs and cause a lot of problems. Also, Eli is afraid of them so its a whole other issue for us.. having to reassure Eli and keep him away from the kids.

The issue of Intact dogs bothers me too.. We took Eli once before we had him fixed, and I was hesitant to take him in because the sign said no.. He was never a humper though... but recently a lot of people have been bringing in specifically intact males.. that are very aggressive. Its like every time we go Eli has to fight off some excited male.. And last time we were there, there was a woman with three whippets (2 m, 1 f), all intact. And she just bragged and bragged about breeding them.. ugh. And how much she made of their puppies. :rolleyes:

Its just so sad to see all these people that cannot read a sign... or just dont think the rules apply to them. Pfft.

02-18-2008, 12:30 PM
I am one of those women that will point out to people when they are breaking rules that are posted. I will NOT put up with people ruining something for everyone else. Those rules are all there for very good and valid reasons and my feeling is that everyone should speak up when they are broken. If people did speak out then you would see that after a bit the rules would't be broken as much. People could band together and help "police" the park themselves. But too often there is this feeling that it "isn't my business" to tell someone to stop doing something wrong. In my opinion it is why this society is getting so out of control.