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Q: How many of you think dog parks are good or bad??

May 27, 2009 | By Courtney H. | 7 answers | Expired: 1876 days ago

Courtney H.

I am just curious. Some people think dog parks are a wonderful thing. I am one who thinks they are a nightmare and would not go to them. I see so many pictures posted on this site of dogs at dog parks and the headings have to make me wonder. People think a dog is having a good time yet the dog is exhibiting all stress signs. How many of you go to them or have had a bad experience and will never go back?

Readers' Answers (7)
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Kelly
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Jun 10, 2009

We never take our dog to the dog park. She doesn't need the stress. Even when we walk her in the park where dogs are supposed to be leashed, occasionally we encounter those who don't follow the rules. I can see the stress in her stance & on her face when she gets tag-teamed by hyper animals she's unfamiliar with & more than once we've had to try to control a situation when an aggressive dog ran at her growling & snarling. All it takes is one time & you've got an injured animal or one with fear of everything. Plus there's always the risk that the stress can cause your dog to react & then you're the one with the lawsuits & fighting the city to save your dog because now they think its vicious. I've seen otherwise sweet dogs react badly in these situations because they're scared & feel ganged up on. Too much can happen.

Pack instincts are strong in all dogs & in a dog park too many dogs are out of control & trying to establish a pack structure because their people turn them loose & give up control. New dogs entering the park are often seen as an intruder instead of a new friend because they aren't part of the pack. That can lead to dominance, fear, or territorial aggression.

I rescued my dog from the streets & took her away from having to defend herself against other dogs, protect herself & her territory, & pretend she was a tough girl. I'm not going to put her back in a situation like that & say, "Go have fun!" That would be torture for her. When other dogs meet her, she wants me there to control the situation. I want me there to control it. We also know a lot of dog trainers & rescuers who agree & would never take their dogs to one.

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Nick & Ashlee K.
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May 29, 2009

We take our black lab to the park all the time. its her favorite place to be except for the water =] there are some dogs there that dont do very well with other dogs but usually if there is a problem the people will leave or move to a different area of the park. but we love the dog parks and we have never had any problems at any of them.

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Mary C.
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May 28, 2009

I've always wanted for my dogs to enjoy socializing at a dog park but my concern has always been if there is or has been dogs there that have not been vaccinated or dogs with worms! Also, are all the dogs there social? I have little dogs that are very social and would not be afraid to go up to a big dog, it scares me that just one bite from a big dog could spell big trouble!!

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JerZgirl
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May 28, 2009

On paper dog parks are a great idea to me. However, a lot of times they are poorly executed. There are a LOT of people that bring dogs that should never be around other dogs period let alone in a park.

Where I used to live my neighbor never got her dog vaccines and was taking him to the dog park every week! Brings up another point-in addition to people bringing in ill-behaved dogs they also bring in unvaccinated, intact dogs. Some morons even brought their females in season there! Not to mention the constant outbreaks of kennel cough at my local park too.

I choose Doggy Daycare instead-they require vaccinations to be up to date-the dogs to be spayed/neutered and the dogs must be evaluated before allowing an all day stay. They also require flea and tick protection on the animal too.

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Vtech505
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May 28, 2009

It could potentially be a good thing for dogs. Infortunately there are too many ignorant owners and way too many untrained dogs that I would never recommend to go or take my dogs there!!!

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Midwestwoman
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May 27, 2009

Good idea but not well thought out - an idea that in my opinion has come and gone. Will not go back. It is an unnatural social situation for dogs, and an accident waiting to happen. I have witnessed, and heard about attacks in the dog park in Dubuque.

Dogs aren't children who need to go to the playground and play with others. Yes, dogs need socialization. Yes, they need to meet a variety of dogs and people, but under controlled situations. I don't think dog parks are the way to do it.

The dog park situation, especially if it isn't a very large area, allows for the creation of a free-form, unstable pack. Dogs come and go and this creates tension that can erupt as an altercation at any time. Dogs have varying degrees of social skills as well as personalities, and not all dogs read other dogs' body language well. Further, owners tend to gather at one end and chat while the pack of dogs just takes a free form. I think this is a very bad message to send to the dogs. Dogs should be under their owner's control, and I think dog parks can teach dogs to ignore their owners while running with the pack.

There are all kinds of people there - some polite and friendly, some responsible owners with some knowledge of dogs and some irresponsible who don't pick up after their dogs, who don't call their dog off of another dog when it is getting aggressive and occasionally some very odd or antagonistic people.

There are far too many people for my taste who frequent these parks that do not have much knowledge of dog behavior. They cannot tell the difference between play and aggression. Furthermore, there is the risk of infectious disease. Many owners do not feel the need to pick up after their dogs, and even if everyone did, there is still a risk of disease with so many dogs eliminating in the same area. There is no guarantee all dogs are up to date on vaccinations and are free of contagious disease.

And there are owners who knowingly bring unsocialized dogs that don't get along with other dogs to the park...incredible, but true!

I think dog parks are a bad choice for socializing and exercising dogs, and I do not recommend them.

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Gleb S.
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May 27, 2009

It is a good option until something bad happens... If you know the dogs and their owners than it becomes more of a private party, if you come a t the right time. But going there w/o any knowledge of what other dogs are there can be dangerous... I use it to walk outside the fence to have Carrot get used to the look and movements of other dogs. This works well.

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