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Dog Park Issues

November 15th, 2006, 03:15 PM
Hi Everyone!
Maybe you could give me some advice on a problem I'm having with Bailey at the dog park........Here's the history, my dog Bailey is a chocolate lab, 80 pounds, 19 months, fixed at 12 months, started taking him to trainning when he was 4 months, just finished our off leash course this August (but I wouldn't walk down the street with him off the leash).
When we go to our dog park he wants to play with all the dogs and he likes to rough house (barking, whinning etc.) and when there are little dogs or smaller dogs there he wants to rough house with them too, but they're too little and submissive and it almost seems like Bailey is trying to attack them, but I know that he isn't, he's just playing. So I'll pull him off of the dog and have a time out for a few minutes and then I'll let go, he might go right back at it or might leave the dog alone. Some people get very offended at me and my dog, and some people don't. I don't know what else to do......should I put him on his back in a submissive position beside the other dog, should I keep doing the time out thing??? Please help!!

November 15th, 2006, 05:31 PM
Definitely DON'T put him in a submissive position in front of ANY dog ever! That will humiliate him more and when you let go, he'll go on a rampage. Honestly, your dog just might not be ready for the stimulation of a dog park. It's good that you take action, and grab your dog, but at the same time, if he keeps doing it, he's just too revved up. :shrug: I think he needs to mature a bit more while maybe having play dates with one or two other dogs that he's already familiar with.

He's just lacking in manners and that's amplified by his energy level, and it could end up getting him seriously snapped or in a fight with an older, more dominant, veteran...:shrug:

November 15th, 2006, 07:38 PM
Play dates are an excellent suggestion. I know quite a few of the folks with small doggies do that. At one of our parks the bigger dogs and their people tend to hang out in one end and the smaller tookers are at the other. When my grrrls were puppies I organized playdates for them with other puppies their age and adult dogs their size. I find even now they still luuuvvvvv little dawgs. The only problem of course is they have no clue how BIG they are now so that when they get all googly-eyed goofy and go galumphing over, the little critter thinks it's about to become a snack.

November 16th, 2006, 05:49 AM
Honestly I have never understood people with little dogs taking their dogs to dog parks. I know they should be able to do this but with all the big dogs running around I would be terrified. They can be accidentally trampled and if a big dog decides he doesn't like a little dog he can cause serious damage in seconds before anyone can intervene. My last experience with a dog park was a nightmare and my dogs are large. If they had been smaller I would have been terrified. All the dogs were huge and their owners were idiots. Granted this was just one experience but it was enough for me. The mentality of the owners .... :mad:
Your guy still sounds like he is just a big puppy and doesn't see anything wrong with what he is doing. Do the little dogs not try to put him in his place. I know my mother's Bichon will growl at my dogs if they get too close for a sniff. It is enough for them to back away although a living room and dog park are different.
Will he chase a ball while you are at the park? Maybe that would be a way to keep him busy instead of wrestling with all the little dogs.

November 16th, 2006, 09:17 AM
Another suggestion, take your dog for a good long walk BEFORE you go to the park. that way hes not all revved up with energy when he gets there.

November 16th, 2006, 09:54 AM
When we go to our dog park he wants to play with all the dogs and he likes to rough house (barking, whinning etc.) and when there are little dogs or smaller dogs there he wants to rough house with them too, but they're too little and submissive and it almost seems like Bailey is trying to attack them, but I know that he isn't, he's just playing.

my dog, at only 50lbs, is too rough for little dogs too. so my solution is this... when little dogs come into the dog park, I leash up my dog and leave. it's not worth it, IMO. although I know my dog is "playing" - he has a very HIGH prey drive, and can be rough, so I just don't chance it. I would NEVER fogive myself if a small dog got injured during my dog's rough "play".

November 16th, 2006, 10:20 AM
I wonder too that owners of little dogs need to realise that if a larger dog gets too rough they may need to take their dogs away from the situation. I know that is what I do with my two little ones. On the whole they are fine and can even put a large dog in its place but on the odd occasion if they are scared I just take them away. And on the other hand when all that has been in the park are little dogs I've known the owner of a large obnoxious dog to move their dog on its way. It's just basic manners really!

November 16th, 2006, 04:17 PM
I have a 24 pound dog. She plays better with 'big' dogs. She gets too rough for dogs her size and smaller and plays like a mean bully. But people with 'big' dogs freak out that their dogs will trample mine. To keep everyone appeased because she does play well, I stay near the action and alert at all times just in case this time is like no other and something does happen and I can deal with it.

November 17th, 2006, 10:49 AM
He doesn't usually paly with the ball when there are alot of other dog there. From what I can see, it seems that he wants to play with the less submissive dogs.....the ones that get scared he really goes nutty, like it's a big game. The little snappy ones he can't pin them down, so he just goes down on his 2 front legs and whins and barks and then jumps around (I swear if you saw him you'd laugh). So I'm at a loss.
Sorry for the late response, computer was down. :sorry:

November 17th, 2006, 07:19 PM
Sorry but there are some big dogs that cannot safely be with little dogs, as well as some dogs that overly dog shy and be viewed by others as the weak link, in a dog park setting things can turn nasty very quickly due to all the stimulus, what might start off as play may quickly change if the small dog yelps or screams, and then the small dog becomes viewed as wounded prey, and suddenly a pack will form due to the sound and excitement and they will gang up and try to kill and rend the dog apart, it can also occur with a very submissive bigger dogs who get scared around a pack of dogs, but all it takes is one dog to start it by picking on another. I have witnessed it happen before where one dog started it, and when the little dog screamed all hell broke loose and approximately 15 other dogs tried to joined in nipping at it getting more worked up by the second, I ran in and started trying to toss dog aside but they were in such a frenzy they just ran back into the melee, so I ran into the middle of the pack and threw myself over the little dog to protect it with my body and started yelling harshly at the other dogs, I luckily was not bit but a couple people who were helping to get the other dogs were bit in the process, had I not acted as quickly as I did the little dog would have died. At another park where only greyhound were playing as a group a very submission greyhound was being picked on and when she screamed the other dogs turned on her too, she was severely ripped apart and was in critical condition for a long time afterward she survived but now bears alot of mental scars as well as physical. And there have been other incidences like this that I have heard of happening at dogs parks. Pack instinct behaviour is one of the risks that can occur when you put a large number of dogs together. In the wild a weak or injured member can endanger the pack or the youngsters by luring in predators , so they eliminate it tp allow for survival of the fittest. though that instinct has dulled much in todays dog being in a large group and overexcitement can help draw it out..

Your dogs behaviour around small dogs is enough to set such a situation in motion, play is natures way of testing dogs for weakness and setting pack structure, and the reason you see overly wealk dogs get bullied by others a test to see if it should be eliminated from the pack. Jessi76's comments is the correct thing to do if your dogs starts bullying. Daizy for the safety of your dogs you are doing the right thing, it is not worth the risk, but........ unless the dogpark is specified for large dogs only, your dogs do have the right to be there and socialize but when a person has a larger dog that is bullying smaller they are the ones they should be leaving and using it only when there are dogs present that they can play nicely with.
The responsibility for leaving lies with the owner whose dog(s) can not safely fit into the dynamics of the park.

Personally I would like to see dog parks have seperated areas for small and large dogs, the other thing I would like to see is mandatory muzzling in dog parks, not all dogs are going to get along, it can help to prevent horrific injuries and deaths in situations like I described above and even normal meek dogs can become killers if their pack instinct kicks in. I used to drive an hour and a half to a dog park with my gang( I did not have Maya or Winnie then) before entering the park I would survey the dogs there and pay attention to any of the smaller ones and how they interacted with the bigger dogs, if they tended to shy away or run then I would take mine for a leash walk for a bit a return later or if I was in the park and someone brought a smaller dog in and if I noticed Sunny had too much interest in I would leave and let them enjoy it. THere was a couple of times I did make the trip and never did end up in the park due to too many smaller dogs or becaused of dogs in the park that showed signs of being too agressive , instead I would go somewhere else and go hiking.

Maya is very submissive around other dogs and can scared easily in a group setting, I personally would not put her in a group even if they were muzzled, in a pack stting she would be the weak link, and proof of that is the number of scars she already bares which would have come from her littermates and unlike most greys, who are sent off to race together, her racing owner seperated her from her litter and several months later sent her to another track instead, so that she could go into adoption instead, A lot of people who have very dog submissive dogs, would think that taking them to a dog park would be a good thing to help them become more confident, it would be fine if all there was at the park was a couple of very easy going dogs, but if there is a large group of dogs it can be one of the most dangerous things an owner can do. Unfortunately most dogs owners do not know enough about pack behaviour to realize why this is a bad move, and if things go awry the weak dog will appear to be the victim and the dog that started the bullying will be viewed as a dangerous dog that should be put down. Prey instincts are a totally seperate issue and and rough play does not proceed it

November 17th, 2006, 09:25 PM
Dog parks are dangerous and are use at your own risk. Dogs are animals and they act like animals. A lot of out of control animals running around wild can be dangerous. If there were small dogs in the park and my dog did not play well with them and/or their obedience wasn't reliable then I wouldn't go. I wouldn’t go anyways. I guess you can tell my views about dog parks. LOL :crazy:

November 17th, 2006, 10:37 PM
I used to think dog parks were the best invention since sliced bread - until I realized how many things can easily go VERY wrong. There is just so much opportunity for dogs to get too wound up and it only takes the smallest wrong move to set off a fight or worse -even if it was a totally innocent, unintential move that started it all off. I think its good advice to go at your own risk and, instead of standing around for an intensely long play session where dogs get overexcited, it would be better to keep the greetings/playtime short and go on a nice long walk and keep things moving.

I do agree that there are circumstances when muzzling is appropriate for short periods of time if the dogs are not 'socially sound' (like my problem child!). Muzzling everyone would not be the answer either though since a) although it would probably decrease injuries, it would not stop dogs from fighting and contributing further to poor socialization (which will eventually lead to more problems)...and b) - and this is an extremely important point - I'm sure you'll get some idiot letting his dog suffer from heat stroke from leaving it on too long! Dogs can't cool down very well with a muzzle on and it is a huge hazard to leave it on for prolonged periods.

Aside from all that - its never a good idea to let a dog 'play rough' for all of the reasons stated already. Any time dogs are playing rough they need to be immediately separated for a time out - to indicate that its not appropriate to be anything other than gentle at play! :dog:

Never take for granted that the other people in the park will be as attentive to what their dog is doing as you are! I find there are a lot of irresponsible owners there! (the good ones are in the minority and can be found in off-peak times, walking the park instead of standing around for 2 hours ignoring their dog's poor behavior).

I guess like Muckypup - its easy to tell where I fall on the whole dog park thing! :rolleyes:

November 20th, 2006, 05:20 PM
Thanks for all of your advice everyone. I think that we'll still continue to go but if I see the smallest inkling that things are going to get out of hand we'll be leaving pronto. Thanks again!!

November 20th, 2006, 07:12 PM
OntarioGreys that's some scary stuff. I'm glad the dog park i go to has a nice small dog enclosed area. When my dog goes out side of the the fenced area I usually just keep a close eye on her and avoid the large dog area field when there are lots of dogs. I know better than to let me Ebie go running around in a frenzy out there. When she was smaller she resembled a big fluffy cat in many ways and lots of big dogs chased and even sometimes tried to bite her (which really freaked her out) :eek: . Usually when that happens I take her away and back to the small dog area.