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Dog Park Etiquette - I'm new at this

April 25th, 2007, 12:01 AM
Hi Everyone,

I'm a new Dog owner. I own a 5 month old Schnauzer/Poodle cross. We went to the dog park the other day and there was an Airedale Terrier completely terrorising my Puppy. Before I had a chance to step in the Terrier had bitten my Puppy twice on her back side, than he turned his attention to another small breed and went for her neck! Fortunately he didn't get a hold of it, and by that time me and the other small Breed's dog owner stepped in and picked up our dogs.

The owner of the Airedale terrier was about 30 feet away staring into the sunset. She was completely indifferent to anything her dog was doing. I was steaming mad. It was the first time I had witnessed anything of the sort. To be honest I was completely lost for words and didn't know how to handle the situation.

Do I have a right to say something to her? After all, these are dogs in an off leash dog park. Is this kind of behaviour to be expected in a dog park? Should I leash my 8 pound menace and not let her play with bigger dogs?

I just want to make sure I handle the situation appropriately next time. Quite frankly I was too angry and taken by suprise to have handled the situation maturely, which is why I just opted to leave the park.

Sorry for the rant,

April 25th, 2007, 01:25 AM
Dog parks can be wonderful socialization places but they can also be an accident waiting to happen. I would have definately said something to that person, they should be watching their dog and monitoring its behavoir.

My best advice is just to keep a close eye the whole time you are there. Listen to your instincts and leave if you feel that there are irresponsible owners or agressive dogs. Unfortunately with a small dog you are at a bit more risk as some dogs have a high prey drive and will see your pup as something to chase so I would be extra careful. There are also a lot of very well socialized big dogs who will play well and that is an extremely valuable socialization process for your pup. Just be careful.

April 25th, 2007, 01:50 AM
Welcome Matty ! (I hope we can look forward to pix of your puppy *hint*hint*nudge*nudge*)
And great advice as usual TeriM. As she suggests, I never take my eyes of my dawgs (and I have big un's) simply to ensure that they are #1 safe from other dawgs and from environmental / physical hazards and #2 not directly or indirectly creating an unsafe or hostile environment for other dawgs or their people.

But, with all that said and done you have a puppy who also happens to be a small dawg. Not all (in fact alot of ) adult dawgs simply do not like puppies. They are too unpredictable and rambunctious for many adult dawgs. So it's like a double dynamic ~ you have small breed scurring around crazily which draws out the " CHASE AND CATCH " prey drive of adults

In other words, you might want to start a puppy playgroup and a small-breed meet-up in you park if there isn't one there already. I also would continue to seek out owners of bigger dawgs who have a calm disposition towards puppies and little dawgs to give your pup a chnace to socialize with THEM properly. (As you may have read in another thread there are a few "little terrors" who love nothing better than to prove how tough they are with bigger dawgs).

April 25th, 2007, 09:42 AM
Hey Matty,

Hope all is doing well for you. I don't know how many dog parks are in the area you live but some dog parks offer a special space for small dogs. I had a big incident happen to me just this week where my dog thought a chihuahua dog was a rabbit and broke the poor dogs back. MY dog has been socialized with big and smalls and agressiveness had never been an issue nor was it even a sign before. Some dogs like to play "rough" too. If you can find a park that has a small-dog play area, I would definately take it over a bunch of 100 lbs dogs running around. Try to start out when the park is calm, when there are just 2 or 3 dogs in there so your pup can get used to it. Just remember that there are risks involved for your pup, yourself and children in 0ff-leash dog parks.