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Great Advice For How To Enter And Be Alert In The Dog Park

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Joan, Draco, Wicca & I were at our local dogpark last week (several times).


A really nice Husky and a sweet spirited Pit Bull were running, just having fun. As collateral damage, they accidentally ran over a small, wire-haired something and knocked it, unharmed for a loop.


But, it yelped, loudly and continually and both dogs turned on it. Little Dog was putting up a valiant effort snarling, scampering but finally rolling over.


(If you remember reading "White Fang", one of the lessons in a dog fight is 'Never go down')


The little dog went down and the prey instinct came up in the big dogs just as the Husky owner and I reached the melee. He reached in a got his Husky and I reached in and grabbed the Pit's harness.


As soon as I got the Pit disengaged, it looked at me and I watched it transform back into the sweet heart. By then, the owner was there thanking me for grabbing her "good" dog.


And, it is, except when that prey instinct kicks in...



So, this info is timely.


My Dad was deeply into defensive driving.... emphasizing that on the road, I was responsible to keep my car and me out of trouble.


This article also emphasizes the personal responsibility to SEE what's going on.

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Good article. I had never been in a dog park before I had Ayita, and it was scary because I was ignorant and she was (still is) small, but too big for little dog side. We always sniff through the fence but sometimes neither one of us wants to go inside, so we just do the path--never can get too much leash work with this little puller.

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Good article but I'm not sure what they're saying here;


Don't ever bring your dog to a dog park?




Prepare for the worst because all dog parks and their attendant dogs will eventually turn and attack your dog?


I have found this to be totally untrue so far in our 2 years of dog park adventures. There certainly are instances where there have been aggressive dogs at the park but first with Lili and now with both Lili & Kona we haven't seen too many problems. That doesn't mean that there aren't fights...there are...they just don't happen to us.


Most likely that is because I'm not oblivious to what's going on at the park and I'm always surveying the realm as it were. It's just my natural instinct to keep an eye peeled at all times. (what a weird phrase...'eye peeled'...not sure I want to know where that came from).


There was a adolescent male Doberman there the other day that was obsessed with Kona but Kona has been through SDK 'boot camp for puppies™' and is therefore pretty well schooled on how to deal with other dogs...including aggressive and dominant ones. That didn't prevent that Doberman from trying to mount my little snit several times but she is lightening quick & he just couldn't keep up with her even as long and lanky as he was. She'd settle in & he'd saunter over and try to get into position only to be left with a cloud of dust & a cream colored, yelping streak in the distance. She was massively nervous about this entire situation but she let him know that his behavior was unacceptable to her but he didn't give a whit..he kept coming. My response was to 'block' his access to her until the Doberman's mom came by to apologize & tether him again. He wasn't violent ... just amorous I think.


Since her first visit with the "post-dramatic-stress-disorder' inducing Greyhound Games™ she's been a little better every visit...still somewhat nervous but no longer a flight risk either! She's engaged every dog in the park the last three visits! I'm impressed.


Liliko'i stands for no BS whatsoever. She'll stand her ground against a Great Pyrenees, a Great Dane...that Greyhound recently and whoever else wants to come up & challenge her. She's not even remotely dominant though...in fact the opposite is true. She's overtly submissive but in the case of a dog that ramps up when that behavior is offered she'll turn on a dime & stare down her opponent rather menacingly I must say. The first time I saw it last year was quite the surprise...it was like Norman Bates showed up for an audition!


There have been dogs that have succeeded in getting her to back off but only after they realized that this is someone a little bit different than the rest of the denizens of the park. They never escalated into a fight...it was always, "okay, I guess you're okay to hang with..." She knows exactly what she's doing at all times. She won't engage aggressive dogs but by the same token she won't submit either...it has never escalated though beyond sniffing interest...it seems that the other dogs always seem to know that there's something unique with this dog & they tend to back down from challenge although there have been a few tense moments. Generally, I'll be watching all the fun and decide where it is that we'll 'play' in the park so as not to tempt fate...after it calms down we move into an area to see what's up. Pretty decent experiences up to this point though.


Lili is an excellent mentor to Kona at the dog park...she's learning...and watching as Lili engages everybody, both 2 & 4 legged types.

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Just some good thoughts on safety from the check list for how to approach the park and how to watch for issues. Even tips that can be used on the trail when meeting and greeting a strange dog. I had noticed the "dog swarm" but had not thought to wait outside the fence for the sniffing procedure.


Keep in mind the person that wrote the article trains Police Grade German Shepherds. The issues with a high drive dog that has a bight that can crack a lamb shank and the liability there with - especially with the protection training - are much greater. In some areas you have to keep such a dog behind an 8 ft minimum fence. Honestly it seems odd to me that his clients would go to the dog park but there you have it.


As Gib said, drive defensively.

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The swarm dog idea is a good one and I too didn't think of that...good advice.

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As Gib said, drive defensively.


I should have also said that this was one of only a few negative incidents at dog parks in the five years we've had Draco (Wicca for 4).


There is so much beneficial about dog parks (in today's modern world) that I would encourage using them. (If you're traveling I-5, you must see the Bakersfield, CA dogpark in a resevoir.)


Like driving, sleeping people seem to have more accidents than people who are awake! :)

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I have done both the sniff outside fence of our 'home' dog park, and wait & observe.




The observance and being actively involved in watching your dog at all times - comes in handy two fold - stopping over dominating situations and also Very important - poop pickup!!!!!!


Tayamni is extremely submissive upon entering the Park. That's when she's most vulnerable, she does a full roll over onto her back leaving herself EXTREMELY vulnerable and until she meets each dog already in the park this way _ I have to have an eagle eye.


She has never been ganged up on because I am right over there, but I have seen the prey drive kicking in to a few "good" dogs, since being spayed (spayed early - she never came into heat), only one dog has actually grabbed her neck (not fully).

The owner said, "oh - my dog is just a goof". Ummmm, no - maybe your dog needs another outlet for his/her prey drive.


Where's Cesar Milan ?????? LOL!!!!!!!!!!


I know, this sounds horrible - like why would I bring her to a dog park???????


Believe me it doesn't happen frequently and I am right there.


I understand that she is showing to the existing dogs her place in the pack and willingness to belong (and she looks to befriend a strong dog) and most of them (especially since her spay) just sniff her and go on playing.


She follows along (she is such a pack oriented animal!!!!!!!) ^_^


Once in the park and acclimated, she is not submissive nor dominant when other dogs enter the park - but she is curious and happy!


I am teaching her to stay away from the gate (two-fold: good manners, and so she doesn't go running out if a gate is accidently left open). ;)


I have left the dog park at times: if Tayamni is remaining submissive and an overly Dominant dog continually approaches

her. This happens when the owner can't keep their dog under control or is not paying attention. I also take responsibility because I know the initial submissiveness quality of Tayamni IS a contributing factor. In the end, I am responsible to and for my dog. Another reason is when this 'gang' up happens to another dog, a lot of times the hyped up dog will release upon another. Tayamni has never been on the receiving end of this. I give MANY thanks for that!!!!!!!!!! :lol:


ALL of that said, I think Dog Parks are great!!!!!! :wub:

Tayamni is learning and making friends and gets her exercise!!!!!

The Dog Park allows her growth opportunities I could not simulate elsewhere.


PS The dog that initially held it's mouth over her neck when she entered the park - she's usually engaged in some type of play with IT and other dogs once she establishes her place.!!!!!!!!! B)






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