Six Reasons I Stopped Going to Dog Parks
I am a dog mom who likes to travel with her dog. I am not alone: Many of us take our dog with us when traveling, and part of our travels used to include dog parks.
My cross country travels have taken us from sea to shining sea, where many towns have rolled out the grassy welcome mat with dog parks. My dog, Dexter, has been socialized, is in possession of his Canine Good Citizen title, and yet on more than one occasion dog parks have completely left us both in knots. Here are six reasons why and the reasons I stopped frequenting dog parks:
What I Want: A place to let my dog play, off leash, with other well-behaved dogs about his size.
What I Tend To Find: Pet parents who bring unruly and/or ill-mannered/less than properly socialized dogs to the dog park. I often wonder why an “enter at your own risk” sign is not clearly posted at the entrance to many dog parks. Some of the pet parents I’ve encountered at dog parks are clueless when it comes to dog park etiquette, behavior, and keeping their dog from inuring another.
“Oh look, they’re just playing,” may not be the case, especially at the dog park. Dog parks often have areas separate for larger dogs to play together, with small dogs having their own domain. Proceed with caution when larger dogs may hone in on a smaller dog as its prey. As a lover of all sizes and pedigrees of dogs, smaller dogs can bite just as much as larger ones. Know your dog’s body language and what is and is not “play.”
What I Want: A clean park
What I Tend To Find: Despite proper Bordatella (kennel cough) vaccination, my dog acquired kennel cough at the dog park. Upon further investigation and using a little common sense, it occurred to me that dog parks are pretty much open urinals. The earth is one big pee-mail for dogs (after all, where else can they go)? I just no longer want my dog exposed to disease and bacteria that lurks beneath.
What I Want: A gated environment
What I Tend to Find: How hard is it to close at least one of the two dog gates secure entry to many dog parks across the country? Apparently, this is a difficult task for some. Most dog parks I’ve visited are equipped with a double gate. If Fido roams into one area, he can’t get very far. However, people who leave the gates open can be a dog’s biggest danger. I kid you not: The last time I frequented a dog park, at least three times in one hour did someone have to remind a dog parent to close the gate behind them. I no longer am willing to take the bolting risk.
What I Want: A kid-free zone
What I Tend to Find: Not always, but there have been many instances where small children came to the dog park with their parents. Why oh why would someone bring an infant to the dog park? I know that busy moms have their hands full and that giving Fluffy play time at the dog park is a noble gesture. Bringing a crying baby to a dog park is not in the best interest of anyone.
There are ways to acclimate dogs to babies, but in their space, at their domain and in an environment designed for frolic, freedom , and letting the dogs out, a baby does not belong.
What I Want: My dog to live
What I Fear: Note that I have not encountered this situation when at the dog park, but it has happened enough to run chills up my spine. Several years ago when a dog park opened in my area, imagine my glee: I felt like a dog mom in doggie Disneyland—the whole “finally, at last” feeling immersed me. That feeling is gone.
While playing at the dog park last year, a year-old Chihuahua was fatally attached by three mixed-breed huskies (whom I encountered repeatedly by said owner who called them “part wolf”). The three dogs invaded the small dog area of the park when left unattended by their owner. Though his mom tried to free him, she too, was bitten almost two dozen times in trying to stop the attack. This is a risk of going to a dog park and I one in which I will not partake.
This is not an isolated or exclusive tragedy: Google dog park mauling or dog park fight; astounding.
Want I Want: To play ball with my dog off leash without fear of issues.
What I Tend To Find: Bringing a toy of any sort to a dog park is a big no no. He who has the toy tends to be the one most dogs want to get to know—and from which they swipe the toy. My dog will give a ball away; many dogs will not. Bringing toys or treats to the dog park can cause problems.
As a compromise, my dog plays off leash in back yards I trust, are fenced in, and at get togethers and meet ups with other dogs we know. While the socialization at a dog park is wonderful and a fun, integral part of a dog’s life and well being, for me it just is not worth the risk. So we walk the path less traveled, meet up with dogs in other pre-arranged ways, and I can breathe a lot easier for it.
I am not anti dog park and if your experiences have been good ones, I applaud you. It tends to be a people problem and not a dog problem in the first place. What I really want are rules followed, a fun environment, and fellow pet parents who feel the same way. I know I am not alone.
Are you a fan of dog parks? Ever have a problem at a dog park? Bark at us below in the comments.
Agree totally. Most owners are too busy socializing with others to watch their dogs. Oscar was bitten by a dog and the owner had the nerve to blame me is a passive aggressive way for bringing a small dog to the park. There were no size restrictions posted or areas for small dogs. It really is a shame because now Oscar is really wary of other dogs and won’t socialize with any.
I wish it didn’t have to be like this, but it was way too much of a risk for us. It is sad, but as you said can make a dog wary, too.
My town has a fairly new dog park – it has two areas – one for smaller dogs and another for larger dogs. I refuse to go – my daughter has been and said very few pick up after their dogs and seems to be the ones with the larger dogs. And how do I know these dogs have been properly vaccinated? I refuse to take that risk – I love them to much to risk the fun they might have.
Those are some very good reasons Carol! I’ve never taken Simba to a dog park with a bunch of dogs…I’ve only taken him to the one at my apartment that’s really small, but I could see these issues happening a lot at a bigger dog park for sure.
We still go to a dog park on occasion, but we have one that is 48 fenced acres with lots of trails so we can walk off leash and just have fun. We go during the day, during the week so there aren’t many dogs and then it is fun. Nothing worse than a small crowded park with the peeps standing around expecting the dogs to find friends and play. One park has a pond that makes us sick, so we only go there in the winter when it is frozen. Dog parks have a small spot in our lives but since we have our own yard and walk a lot, we don’t have to go to one.
No I am not a fan of dog parks. We have a dog park about 25 minutes away and we stop so I could check it out. When owners don’t clean up their dog poop and the park is full of poop no way! I am with you why you don’t go. They do not go to doggie day care either. I would rather take my with me or I have a friend that dog sits.
Dog parks have both their pros and cons. Around here, people do mostly clean up after their dogs and they seem to be able to keep both gates closed. So that part is good.
Kids? Yeah, not only there are kids in the dog park sometimes, but the things they do are right down crazy and their parents don’t do anything about it. Same with unruly or aggressive dogs.
I find that the best time to go to a dog park is when the weather is bad. All the “weekend” visitors don’t bother to leave their houses and only devout people come in. Their dogs are typically friendly and well behaved. So we generally visit a dog park only when it’s raining or the weather is otherwise nasty.
I agree about the kids thing. My dog loves other dogs..usually ignores children. BUT I fear for the kids’ safety because my 90 lb boxer mix wasn’t properly socialized with children, Yes, absolutely my fault- however it’s a dog park- don’t bring small children. And definitely don’t look at me like I’m insane when I kindly say “Hi, see that boxer over there? Please tell your children NOT to approach him and not to look at him” (yea look, i think the staring makes Cooper uneasy)
Am I wrong? I usually take him home as soon as I see small children. I care about the kids’ safety but sometimes I feel like the parents look at me funny. I don’t want children bit and I don’t want my dog to be put down.
I’ve just stopped going unfortunately because I never know if children are going to be present.
it’s great that you recognize your dogs behavior with children and leave when appropriate. Many pet owners do not live so responsibly. thank you.
I was strongly advised by my vet when we first got Dakota to NEVER EVER go to a dog park (off leash or otherwise). He said it was a HOTBED of illness….that many people bring dogs who they claim are vaccinated (but in fact aren’t) there. We have never been to one (other than looking outside through the gate) and will never be at one.
I love taking my dogs to the dog park, but AM cautious and only go once in awhile. With my little one (Chihuahua), I only let her down when we’re away from the other dogs…and I stay close to her. If I see dogs running our way, I immediately pick her up. I’m not willing to let the prey drive be a possibility with her. Sometimes I don’t let her down at all. It’s important to be proactive with your dogs’ safety.
I agree also, it’s too risky to take my best friends there. We play in the yard or in a field. When I’m walking my dogs I don’t let them get near other dogs, you don’t know what they are thinking and when they are gonna bite. Better to engage them in a safer activity. Great article, I will share it with as many people that I can.
I hear you (about #2 especially)! I’ve been to a local park once. I actually managed to swallow my fear of disease once Vlad had passed the dangerous, not-had-vaccinations-yet stage. The socializing thing was the problem that ruined it for me since so many singles these days look at it like a singles’ bar. Two got busy flirting and didn’t even remember they had dogs. That issue right there ended it for me. I packed up my babies never to return ever again.
Very smart not to return.
I’m not particularly fond of dog parks either, mostly for many of the reasons you raised… the main one being that, generally, it’s a people problem!
I had to stop taking my dog Sephi to the dog park because she started being a brat. Maya, on the other hand, does very well at the dog park. I hate how many people don’t pick up their dog’s poo at our park, despite there being several poo bag stations. Ours is not fenced either, but Maya has an excellent recall so I don’t worry about her. Plus, she always stays relatively close to me. I like how ours has a water front. Maya loves water so it is the only place she can legally swim without having to be leashed. Our park is wide spread enough that I can generally play fetch with Maya. She especially loves to fetch things out of the water.
That is another thing that drove us quite batty: Folks not cleaning up and that we were basically walking on a urinal ;(
Unfortunately I’ve experienced a lot of the same things….and after a few times at our town’s new dog park decided it wasn’t for me. The reality is that you are with strangers and strange dogs with no clue about how another dog will react to your, if they are sick or not etc….I keep mine busy, on leash at the park and the beach, where we can have controlled fun, and we participate in a play group…we know each other and our dogs so it works for us. I keep my dogs socialized by a lot of “on leash” trips whenever we can…they love to go get coffee!!!
My list is your list! I used to take my cockers all the time, but then the idiots discovered them. Don’t pick up after their dogs, don’t pay attention to their dogs because they’re too busy on their phone calls, and mostly the aggressive, mean dogs. One cocker got bit in the face by an old flu-fou and that turned into a $200 vet bill. I’ve had to break up dog fights in the large dog area with no help from the other 55 dog owners that were in the park-including the 2 owners. I now carry mace spray for the unleashed dogs we find on the trails, but we enjoy walking everywhere.
Good to hear that you are diligent dog mom and are on guard – you just never know these days. This is why we really had to stop going. It was the people and it made it a bad situation for all.
Hi Carol –
I just was reading to some of your recent posts I’ve missed and see this one on Dog Parks. We have 170 members in our Chihuahua Group and we go to the local dog park over the summer (not all at the same time – maybe 15 chihuahuas at a time). It has a middle gate that sometimes the big dog owners leave open to let the big dogs roam on the little dog side. They also have been some altercations with people who say their big dog would never harm a little dog, but sometimes little dogs have been afraid. In fact, one of the chihuahuas in our group was attacked and grabbed by the neck by a larger dog whom the owner said ‘would never do that’ and then the owner left with their dog quickly while the chihuahua owner went to emergency vet care with their bleeding chihuahua. Other people were able to get the plate number off the person’s car – but still. There is a reason why there is a big dog side and a small dog side. Inclusively, there are people leave their dog to poop and do not pick up after their dogs. Too many issues, irresponsible owners who cannot read dog signals… in the larger dog side, 2-3 dogs were ganging up on another big dog that was obviously trying to get away. One of the owners kept saying ‘let them work it out’ which is clearly stupid. These are not people, these are dogs. Just like people, dogs don’t like to be ganged up on. After our last experience at the park, we pulled some info on dog behaviour/language form Dr. Sophia Yin’s website – http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/bonnie-and-porter (check this out!) and she listed in her site she too doesn’t much enjoy going to dog parks for the same reasons you, me and others have said. Right now I am thinking we may forgo the dog park this year and use my backyard (which is fully fenced cedar and chihuahua proofed). There are just too many negatives to consider going anymore. And like you, when we travel, most of the dog parks we’ve found are filthy with lots of poop and unruly dogs. Just not worth it. Thanks for posting this!
Oops – that was the wrong link for Dr. Yin – though still related to the subject – here is the one on Dog Park Etiquette – http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/dog-park-etiquette-rules
This is an old post; but I wanted to comment; I used to take my dog to the dog park all the time. Then I moved to a new city, and the new dog park was a “gated community”. At first, that seemed like an awesome idea; a lot of my friends used to have to leash their pets at our old park because their dogs (terriers/scenthounds/sighthounds mostly) did not have a good “recall”. Our old park was isolated in a residential gully away from traffic, but did not have fences.
After three visits, I understood that the fence was a TERRIBLE idea. The fence seemed to promote this idea that the owners no longer had to supervise their dogs. Worse, I could call my dog back from a risky/uncertain situation, but I seemed to be the only dog mom who could. The straw that broke the camels back was the lecture I received after recalling my dog and walking out of the park while a husky nipped at my ankles and his owner screamed at him, then me. Apparently, the husky’s misbehavior was my fault because I “showed fear”.
None of the behaviour I witnessed would have happened at the “unfenced” park, where supervision of the dog and good recall were required if you wanted your dog to stay in the park with you.
Being a vet tech for 21 years and knowing what i know, NO WAY would I ever take my babies to a dog park. I agree with all your statements, but in particular the diseases, viruses and parasites that dogs can catch from one another. You wouldn’t believe how many people lapse on their pe’ts vet care. Also, no vaccine is 100% percent effective, so why take the chance.
The poor parent whose chihuahua was killed-I’d be so devastated. My heart and prayers go out to that family.
I have to say the leaving the gates open is my biggest peeve! Of all the things that could put dogs at risk this is it. I asked one man today to make sure he closed the gates so my dog didn’t escape he ensued an argument with me and I was absolutely livid.
At one of the dogs-allowed events we were going to attend recently, there was an option to walk in the town parade with all the dogs. What a cool thing, I thought! Can’t wait to join them. When they posted the rules, it was discovered that dogs would not be allowed on the “village green” area at the end of the parade. The people in charge asked if the dogs could have a place to go to after the parade. It was suggested that the dogs go (without their owners) to a PARTIALLY-fenced area behind the fire station across the street from the “village green” where the rest of the festival was taking place. One or two owners would stay with all the dogs. Mind you, this is on a MAJOR two-lane highway, crowded on a normal day, but overloaded with cars, people, etc. on the day of the annual festival and parade. The parade route is only closed to traffic for one hour. Did they really think I would put my dog, who can’t be trusted off-leash, into a PARTIALLY fenced area, WITHOUT ME??!!! Yes, I’m yelling! lol. I decided not to participate in the parade. I also didn’t go to the festival. 🙁
If I had a dollar for every time a worker left the gates on my own property open, despite CLEAR instructions from me, I’d be rich. One guy got fired. Sorry, you left the flippin’ gate open after I complained to your supervisor twice because my dogs got loose and were running the neighborhood. I’m not usually a b-word like that about people, but that was just blatant. Thank you for listening! Great post!
I tried a few times with Oscar. He’s a little guy, and the bigger dogs would rush at him. One or two of these dog owners, who couldn’t control their dogs, would ask me passive aggressively: “Um, are you sure your dog is safe here with the bigger dogs?” Ummm, no, I guess not, if you’re not willing to teach him good doggy manners or ignore them while you’re texting your friends the whole time you’re here. So no dog parks for us.
Okay first thing I’m going to address is the comment about the poor Chihuahua pup being killed by the three huskies that the owner claimed were wolfdogs. I HATE people who claim their Husky or Mal are wolfdogs, that tells me that they were stupid enough to be duped into buying a dog they know nothing about, and will be inclined to train them in a manner that will only make things worse. I’ve run into a few people who claimed their mutts (they were mix breeds that just happened to look wild) were wolfdogs and that they had to be trained differently due to the wolf which is nothing but a bunch of bull. They were going off of studies done on captive wolf packs that weren’t family and have recently been tossed out by the more recent wild wolf pack studies which show the exact opposite of the captive wolf study.
Sorry for soapboxing, but that is a really touchy subject with me since my Husky mix and Mal mix get mistaken for ‘wolf hybrids’ (I hate that term) or for a ‘coyote hybrid’ (also the wrong term).
As for stopping our dog park visits, I have to agree, from when I started going when Willow was a pup (4 1/2 years ago) the people that go are totally different now. They don’t know their dogs, they don’t pick up after their dogs, they haven’t vaccinated their dogs (due to pups age or owner ignorance), their dogs aren’t neutered (I’ve actually had someone say my Willow who was spayed at 6 months old [against my wishes I wanted to wait until 8-9 months so she would be mostly grown] was in heat because their intact male was obsessed with humping her), they haven’t trained their dogs, or at the very least failed to gain their dogs trust so if there was an issue they would seek them out for help.
My ten year old Mal mix has been attacked numerous times (due to the above mentioned misbehaving dogs) causing him to be reactive to certain breeds now, so it’s not fun for him or my other three that would be on edge due his nervousness, to go anymore. So we don’t go.
Dog Parks, this is my feedback :
01. Some people are not fortunate to have back yards so for their dogs a dog park is the only place where their pet can run free and play
02. I have 5 Dog parks in my area, they are all well looked after, the people 99 percent of the time are responsible and the one I most frequent, at least once a day most of the dog owners have been going to the same park for 15 plus years so everyone knows everyone plus their dogs
03. I think its important for a dog to socialize and that is the only place they have to do it, if the Owners watch their dogs carefully there are no problems
04. Kennel cough, sickness of any kind, most of the people I know would not bring their dog to the park if its sick but I also look at it as I can walk down the road and catch a cold, I cannot molly coddle Layla, yes keep her away where possible of course the way I would do for myself but she could get sick just going on a long walk in the city too.
So that is my input and people can call me names, disagree but I live in a tiny studio with no place for my baby to run or play so the dog park is the only solution and I feel very safe taking her to the one close to our house where we all have been going for years upon years, we all watch our dogs and each others dogs and up till now in the 5 years I am going there I have seen one incident.
Have a great weekend all
I totally agree that dog parks are not a safe place to take your pet. I watch a lot of People’s Court and Judge Judy and I’ve heard the horror stories. I decided that instead of taking my dog to a local dog park, I’d invest in a chain link fence for my large back yard. It has been great for my four dogs to run around in and play. Yes, it’s a major expense but I have peace of mind that my dogs won’t be attacked or get sick from exposure to other dogs & their waste products. I did have to fire a lawn service for leaving the gate open a couple times. Now I mow the lawn myself so there is no danger of that happening again. I need the exercise and I can be outside with the dogs on a nice day.
I guess I am fortunate enough to have a decent dog park. There are actually two – one is for large dogs and the other smaller dogs. Both are double gates as well. Most people pick up – but I still have concern about disease. I have been able to find a time of the day when it’s pretty much empty which is good.
LOVE this article!!! I have always been against taking my dog to one, despite others saying ‘it’s fine’. I will now redirect people to this article when they tell me I’m crazy. Thank you!
I have to agree with everything you said in this wonderful article even though I have not encountered some of the issues. Any time I have brought my dogs to the dog park, there is always something that happens that is bad and that sets me off and I can honestly say it is ALWAYS the people and not the dogs’ fault. When you mentioned children in the dog park, that set me off. I took two of my dogs to a dog park one day and a few moments later, a “family” comes in with their large dog. They let their large dog run free and just sat down and didn’t pay much attention to their dog. They also had 2 children who were walking all over the park and petting and touching other people’s dogs without permission. The little boy made his way over to me and when my very large dog turned to look at him (he was sitting quietly at my side), he started SCREAMING at the top of his lungs! I said, what’s the matter?? His sister said, oh, he’s afraid of dogs. WHAT??!! Afraid of dogs and your parents bring you to a dog park? SMH A lot of people are complete idiots and that includes the dog park people. No more dog parks for me. Never.
I don’t take my dog to the dog park anymore either. I found it was too hit or miss: sometimes you’d get a great group of dogs/owners and sometimes it was necessary to leave. I think most of what I didn’t like about the dog park could have been remedied by more attentive dog owners. So many people just stand on one end of the park socializing without paying attention to their dogs. It would especially drive me nuts when people would be on their phone or even smoke in the dog park (and not all of those cigarette butts ended up in the trash).
There were a few times I had to separate my dog from another dog, which is really hard to do when the other dog owner isn’t around to help out. There are a lot of dog owners who also dismiss a lot of behaviour as “just playing.” I don’t think a lot of dog owners realize that dogs still need their owners to interact with them and be a part of their play time. My old dog trainer described most dog parks as having a lot of bored dogs who are way too overstimulated, which is why she never brought her dogs to the park either.
Basically, these parks are like barn yards sanitation wise
Why in Peterborough,Ontario the donated swampland was filled with topsoil, and yes drainage so the phosphates, ammonia and related animal wastes could flow into into sewers and out to our lakes and streams.
Why go outside at all , people get robbed , mugged , raped and brutalized all the time. All novelty carries a risk and to the extent that we want captive, unfulfilled (but very, very safe) animals , avoid dog parks, socializing with neighbors dogs , any off-leash walking and definitely don’t take them into the “wild” where they can get mauled by mountain lions , bitten by snakes or run straight off a cliff.
I’m sorry to tell you all this but your dog will die anyhow, quite soon , relative even to our short life span.
I have never , ever seen so much unadulterated joy than when my two small dogs (Dachshund and Terrier Puppy) run , play , get dirty and yes , get rough housed a little. I can control the behavior of my dogs to a certain extent and having worked in a cage free kennel for quite a while I have broken up fights involving multiple dogs , all of whom could easily kill me. However I came out of it unscathed and never had a dog sustain anything more than a scratch as a result. Dogs are not meant to be cooped up in apartments and taken for occasional walks, your “love” and affection for them is not something which sustains them, They need activity , social challenges, play, risk , novelty and all the things which young kids (traditionally young boys though that paradigm is shifting) need.
You cannot and should not break your dogs spirit in the name of safety , so many points in this article make very little sense to me. I cannot write an essay about it just now but suffice it to say that as a dog trainer who has worked, in nearly every possible capacity with dogs , I find the concern touching but the misunderstanding of what a healthy dog wants and needs to be rather troubling.
I love taking my dog to have fun, play, and “get dirty,” too but will never do so at a dog park again. The risks are far too troubling. No thanks.
Perhaps we are comparing apples to oranges. At the cage-free Kennel I saw fights more often than I would like. Not frequently , the staff was well trained (though too few for real econimic reasons) but the pure population density, and excess of energy, without many productive ways to express it led to conflict over who gets water first, any egress areas were dangerous and so were untrained, aggresive protection dogs (sorry to say it , I think Husky’s are beautiful but they are among the most aggresive, if anyone is thinking about getting one , please get a good education on training them and what their needs are).
Anyhow I bring this up because it is a sharp contrast to my local dog park , which is just awesome. but I suspect many of the parks complained about have less space and that alone could lead to more trouble than necessary. Westminster Hills Dog Park is 420 acres so you can just take trails with little or no contact with other dogs and then there are the more fun areas where people get together and dogs play. It is also a place where people interact and that is not only fine , since they remain attentive but awesome because we are becoming more and more isolated from larger communities, in many ways we suffer the same adverse affects of domestication which many dogs do.
I’ve been going for years and the only “incidents” were some bikers saw a rattle snake ( no dog interacted with it) , an owner didn’t leash her dog in the parking lot so it ran across the street and a truck had to slam it’s breaks in order to not kill it and a husky puppy got too playful with a poodle. The owner picked up the poodle which is a terrible move as it only ensures that the aggressor will continue going after the smaller animal. The Husky’d owner was clearly incompetent and was not able to recall or affect the dogs behavior in any way.
Anyhow the reason for this long message is because I am , quite frankly, shocked that so many would deny their dogs this free roaming experience which is so satisfying to their migratory instincts. However , most people here and on other sites seem like concerned , competent owners so I can only assume that it’s the conditions of specific dog parks, mainly the lack of space, over-energized dogs (perhaps that’s the only exercise they get? Owners would do well to take them for walks/play with them before going to the park as counter-intuitive as that seems).
I didn’t mean to be sharp in my original comment , I forget myself on the internet sometimes but I just get this , (almost certainly false image, in most cases) of dogs cooped up in a house/apt all day and never getting to have fun , satisfy their instincts or express their physicality which makes me sad.
I’,msure this isn’t reality but please , everyone , find ways to allow your dog to live! Thanks
I appreciate your comments, Bob. I believe in dogs playing and having fun and being able to be “dogs” and not just inside. I have that with my dog, and many Fidose of Reality readers do, too. For myself, I have organized play dates and we go to a park where dogs are allowed with their parents but not a true “dog park.”
I know there are phenomenal dog parks out there and for those who have them, this is a great asset. Agreed about finding ways to let dogs be happy and free, and for each person and situation it will differ.
I don’t know where most of you live, but here in the NY-NJ area the people are almost always responsible. Problem dogs are often ID’d by their owners and precautions are taken. People clean up after their dogs. Dog licensing and vaccinations are mandatory to get access to the dog parks.
I’ve met some great people at the dog parks and my Toy Goldendoodle Teddy has made many friends. You do need attentive owners — dogs playing can turn nippy if 1 dog feels picked on — but for the most part we have 5-7 dogs at a time, tops. Many dog parks I have seen or read have 15 or 20 or 25 (or more ?) dogs which I agree is alot more problematic.
With a 1`-pen dog park, there can be a problem if you have very large dogs or aggressive dogs mixed in with more gentle and smaller dogs.. And there are some dog parks where access is open to all, so you don’t know if the dog is up-to-date on vaccinations.
I have fairly much decided that I am not returning to the dog park in my city. I’ve had too many issues and fear that my dog is going to be seriously harmed. Some dog owners seem to go there more for the socialization with other dog owners and do not pay attention to their animals. when you walk around the park, you have to be careful for dog poop piles. Some do not understand the signs of aggression. As someone who has grown up with dogs since I was a little girl, I clearly know what the signs of aggression are and it’s pretty sad when a clique of people will disregard that and gang up on other people. My last experience was a dog that would not stop mounting my dog. It was excessive mounting from front and back. The owners who were an older couple who initially laughed about it, then had the nerve to ask me if I was okay with it or not. I very nicely said I was not okay with it. Initially, they would do something about their dog mounting my dog. Unfortunately, one of the owners would hit their dog in the head as a way of making the dog stop. Completely unacceptable. At one point, the woman said that her legs bothered her and it was hard for her to get to her dog to get her dog off my dog. Eventually, they quit getting the dog of my dog because I was. I finally had to walk away with my dog and yet, their dog still followed and mounted my dog. Later on, their dog was playing with several of the other dogs. However, it turned to aggression and the same dog attacked another dog. When I said something about it, That clique of people all said there was nothing wrong with it. I could not believe what I was seeing. Literally though, me, another woman and another couple clearly saw what was happening and we left the dog park. I’ve had so many bad experiences there. 6 weeks prior to this, a dog severely attacked another dog and the police had to be called.. My dog has been attacked there numerous times. There’s no one there to monitor the dog park. From what I hear, complaints to the city fall on deaf ears. it is really too bad that some dog owners spoil it for others. I do not blame the dogs. I blame the dog owners. I just don’t think I want to go back. my concern is that my dog is going to get severely attacked or possibly killed. She is very submissive.
I agree completely with your comments. I’ve also seen that most big dog people are arrogant jerks who do not pick up after their dogs. My nearby park is closed at night and young punks show up to smoke pot. They toss their roaches in the lawn. My 4 pound chihuahua ate one and nearly died. Fortunately the vet was 5 minutes away. I also hate smokers at the dog park or anywhere else. They leave their cigarette butts everywhere.
That is awful. More reasons to avoid the dog park. Sad that some people do this.