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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday was the first time I took Sam to a dog park, then again today. Both days it seems like the other dogs can sense his submisive behavior and just keep picking on him. I think the thing that bothers me the most about it is that the owners of the other dogs don't do anything about it.
 

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Our puppy Katie has been going to the off leash park since she was 4 months old and loves it. Once in awhile dogs are there that shouldn't be. We can always sense when another dog isn't friendly. You're right that the owners should do something about it, but a lot of them won't. Our pup is very well socialized so she gets along with all dogs and people, but if an agressive dog, or pack of dogs start getting out of line we gather her up and leave. I almost got into a brawl when one owner did absolutely nothing to stop his standard poodle from attacking our Katie.

Katie can't go to the park right now due to hip surgery but she is missing it alot. That's the only way we can get her energy level to come down to a bearable level. :) Try finding a friendly dog to play with at first and don't go if there are too many dogs.
 

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There is park near me where I take my girl, it's large enough where the unruly dogs aren't running on top of my shy girl. I did talk to some of the "regulars" as to when the best time was to come (i.e. not peak times) and if there were any problem dogs. There are a handful of dogs that when they show up, a majority of the crowd packs up & leaves.

Also, your dog was probably a little off yesterday as it was a new surrounding with strange dogs & people, I bet as he gets acclimated, his confidence will grow & he'll be a nutty puppy running around like the rest. Until then, I'd try to take him when it's not so populated so he has a chance to familiarize himself with his surroundings & have gain some positive experiences with a handful of dogs. I have no problem redirecting someone elses pup away from mine if it's being a bit much for her.
 

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I'm not a fan of dog parks, because of all the comments posted. There is one locally that I like to go to, but it is staffed by park employees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I did notice he was better today than yesterday. There was a ridgeback that was pushing him around today, but he did try to push back a couple of times but this dog had 40lbs on Sam. Hopefully you are right, because this is the only one in town.
 

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we've been taking layla, 5 months, to dog parks for quite some time now and she's still pretty submissive towards certain dogs. we've learned to be picky where to put her down and to keep her in our eye sight/grabbing vicinity no matter what simply because a lot of owners just push their dogs into the park and disappear on their cell phones.

i've waded waist-deep in november into the park lake because layla was mobbed by larger dogs that, intentionally or not, were holding her under water. they tried jumping on ME in the water as i held layla above their heads. their owners weren't anywhere to be found.

the thing you need to remember is that you're going to deal with people that make you angry but that's the price you pay taking your dog to the park, sadly. it can be a scary experience.

i would try to avoid dog parks at all costs on the weekends and from 12pm-close.
 

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I have three Goldens. The oldest is three, the youngest is one. My oldest is an alpha dog. He loves children and adults, and is great with puppies, younger dogs, and dogs that are submissive; however, if another alpha dog enters the park, there is the potential for a ruckus. If you watch the dogs, they size each other up. Two alpha dogs will try to hold their heads high over each other. Somehow they usually work it out. If they don't, then it becomes a challenge. I am on alert for that when I am at the park.

My 2 year old Golden is never bothered by other dogs. If they sniff her, she sits there and then she goes on her way. She is more interested in chasing a ball or carrying it.

My 1 year old Golden rolls on her back every time a more dominant dog approaches her. The other dogs can tell she is young and submissive and will chase her down, bump her, and sometimes even growl at her. Usually, her alpha brother will go right to her and block the other dog - however, then I have to be concerned about how that turns out.

I have no problem stepping in and letting a bully dog know to stop or leave. I would never strike another dog or use any kind of spray like some people recommend. I am just not comfortable with that. I just take command, with my posture and my voice thats all it takes.

So a couple of things to keep in mind - try to find a time to go to the park when there are as few dogs (and people) as possible. That gives you a chance to breathe a bit - because when there are so many dogs, you have to be on constant alert, watching your dog's body language, looking at who is coming in, and observing how the other dog's interact.

Do not expect the other owners to be as responsible as you - they will not be. They are not like any of the Golden lovers on this forum. Many of them sit and drink coffee, use it as a place to let their kids play, they are on their cell phones, and some of them stand in one place and just gab.

Do not let anyone engage you in a long conversation. If you are talking to someone there, then you cannot pay attention to your dog. Besides that, very often the conversation gets into who the terrible dogs or owners are - and that is so negative. I find it draining personally.

I view the dog park as a place where I can wave a friendly hello to the people I know - and then it is just my dogs and I playing, walking, and getting exercise.

If there is a dog that is charging your dog or rolling it over or mouthing his collar, and it does not appear that your dog can handle it on his own, step in, use your body to block the dog and with a commanding voice, say "Stop" or "Leave". I've done it more than once after not seeing an owner in sight.

I will say this - after 3 years, my dogs understand that if they do not stay within sight of me, we are going to leave. I call them back to me when they get too far ahead. If I see that the chasing or rough housing is escalting and my dogs are involved, I end it there for them. Other owners say, "oh they are just playing." The thing is, just like that, rough play can get out of hand. I don't want them practicing those behaviors.

I think dog parks are great for exercise. I wish they were pay as you go - I wish there was staff to enforce the rules - I wish there were a lot more of them so that they were not overcrowded on weekends.

I think dog parks are not so great when I see bad behavior - whether it be my dogs - or the other dogs. I end up leaving bummed and wishing we had not gone there.

If I were you, I would look for opportunities for your dog to socialize with dogs who have stable behavior that you can trust.

If you use the dog park - you are going to have to show confidence - the dogs pick up on that. Be in charge and watch the body language of the other dogs. If a bully dog approaches your dog and you think there is going to be a problem, keep moving and tell your dog to come by you. If the bully dog follows you (and some will), then that is where I would body block him and and use my voice to send him away - it works for me.

We don't use the dog park as often anymore, because of the challenges I described - we mainly go there when it is impossible to walk outdoors, or I can tell my dogs need a good run. I have become very creative at finding interesting walks for us in the Forest Preserves, at Lakes, and in my neighborhood. We walk about 4 to 5 miles every day. The benefit to that is they have become excellent walkers on-leash and I am getting a lot more exercise : )

I hope this helps.
 

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We use a local dog park quite a bit. I do go at off times. Very early in the AM, right before dark or when the weather would keep others away. This has worked pretty well for having a low number of dogs and it seems like better mannered dogs. If however, there is a dog/owner not playing nicely we go home.
 

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The only dog park we visit is the one in Estes Park CO when we are on vacation. It has two sections and is usually not busy.

Even if Gunner wasn't anxious, I still wouldn't frequent the dog parks we have in our city. I have known too many dogs who have been attacked there. And my daughters dog was almost drowned at one of the Denver dog parks by a pack of dogs while their owners just looked on and did nothing. I had to get into the pond and rescue him!
 

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Great recommendations Marty's Mom!
 

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A dog park just opened a few months ago in my area. They planted grass just before it opened, so it hasn't had time to get established. Unfortunately, it has rained so much here in that time that the place is always muddy. I have taken Brooks 3 times. One time no dogs were there, the other two times there were two dogs.
I am hoping it will stop raining so much and more people will go so Brooks can have some dogs to play with.
 

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When I first started taking Hurley to the dog run, he was about 6 months old. I noticed the first couple of times there, he wasn't interested in playing with the bigger dogs & seemed intimidated by them. So, he stuck by the humans instead! Many times, he would just sit next to some random stranger & enjoy the scenery.

I think it might have been the 4th or 5th time of going, there were a couple other Goldens there & he really enjoyed them. That's when I noticed that the Goldens all stuck together & wasn't interested in the labs, husky's & german shepards. Unfortunately, there were not very many Goldens the last few times we went....so he kind of just played with the smaller dogs or stayed by us. I know that he definitely is missing the freedom of the dog run but with this awful Nebraska winter, it will be a long time before we make it back there.
 
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