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Discussion Starter #1
I have heard it is not good to take puppies to dog parks since they
are around alot of older dogs.

Has anyone had any negative /positive experiences taking there puppy
there ?

If so , what age were they ?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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not a fan of dog parks for dogs of any age...far too many disengaged owners not paying attention to their own dogs.
 
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Your puppy isn't fully immunized until he/she is 4 months old (and received their last series for vaccinations). Dog parks are full of viruses that can potentially kill your puppy. As mentioned above, they can also be very dangerous because there are dog owners that bring their unsocialized and aggressive dogs to the park.
If you want to go, wait for the puppy to be 4 months old, go early in the morning (or an off-time) and keep your eyes open. Dogs entering the park will tell you everything you need to know by the behavior before they reach the gate. No matter what, keep your puppy as far away from the entrance gate and observe the dogs entering the park. If you aren't sure, bring your puppy to the other side of the fence if dogs are in the park already and see how they react to each other.
(When I had to go to a dog park, I always packed pepper spray to defend my dogs if needed)
Hope that helps!
 

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Layla and Bauer's Mommy
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You should not bring your puppy to a dog park unless he/she is fully vaccinated. I'm even going to wait a week or so after my youngest gets his last shots. Our vet told us that the deadly virus, Parvo, can actually live in the ground for 1-2 years. This means that even if your puppy does not come in contact with other dogs or their feces, the pup can still get Parvo at a dog park, or any high traffic doggie area.

Other than that, the things that I worry about are other dogs attacking. The pepper spray is an excellent idea. My friend took her intact male dog to a dog park and 3 male dogs attacked him. He had to go in for an emergency neutering after that. It can be scary because of how many irresponsible owners there are out there. However, I live in the city, so the dog park is a great (and one of few) place for the dogs to run and be active. So just wait until your pup is fully protected against viruses and watch out for other dogs! :)
 

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Not knowing any better at the time, I took my 3 month old pup to a dogpark, it did not turn out well. She got mobbed by a dogwalkers pack of dogs that came up over a rise, she was not hurt physically, but seriously, she could have ended up dead, and I will never forget her screaming for her life. She is over three years old now and generally avoids new dogs, or is very submissive even to the smallest of dogs,should she have the courage to meet them. Even now a chihuahua will send her running if it growls at her.
Your choice to make but what happens to your pup now can and will very likely have a lifelong effect.Dogparks can be great fun for dogs but there is always a risk of running into a wayward dog or an uncontrolling owner.
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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Rather then pepper spray (which can blowback and disable you or other people around you that you might need to help break up a fight!)...consider spray shield/direct stop.
Spray Shield (Formally Known as Direct Stop)
 

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Absolutely not a fan of dogparks & will never go to one again.

When Nygel was 9 mos old, we took him to a dog park where my sister goes. Within a minute of walking in, he was attacked by an adult lab mix and absolutely no adult owner around. We went to the back of the park and Nyg was again attacked by an adult collie mix. We were outta there in a flash but not without behavioural reprecussions. Nyg is always on guard about strange dogs approaching him and all the training in the world hasn't been able to change that situation.

My motto "Say NO to dog parks".

BTW, as we were leaving the dog park, the lab mix owner came up to me & said "Oh, I hear my boy attacked your puppy. Sorry about that. He's been doing that all the time lately & I don't know what to do with him?" I told her to get control of her dog so he doesn't hurt any others.
 

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I first took Nyah at about 3 months. My advise is to go to a few different dog parks and get a feel for them. There was one near where we live that is very popular and busy. Awful place. The owners were neglagent and the dogs were unstable. The owners stood around talking not looking at their dog once and Nyah got attacked by an aggressive husky. Never going there again. However there is another dog park a bit further away but much better. She has several puppy friends there and the owner's are all experienced and great. Just keep an eye out and pepper spray is great (wish I could carry it but its illegal here)
 

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Absolutely not a fan of dogparks & will never go to one again.

When Nygel was 9 mos old, we took him to a dog park where my sister goes. Within a minute of walking in, he was attacked by an adult lab mix and absolutely no adult owner around. We went to the back of the park and Nyg was again attacked by an adult collie mix. We were outta there in a flash but not without behavioural reprecussions. Nyg is always on guard about strange dogs approaching him and all the training in the world hasn't been able to change that situation.

My motto "Say NO to dog parks".

BTW, as we were leaving the dog park, the lab mix owner came up to me & said "Oh, I hear my boy attacked your puppy. Sorry about that. He's been doing that all the time lately & I don't know what to do with him?" I told her to get control of her dog so he doesn't hurt any others.
Very sorry what happened to Nygel, the lab mix owner makes my blood boil, has a dog reactive pet and lets it off lead, people like that should not own dogs if they can't answer that question themselves.

Personally speaking, I think controlled exposure to other dogs and people is worth the fairly low risk of serious infection. Put it this way, it is far easier to treat common conditions like conjunctivitis, kennel cough than it is to treat the psychological conditions of fear/aggression/protectiveness that can come by hiding the puppy away while his mind if most fertile. When I say controlled, I mean use your judgement, only allow approaches on other dogs either on lead or where you can talk to the owner first. I do not mean be wary as that would likely result in your puppy picking up on your attitude and adopting a similar frame of mind. Just be calm and in control of every situation. If another dog approaches on or off lead then make a judgement call.

If you get into a situation where you have a dominant dog approaching, stand tall and position yourself between the approaching dog and your puppy. Stare it away resolutely. It will get the message.

Not sure if you have something similar in the USA, but often the best approach is to join in with organized countryside dog walks. Get to know the owners, speak to them and observe the dogs before you let puppy out of the car. Obviously you can not exercise a puppy like you can an adult so even if you spend 15 minutes on a short stroll the controlled exposure to adult dogs will work wonders for his confidence.
 

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We started taking our Golden, JJ, to the dog park when he turned 5 months, which was just about 2 weeks ago.

Luckily, our dog park is "private" in the sense where owners have to pay a yearly fee to the town board and show proof that there dogs are fully vaccinated, before being granted a pass to the park. With that being said, majority of the owners there are responsible dog owners who do there best to protect their dogs. I also live in a fairly ritzy town where everybody talks, so if there was ever a dog there who caused nothing but problems, they would instantly be reported to the town and have their license revoked. The town would rather kick one person out then lose 20.

Our park is also set up nicely. There's three areas; one for dogs over 30lbs, which is about 50 yards x 50 yards, one for dogs under 30lbs, which is about 30 yards x 30 yards, and an area for agility with some ramps and what not. So if you have a little dog, he doesn't have to be in the area with the big boys.

The first time we took JJ there were 3 other dogs in the park at the time. Naturally, they ran over to the fence to greet him and instantly he dropped to his submissive position. His tail was wagging though and the other dogs were being friendly as can be, licking his face up and down. So I let it go on for a minute and then I broke it up so JJ could walk around and get a feel for the area. The other dog owners were right there as well to watch what there dogs were doing. It's a pretty common thing - owners following there dogs around in case there's something that needs to be broken up (i.e. humping haha). The 3 other dogs that were there kept running over to JJ and trying to get him to play, but he just wasn't sure about it yet, so he would always drop to the ground when he saw them running towards him.

About 15 minutes after we got there, this other lady came with 2 more dogs. I don't remember what kind exactly, but they were some sort of herding dog. They too ran to JJ to welcome him and give him kisses. Once again, he dropped to the ground as he did with the other dogs. At one point he was chasing a tennis ball I threw and one of the herding dogs came out of nowhere, chased him down and rolled him over. It didn't appear to be on purpose. He was much faster then JJ and when JJ noticed he was behind him, he sort of stopped short. He didn't appear to be harmed by him and didn't cry in fear. He didn't chase any of the other dogs and would drop whenever they came around him, but overall we think it was a good experience.

We've been taking him every weekend since then and from what we can tell, he seem to enjoy it. After 4-5 times there, he's still not sure about chasing the other dogs around and still drops to the ground from time to time, but you can slowly see that he's starting to warm up, trying to get more and more involved, even if it's just with one or two other dogs that are separated from the pack. He's just gotta grasp the concept that the dogs are chasing each other around cause they're playing, not fighting. He loves the people too, and the people love him. Everybody calls him by name, which we feel makes the experience better for him cause they don't act like strangers. It's pretty much the same people who go, so you get to know people and there dogs. For now, JJ mostly hangs out with the people and watches the other dogs run around.

He did have one bad experience last week though, but it didn't seem to scare it away from going to the park. There was another dog there slightly bigger than him in size and for whatever the reason may have been, he just didn't like JJ. Out of about 8-9 dogs, he was the only one who went after JJ in a mean way when we walked in. His teeth were out, he was growling and he grabbed JJ by the ear and started tugging. I quickly scooped JJ up and took him to the other side of the park and the lady came running for her dog and quickly put him on a leash until he calmed down. The moment she let him off the leash again, he bolted across the park towards JJ and once again jumped on him and started yanking on his neck. JJ whimpered this time, so I wasn't happy at this point. I grabbed JJ, pushed the other dog away and told the lady that she needs to control her dog. He split up again and about 10 minutes later, here comes the dog again. I spotted him first so I grabbed JJ before he got to him. Being the third time this happened, the lady finally decided to take her dog and leave. If she didn't, I was going to leave and just go back later.

I don't know why out of all the other dogs there, he only had a problem with JJ. He was wearing a bandanna that day, so I don't know if maybe he just didn't like that idea of the bandanna. Who knows, dogs can be weird. I wish they could talk haha. The lady who owned the dog even found it bizarre since, according to her, the dog is well socialized.

I think this happened the second time we were there, and we've been back 3 or so times since without a problem. Since you can easily get kicked out, most owners, if not all the owners, keep a close eye on there dogs cause they value being able to go to the park and wear their dog out for the evening. That's the best part to me. A tried dog is a good dog.

Long story short, if you want to avoid the chance of a possible conflict, avoid the dog park at all costs. There is no guarantee that there won't be an issue.

Sorry for the story, but you asked for experiences :)
 

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Very sorry what happened to Nygel, the lab mix owner makes my blood boil, has a dog reactive pet and lets it off lead, people like that should not own dogs if they can't answer that question themselves.

Personally speaking, I think controlled exposure to other dogs and people is worth the fairly low risk of serious infection. Put it this way, it is far easier to treat common conditions like conjunctivitis, kennel cough than it is to treat the psychological conditions of fear/aggression/protectiveness that can come by hiding the puppy away while his mind if most fertile. When I say controlled, I mean use your judgement, only allow approaches on other dogs either on lead or where you can talk to the owner first. I do not mean be wary as that would likely result in your puppy picking up on your attitude and adopting a similar frame of mind. Just be calm and in control of every situation. If another dog approaches on or off lead then make a judgement call.

If you get into a situation where you have a dominant dog approaching, stand tall and position yourself between the approaching dog and your puppy. Stare it away resolutely. It will get the message.

Not sure if you have something similar in the USA, but often the best approach is to join in with organized countryside dog walks. Get to know the owners, speak to them and observe the dogs before you let puppy out of the car. Obviously you can not exercise a puppy like you can an adult so even if you spend 15 minutes on a short stroll the controlled exposure to adult dogs will work wonders for his confidence.
I agree with you with reference to "exposure to health issues" and note that I used to get my guys vaccinated against kennel cough considering that my boys are out at training classes & shows. That was until one of my boys picked up kennel cough & a bad case at that. We treated with the normal antibiotics (which cost less than the vaccination). I no longer vaccinate for kennel cough & regular vaccinations are done every 3rd year.

I must add that I have 3 intact male goldens - 3 1/2 , 3 & 1. My boys are co-owned with the breeder and can be used in her very careful breeding program. I would not take an older, intact male into a dog park & actually understand that many dog parks have regulations against this.

My dogs get regular exposure to other dogs/people/situations as they travel everywhere with me. Not only to training or shows but we regularly go shopping or walks downtown. As I have 3 boys, they each get their turn. For instance, tomorrow I am attending an art fest in the morning & Nygel will go with me, an auction sale in the afternoon & Thai will attend and then on Monday, Razz is off to Ottawa with his breeder to get his CERF (eye testing) completed. Razz will be with 4 other goldens.
 

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I'm a fan of the. If its a good park. I'm lucky to have a very nice one by my house. All the owners are very attentive and I have not seen any problems at all. I was surprised because I heard so many bad things about dog parks on this forum. I think it just depends on the park. :)
 

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I didn't start taking Ace to the dog park until about 3 weeks ago, which was about two weeks after his last vaccination. I'm lucky in the sense that I live in one of the smallest provinces in Canada, so the small population has meant fewer people frequent the dog park. I go with my brother who has been taking his dog Spike down since he adopted him about two years ago, and it's usually the same people who go regularly, with a few stragglers who either decide they like it and come back (like me) or decide it's not for them/their dog and are never seen again. So far, most of the dogs who go down are well behaved and very obedient and stop when their owner tells them if they get a little too wild.

Ace loves it down there, and when another dog starts picking on him too much Spike comes to the rescue. It's quite comical to see, actually!
 

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A friend of mine took his dog to a dog park the dog is 1 year old it came home with kennal cough he had to take it to the vet. to be treated.
He again took it to a dog park it got into a BIG fight with a pack of dogs there and its tong turned purple the findly brok up the fight and that was it he told me NO MORE DOG PARKS.
Dog parks are just a accident waiting to happen.
 

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Jill -- Maisie's "Mom"
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I started taking Maisie to our local dog park when she reached 4+ months old. Our park requires a permit for each dog and an annual fee, so dogs are licensed and vaccinated. Still, there is the risk of dog altercations and I have observed serveral in the few weeks I've been going with Maisie. I choose to take the risk of going with her because since we live in a city, it's her only opportunity to run off leash routinely. It's an excellent facility with separate water access (which we haven't used yet). I try to walk toward the park with other owners and dogs, having interactions with them on the way, so I can gauge how the dogs will behave when they're off-leash; one day, I didn't like the growly behavior of a pit bull mix and we waited to enter the dog park until he'd left. When entering the dog park, I'm careful to wait so that only we are in the fenced entry section since sometimes strange dogs on leash will behave aggressively in an enclosed area. I remove Maisie's harness quickly so that another dog doesn't accidently catch it while playing. While there, I closely monitor the behavior of the dogs and their owners. I stay close to where Maisie is dashing and darting about. If I see her getting over-tired or over-stimulated, I put her back on leash for a while. If there's a dog whose behavior seems iffy, I leave (or don't enter the park until that dog has left). If an owner is negligent or a dog is overly aggressive, I notify a park ranger. So far, so good...
 

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Shandy522
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When Shandy was younger, we'd bring her to puppy socials around the area so that she could get off-leash and socialize with other dogs. Now that she's older, we recently joined a private off-leash dog park, similar to what JDK described. We did try out the local dog parks and it was fine, but got a bit crowded and wasn't really to our liking. I think everyone has different experiences but would suggest going to the dog park beforehand to observe the types of dogs there and the environment to see if you'd like to bring your pup the next time around. We are really pleased with the park we joined and would recommend it to anyone in the area! My husband is actually there with Shandy right now :)
 

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there are no dog parks around her, but we've got just about 1200 acres of playground for Pumba, we have a few family members who live in town too that bring their dogs out regularly and they all have a blast running around together :)
 

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Not knowing any better at the time, I took my 3 month old pup to a dogpark, it did not turn out well. She got mobbed by a dogwalkers pack of dogs that came up over a rise, she was not hurt physically, but seriously, she could have ended up dead, and I will never forget her screaming for her life. She is over three years old now and generally avoids new dogs, or is very submissive even to the smallest of dogs,should she have the courage to meet them. Even now a chihuahua will send her running if it growls at her.
Your choice to make but what happens to your pup now can and will very likely have a lifelong effect.Dogparks can be great fun for dogs but there is always a risk of running into a wayward dog or an uncontrolling owner.
EXACTLY what happened with Flora, except I waited until she was 4 months. She was frequently mobbed by large dogs and it scared the dickens out of her (i.e. she screamed like a blooded pig and ran for the hills). Only after the damage was done did dunce head me finally realize that taking Flora to the dog park was not a good idea. She behaves exactly like your dog now - very avoidant and overly submissive around all dogs. This dog park was a 50 acre fenced in area that required people to pay a fee for a yearly permit - and it was frequently monitored by cops. So even nice, private dog parks can still present a dangerous situation to your puppy.

I'd wait until your pup was older, but that's just my experience.
 
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