Dog Park Vent

Elly_NJMay 19, 2010

I have been bringing my Wilbur to a local dog park. I usually go at 5pm, and I know the owners and dogs.

Wilbur is well trained and gentle. He is exuberant, careful and appropriate with other dogs. He readily rolls when appropriate and never tries to dominate another dog. The few times he's had a run-in with another dog, he does not defend himself; he lays passive if he is attacked.

I went early today, and there was a Brittany across the park (a good football field in size) with another larger dog. Wilbur came in and stood and peered at the dogs; the Brittany came forward, and Wilbur tried to read him. He looked friendly, so they both ran to each other, Wilbur doing his rocking horse puppy run.

The Brittany attacked him, snarling and growling, stood over Wilbur, and got him by the throat. I tried to push him off, fell, and he went again for Wilbur (who was larger than the Brittany). The owner, from across the field, called his dog, but I had to finally stand between them.

I walked away, planning to leave. The owner (an older man) called that he was leaving. I had Wilbur leashed by then, and waited; the Brittany again charged, and by then I had a spray bottle of water, which I squirted in his face, and that deterred him, but he kept coming back.

Here is the conversation I had with his owner when he finally approached. He made no attempt to leash his dog, and had no conrtol over the dog by command.

Stupid Pet Owner: How old is your dog?

Me: 15 months

SPO: Oh, that's why. He's young. (Still has not leashed his dog. I am standing in front of Wilbur) I'm leaving.

Me: Your dog attacked my dog.

SPO: No, that's how dogs communicate.

Me: Your dog attacked my dog. That's not communication; that's aggression.

SPO: No, that's how they interact.

Me: I train dogs; I know how they are supposed to behave.

SPO: Did he hurt your dog? How can he hurt him? He's smaller than him!

I started to walk away, not wanting to have a conversation anymore. He started abusing me, cursing me, telling me that if I unleashed my dog, there would not have been a problem.

Me: He was unleashed; your dog attacked him.

He cursed me some more; I cursed back and walked away.


What is up with that kind of stupidity?

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My dog park has two areas. One is for dogs 30 pounds and under. Does yours , or are dogs of all sizes together? This makes me question the parks. My dog loves to go there and is usually one of the biggest ones there since he weighs 25 pounds, but I still get very nervous about a certain pit bull puppy. This guy was out of line and should be reported. This is one reason I was thinking of a companion pet for my dog..He could run all day in his own yard and I wouldn't have to worry.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 1:46AM
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Some people are just ignorant. I have had several bad park experiences, so I always check out who's there before I go in. If I don't like what I see, I go to the small dog side since there's usually nobody in there.

One guy I see alot has 3 bully type dogs. One of them and one of mine did not play well together, although his dog never seems to have issues with other dogs in the park. The owner is very responsible, and when he sees me he always offers to take his dogs to the empty small dog side.

One time a couple brought in an aggressive HUGE greyhound. They walked him on his leash to the middle of the park, put a muzzle on him, and let him go. He charged towards all of the other dogs, they took off, and a scary chase ensued. You could see him snapping his jaws inside the muzzle. We all told the owners to get out of the park. They were quite defensive, but did leave. We then reported them and I have not seen them in the park since.

There have been a few other incidents with irresponsible owners, but the regulars are not afraid to confront them and ask them to leave.

I also see irresponsibility in owners of small dogs. They bring them in the big dog side, because their dog "is not afraid of big dogs and likes to play with them." The problem is, a small running dog can look like prey, and it's especially dangerous if 2 or more dogs "pack up" and chase the little one. No matter HOW great a dog is, I firmly believe that the pack mentality can take over, and bad things can happen.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 9:19AM
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These dog bark stories make me think that I would NEVER go to a dog park ... thank goodness I have my own land.

There are always stupid dog/pet owners out there who don't have a clue. I would never risk my pets ....

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 1:06PM
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I'm re-thinking about taking my little mutt there. Aside from fights, I don't know what diseases the other dogs might be carrying.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 3:06PM
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Ahhhh SPO and the dog park. The SPO will never admit to his dog being a problem or having caused an issue. If you see the person and his dog next visit just go elsewhere. I have had dog walkers think they own the dog park and even have called the rangers on dog owners who allow their pets to be too aggressive - they have been summarily kicked out of the park. There is only so much you can do in a situation like this. It is best to avoid people like this. Sorry you had a negative experience. I love our dog park - it is unfenced and that forces dog owners to be more on top of their dogs behavior mostly for fear they will take off. The off shoot is that there are rarely any fights.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 6:22PM
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We have several dog parks in the city and the few SPOs that show up with their dogs that have not been taught proper socialization with other canines can ruin it for everyone else. Most people at the park are decent and caring pet owners, but it only takes one SPO to ruin an entire trip to the park.

I wonder how many rural folk know how much we city folk would be willing to pay to go to a private dog park, with some decent rule enforcement and a strict code of conduct?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 6:28PM
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I feel your anger ! I would be LIVID . My dog was almost attacked by a huge dog once --- the huge dog's owner had to tackle his dog on the ground to catch him . My poor dog was terrified. I was PO'd to say the least. There is a sign at the entrance that says "if your dog has a tendancy to chase prey - keep it leashed due to the small dogs that are here " . Elly ... if there is anyone you can complain to - please file a complaint .

(((((((( Elly & Wilbur ))))))

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 10:48PM
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"if your dog has a tendancy to chase prey - keep it leashed due to the small dogs that are here "

If Elly's situation wasn't bad enough, sounds like 'toomuchglass' has a dog park actually RUN by the SPOs! Leashed dogs should NEVER be in dog parks. Talk about creating more issues!

I don't do dog parks at all. Used to, and nothing bad happened, but I could see it coming. If you don't have any options except a dog park, go in the early morning (sunrise) before the unsocialized dogs with SPOs are up and about. And never ever go on nice days in spring and fall. All the dog owners who have done zip for training and whose dogs can't read other dog's body language will be there enjoying the weather while they're dogs create havoc.

To the poster who mentioned an 'aggressive' greyhound - that was more likely prey drive that you witnessed. Big difference between the two, and I can understand the confusion.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 8:44AM
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Prey drive that required a basket muzzle - I call that aggressive. Racing greyhounds are bred to chase and kill small, fast running animals. I can guarantee that had he not had a muzzle, he would have grabbed one of the dogs, and not to play with it. There are other greyhounds that come to the park that are absolutely fine. They chase and run, but this one was different.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 11:56AM
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He may have been a recently "rescued" ex-racing greyhound that hadn't lost the training to chase.

It takes a while, but his new owners should not have turned him loose because it just keeps the chase/catch conditioning strong.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 12:20PM
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I had a sweet greyhound once, but we didn't have a doggie park then. We took her running with other greys and always muzzled her. She would growl and look aggressive while running because she thought she was back at the track. Off muzzle, she wouldn't hurt a fly. I have seen greys next door in the big doggie park and they seem integrated in the mix. I don't want to seem really stupid, but what is SPO? I have not a clue.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 2:58PM
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Aggression isn't the same as prey drive Weed. Prey drive is instinctual - urge to chase- aggression is situational and usually results from fear and extremely unsocialized dogs. Greyhounds are very well socialized, (unlike most house dogs which are raised alone), so it was not aggression, though I do understand the confusion on that. Dogs can be aggressive (confrontational/want to fight) and not have particularly high prey drive. Dogs can have high prey drive (urge to chase/catch small creatures) and not be aggressive. Basket muzzles are appropriate for greyhounds due to their prey drive and the owners knew the dog was a risk because of that so they muzzled him. That's about all they did right :)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 3:06PM
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OK, I understand your clarification now. Regardless, prey drive means "I'll catch it and kill it" to me. My beagle is tiny, 11" at the withers, and is not aggressive in the least. She does have a very strong prey drive, and has caught and killed 4 full grown rabbits in my yard. So if 'aggressive' or 'prey drive' end up with the same result.... injured or dead 'prey', what is the difference?

SPO = Stupid Pet Owners.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 8:31PM
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Thanks..I just could not figure that one out.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 2:29AM
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To those who study dog behaviour prey drive is related to the instinct to hunt or chase other species - small mammals or birds, but not other dogs - and aggression usually refers to how the dog relates to other dogs (sometimes to humans). Most strong prey drive dogs will not hunt and chase their own species unless they are poorly socialized and don't recognize the other is actually a dog. I have a Springer with a strong prey drive but she is very submissive to other dogs. Still I might be wary of her being around a small dog in a situation when she could chase it and mistake it for prey (say, only seeing it from afar and giving chase) only because once I heard about a well-socialized golden retriever that shook and killed a little white lap dog that it pounced on in a parking lot. The whole thing seemed to be a 'mistake' in the sense that the golden was not dog aggressive but mistook the other dog for prey (rabbit, maybe!). Of course the result of the mistake is tragic however we explain it.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 11:13PM
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