Posts tagged with ‘Bark Park’

Over Crowded Dog Parks and Humping

Today I took Sam and Helo to a dog park we’d never been to before for a husky get together (funny, I don’t actually have any huskies and have no intent on getting one, yet I joined the group haha). The initial location for the event ended up being changed because the park was so compacted with dogs that fights were just waiting to break out (one person from the group actually said she witnessed four fights in the first ten minutes of arriving at the park), so we went to a different park hoping it would be less crowded and safer. I feel like dog fights are more likely to occur in over crowded dog parks because there’s a lot of stress and tension between the dogs. The dogs have nowhere to go, so they’re essentially forced to interact with other dogs.

Turns out, the other park was pretty crowded too with at least 15-20 dogs (or more), but at least it was a larger park so there was actually room for the dogs to move around and find a quiet place if they felt they needed to. I don’t like my dogs to ever feel crowded or confined. The park doesn’t require registration so anyone can go into the park with their dog. There were a lot of intact male dogs, which always makes me nervous. At my park, it has never ended well with multiple intact males together. We haven’t had any nasty fights, but dogs have had to be separated or removed from the park to prevent any terrible incidents.

Needless to say, there was a lot of humping going on in the park. I don’t know about other people’s dogs, but neither of my dogs will tolerate another dog humping them. Helo doesn’t like it, and Sam especially doesn’t like it. She will whip around and nip a dog for humping (or even preparing to hump) in a split second, and I’m always afraid that the other dog might retaliate. Sam is not very big. She only weighs 30lbs and most of the dogs that have tried to hump her are well over 50lbs and could easily outmatch her if they really wanted to do any damage.

My point is, humping can lead to dog fights and I don’t think people should allow it to happen. At my normal park, everyone is pretty good about quickly stopping the behavior (sometimes before it even begins, if you know the signs well enough), but it can be difficult to keep track in over crowded dog parks like the ones we visited today. There were a few dogs that were mounting and going at it for several minutes with no owner stepping in to stop the behavior. Thankfully the dogs who were being humped didn’t seem to mind, but I’m glad that none of those dogs tried to hump Sam. Thankfully her new suitor, Loki, kept a watchful eye on her, LOL! ;)

That dog cracks me up. I love him! He followed Sammy around the park the entire time, and didn’t even care about the other dogs in the park. He only had eyes for Sammy (I can’t say that the feeling is mutual, but it’s hysterical watching Loki trying to court Sammy because he can actually be kind of gentlemanly about it). It is the funniest thing ever!

Yes… I realize I just anthropomorphized the relationship between Sam and Loki, but don’t hate. It’s comical!

And on a side note…

Helo handled himself amazingly at the dog park today. Not only was this a new park that we had never been to, with dogs that we’ve never met… but it was also busy and over crowded. I would have expected him to be a little nervous and not sure what to do with himself, as he sometimes gets, but he got out there and actually interacted with other dogs and left Sam alone! It was fantastic! I’m glad he stayed out of trouble and found some nice dogs to play with. He was off doing his own thing that I didn’t even get any pictures of him at the park!

Yay, we finally get to go to the dog park!

My dogs are going nuts. I took Sam herding yesterday and she was so hyped up and full of energy that she was actually biting the livestock this time. She tackled one of the goats and sent it tumbling and crying out. I was a little frustrated because I don’t want the goats to get hurt. I’m wondering if it was a bad idea to bring her after she’s been cooped up for an entire month!

Anyway, I finally get to go to the dog park and I know the dogs are pretty excited. This will be out first visit since the renovations so I’m eager to check it out. I’ll hopefully get some good pictures to share once I get the opportunity to off load them to the computer. I just haven’t had the time to work on pictures lately since I’m always so tired after work and on my days off!

The new dog park looks amazing!

I didn’t get to go to the park this past Monday but I plan on going this upcoming Monday and I can’t wait! I love the new powder coated fencing. And it’s much taller than the old wooden fence we used to have.

A Weekend with the Dogs

Sam and Helo got to the go to the beach on Friday, and to the dog park on Sunday. We met an adorable Golden Retriever puppy, and a 17 year old Cocker Spanial/Daschund mix who had such a puppy-like personality. The dogs got to see their pals Piper the German Shepherd, Tucker the Golden Retriever, Jack and Buddy the Labradors, Tailgate the Border Collie, Bailey the German Shepherd, and Sally the Collie. Sunny, a Lab/Shepherd mix, came to the park for the first time.

When the man and daughter first entered the park, we were all looking to see if we recognized their dog. Since we didn’t, we watched to make sure all the dogs did okay greeting the new dog. Sometimes it can be a little awkward for new people to go the dog park where other people have already formed a sort of friendship. We’re always happy to see new people at the park, and for the most part I think we come off as a pretty friendly bunch to newcomers. Eventually Jack and Buddy’s owner got up and went to greet the man and his daughter. He had to get Buddy’s attention because their dog Sunny clearly needed some space. 

We learned that Sunny was a rescue and wasn’t very socialized with other dogs. She seemed to display some dominant behavior at first, but eventually she settled down and started playing with Tucker the Golden Retriever. Sunny plays a little rough and is very vocal when she plays, so at first it sounds kind of intimidating. Most of the regulars at the dog park are familiar with dog behavior and didn’t step in while Sunny laid on top of little Tucker. There was no harm being done, and Tucker kept going back for more. He was having fun. 

I talked with Sunny’s owners (the man and his daughter). I could tell they weren’t comfortable when they first came into the park. I’m not sure if they were worried about Sunny’s behavior or worried about how other people would feel about Sunny’s behavior. I told him that it seemed like the biggest thing with Sunny is her growl. She’s vocal when she plays, and that scares people sometimes. I didn’t understand how it felt to be that person until Helo came around. He can get pretty vocal sometimes, and people are often frightened by his growling and showing of the teeth during play. People think he’s fighting, but what they don’t know is that Helo is the biggest wimp in the park.

I think Sunny would stick up for herself if it came to that, but for the most part she did pretty good for her first time at the park. I hope to see her again. I think the more she gets out there, the better she’ll do with the dogs. If she was aggressive, she would have bit several dogs today. She had more than one opportunity, but she chose not to. That tells me she was just uncertain about her surroundings when she first came into the park. Who wouldn’t be worried about a bunch of strange dogs running up to you from out of nowhere?

Sometime dogs just need a little bit of time and space to get comfortable.

Bark Park Pals

We had a great time at the dog park yesterday with our pals Layla, Lyra, Buddy, Jack, and Sally! We also go to see Vincent, Gus, and Lady, too. I’m really happy that I’ve started going back to the bark park, and I hope I can continue to keep going in the evenings. Lately I have been spending at least 2-4 hours at the park (usually around 3PM-4PM until sunset, which is about 7PM). Yesterday we got there almost an hour early and had the park all to ourselves. 

It was good for Helo to see Sam and Motley playing with the other dogs. Helo has been showing signs of fear when certain dogs become overwhelming. He’ll run away and give clear warnings for the other dogs to leave him alone. But yesterday went really good, and he actually played with the Leera and Sally without getting freaked out!

We’ve been doing our training routine we started a couple of months ago. I don’t have a professional trainer teaching us the ropes, and since there’s no class for me to go to every week, I still want Helo to get out and socialize in different settings. So what we do is go to different stores and spend some time working on his commands. Usually we go to Petco and Bass Pro in Hampton before we take the interstate towards Newport News. Then we go to Care-A-Lot for a little while, and then to Petsmart. There’s another  Petco over in that area that we sometimes stop off at if I’m not in a rush to go home. 

It really tires him out, but it’s a good experience for him. Plus, the more tired he is, the better behaved he is! I want him to be very calm and social in public, and accepting of strangers and new dogs. Sometimes he still barks at unfamiliar dogs, but he’s starting to get more comfortable and soon I don’t think he’ll do it very often.

Helo doesn’t really play like a “normal” puppy. We met an adorable six month old Pit Bull named Penny. She was white with a few brindle patches on her body (very cute). She wanted nothing more than to bat at Helo’s face and play with him, but he wasn’t comfortable with her behavior. He gets a little snappy when dogs want to jump on him or bat at him with their paws. That’s just not the kind of behavior he does in public with other dogs, which is a good thing I guess. Isn’t that what I wanted? For him to control himself around other dogs and not act like a lunatic?

I guess I got what I wanted, but his detachment to puppy play society is also a bit unnerving. I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about, but I’d like for him to be more playful when he DOES get to meet new puppies in public. He has just started to romp around with Sally and Leera at the dog park, so hopefully the more comfortable he gets with being knocked down and pushed around, the more likely he’ll accept strange dogs doing this behavior.

I really regret my actions, or lack of, in these last couple of months. I’m afraid Helo has missed out on a very important part of learning as a puppy. For nearly two months straight, we didn’t go anywhere. We just stopped. I was having a difficult time personally, and my dogs got the short end of the stick.

Anyway, Lyra is our new Springer Spaniel friend. She is so sweet, and only six months old! She starts puppy class at Petsmart next Saturday with the trainer I blogged about previously — the one who wanted to insinuate that by using a prong collar on my dogs, I’m being abusive and inhumane. I did say that I didn’t like this trainer ever since then, but really I don’t have a problem with her at all. I respect the opinions of others. Even my good friend Christine refuses to use prong collars. I’m okay with that. I honestly wouldn’t use a prong collar for her dog, Layla, because she knows more than anyone else what that dog has been through and how far along she’s come since she was rescued.

Prong collars aren’t for everyone, or every dog. As a personal preference, I use them. But I also use other tools, too. I’m not just stuck on using prong collars because I want to hurt my dogs or instill fear in them (which does NOT occur when we use a prong collar, as everyone seems to wrongfully assume). I use EasyWalk Harnesses and GentleLeader head collars, too. Personally, I dislike the EasyWalk Harness, but I recommend them all of the time! For some people and some dogs, it’s a very effective tool.

I used to use one for Sammy. I’ve never used a head collar on her, and I don’t think I ever will. There’s just something about having full control over a dog’s head that makes me uncomfortable. For some dogs, I don’t think it’s a good tool to use because neck or head injuries CAN and DO occur (sometimes this is because the tool is not used correctly or because the owner is not correcting or training their dog with it).

For dogs like Helo, I think a head collar is appropriate if he is a puller — fortunately, he’s not a bad puller. However, he’s not exactly in his teens yet and will eventually start testing my authority to see what he can get away with (I am patiently waiting for that day to come).

Anyway, I’m getting a little off track. Lyra is starting puppy class. I’d love to take puppy class with her, because it would be cool to know someone in the class. I just don’t think Petsmart training is all that good, and I don’t want to pay $109 for Petsmart training, when I can do the same, or better training on my own!

I don’t think ALL pet store training programs are bad. It really just depends on the trainer. I’ve just heard so many stories from people who simply didn’t like training at Petsmart, and called it a “joke.” It’s probably because the trainer was not very good. I was considering signing up for the class that Lyra is in, if it isn’t too late, but the only reason I would go is because it’s a good social experience for the puppies and Helo really needs an extra boost on socialization since he missed out on a lot these last two months…

I feel like Petsmart, Petco, and Care-A-Lot training is a “starting point” to training. You’ll learn basic commands and get a general idea on how to communicate with your dog. It’s a remarkable bonding experience when you really get into training. Pet store training programs kind of open the door to training for some people, like Piper’s mom for example. She took classes at Care-A-Lot (Piper was always at the top of the class), and now she’s doing other training programs — Piper is even going into herding, now! 

Helo and I may go in next Saturday to Petsmart to do our “routine” around the store and watch Leera’s class for a little while from the side. Leera’s mom seems impressed by the trainer, which is VERY important — and I have no doubt that it will be a great experience for she and Lyra. Lya is a smart girl, and I seriously bet that she’ll be top of her class! Can’t wait!!!

Giant Dogs at the Park (Part 1) →


I personally don’t like them. I’ve been to two different ones, and I didn’t enjoy the experience. I guess because I have big dogs and it’s stressful because the two I’ve visited did not have separate spaces for big and little dogs. I didn’t let my guys off-leash because there were a bunch of tiny little terriers running around and all I could think about was how my dogs could hurt them just by running over them, not through any aggression or acting out or anything. So I don’t take my dogs. I take them for walks in regular parks, I take them to Petsmart on-leash, I take them to the beach when it’s warm out, I take them to my brother’s house to play with his rottweiler or my in-laws’ to play with their German Shepherd.

Maybe I’m being paranoid? I don’t know. But I feel like dog parks would be a bad idea for my guys. My brother feels the same way. Just because of people’s fears over rottweilers, he doesn’t take her. God forbid anything went wrong, even if it wasn’t his dog, Lyla’s, fault, she would probably take the fall for it. My in-laws don’t take their German Shepherd either, but I know people with little dogs who swear by dog parks. 

So do you take your dogs to dog parks? Would you do the same if you had a giant (110lb +) breed, or a breed with a “reputation” like a pit or a doberman or something? 

It can be difficult for some breeds to fit in. I think dog parks are great, but only if you can find one that suits you. There are two bark parks in my location, and I only go to one because I’m comfortable there. The other park is more popular, but the people were snobby and Sammy was bullied by a Labrador Retriever mix and a Pit Bull. I love all dogs, and I’m not biased of different breeds based on their reputations. Every dog is an incredible dog. Some are just not properly bred or socialized. 

When Sam was being bullied, she went and hid under a wooden bench (something she has never had to do). That, to me, was a sign of distress. The two female dogs at the park were not going to give up, and had cornered her on both sides of the bench. This could easily turn into a bad situation, and the owners of the other dogs weren’t doing anything to correct their dogs. This could have turned ugly in no time — and if my dog had lashed out in her defense, they would have blamed her for being aggressive rather than admit that their dogs wouldn’t back off. Dogs will be dogs, but this behavior was unnecessary. So I shooed the other dogs and guided Sammy out of the park. I haven’t been back since.

I felt bad for leaving because I know those people probably gossiped about me. I really wouldn’t be surprised if they thought I was one of those dog owners who get really angry when other dogs play too rough — I can assure you I don’t. Dogs play rough, and I’m perfectly fine with that. Heck, my dogs play rough all of the time! Haven’t you seen some of the pictures and videos I’ve posted? If you didn’t know they were just playing, you’d think they were trying to kill each other!

My dogs are 30lbs, 40lbs, and the puppy is not quite 15lbs yet (we’re expecting him to be at least 60lbs). I’m not afraid of them getting trampled by larger dogs. If they don’t like getting stepped on, they’ll learn to move out of the way. I know serious injuries can occur just from playing. I know a woman whose Great Pyrenees puppy seriously injured his leg just from playing in the backyard! I guess I am just willing to take that chance. As long as you’re observing your dogs, they should be fine. If you think the playing is getting too rough for your own comfort, then call them over to you and have them relax a little. 

Here is an old video of Sammy at the dog park with two Great Danes. The black and white male is about a year or so old, and Sammy loved playing with him! There’s also a little Jack Russell who had a blast, too. It’s not the dogs’ fault for being so large — they should still be able to enjoy the fun as much as any other dog! And here is a video of a black German Shepherd putting my Aussie’s entire head in his mouth! He couldn’t get Sammy to play with him so he tried to play with Motley, and she’s extremely passive with other dogs. As a result, she gets pushed around and picked on all of the time.

And finally, this video shows a baby Dachshund playing with dogs of all sizes. Peanut was going to the park as soon as he was able to! Sometimes he gets trampled and yelps, and other times he does just fine. He’s learned some nifty tricks how to stay out of the way. Big dog owners have the same fear as little dog owners. Sometimes you just have to find the right dog park with people who understand. If Peanut’s mom had been too afraid to bring him to the park, he would have never had the opportunity to have so much fun with all of our dogs! 

Then there are those of us who have it the easiest — the medium dog owners. Our dogs can fit well with big or small. The only worries that medium dog owners have to worry about are breed reputations. Some people can be really mean at the park if they don’t like your dog. Kuma was an amazingly fun and friendly Pit Bull who came to the park. This video shows he and Sammy racing each other. If you notice the comment posted below the video, someone at the park was racist of both the dog and his family. And if you really pay attention in the video, you’ll see my dog nip at him multiple times and he doesn’t nip back a single time! How could anyone have a problem with that sweet baby?!

Speaking of nipping, a lot of people don’t like Australian Cattle Dogs because of their tendency to nip at other dogs and herd them. Some cattle dogs that I’ve met have been bullies. Fortunately mine is not a bully and does fairly well playing with other dogs. She knows when to leave a dog alone. The two blue heelers in this video have a much stronger drive than Sammy and are more likely to herd other dogs or act as a referee — particularly the heeler with less black.

The Pit Bull in this video is one of my favorites — Cole is a big sweet pup when he isn’t trying to hump Sammy! The fluffier German Shepherd in the video (not the darker, thinner one running all over the place) is one of the park bullies. She is a good dog, but likes to jump in and act big and bad around the other dogs when they’re trying to play. Some people get really offended by her behavior, but most of the people at this park are pretty understanding and don’t mind it as long as she isn’t being aggressive.

(continue to part two)

(via ihavelotsofdogs-deactivated2013)

People at the Dog Park


when you come to the park you should automatically assume other dogs might come up to you and say hello.. well Einstein just went up to a guy sitting next to me and places his two front paws on his lap, he pushed my dog away and told him to get the hell off him. I called Einstein over and loudly/clearly told him to leave the old grump man alone he obviously doesn’t want to be bothered. what a dbag!

That person’s behavior was unjustifiable.

At the dog park, people can be more aggressive than the dogs. You never know how people are going to react to different situations. A good rule of thumb is to expect the unexpected. Never go to a dog park if you don’t expect other dogs to jump on you. You have to realize that they are excited, and not all of them have learned their manners yet. It’s okay to tell a dog “off” and block him from jumping on you in the first place, but it’s not appropriate to yell at someone’s dog at the park.

I have a friend who was knocked on her ass twice in less than 10 minutes by a Golden Retriever puppy who didn’t know when to put his breaks on. She didn’t like being bulldozed by a monster of a puppy, but she didn’t yell at him. He was so excited, nervous, and bumping into everyone and everything. I’m pretty sure she may have resulted in a couple of bruises on her backside, but things like that DO happen at to the dog park. Whether they are our fur-kids or not, they are still animals who behave in a way that is unlike human beings. Dogs will be dogs! 

Don’t go to the park if you don’t like other people’s dogs. Everyone should understand that dogs have their own ways of working things out, and establishing a place among one another. Puppies are going to jump. That’s just a fact. They are also going to try playing with other dogs who might not be interested in playing. Don’t be afraid that your dog is being annoying. He has to learn how to communicate with other dogs, and will never do so if he is too sheltered.

What I’ve noticed at my dog park are two common fears of pet owners. 1.) My puppy is too obnoxious and annoying everyone, and 2.) My puppy is being attacked!!! In most cases, the “attacker” is not really attacking your puppy, but instead is “correcting” him with a nip. This is normal behavior. Dogs are going to do this to communicate what is okay, and what is not okay. Puppies tend to test their limits to see what they can get away with. Some dogs will let them get away with more than others, it all depends on the individual dog.

It’s natural to be worried about your dog at the park. Dogs are loyal companions who trust us to look after them. But sometimes you have to let your dog endure different experiences throughout his whole life. Just keep a close eye on your dog. Eventually (if you haven’t already) you’ll begin to understand your dog’s behavior and have a pretty good idea of what your dog likes and dislikes. With this knowledge, you can monitor the situation and determine if he’s comfortable or not.

Of course, there are times where it is necessary for the dog owners to step in. Each dog owner at the park must be responsible for their dogs. It is never appropriate to yell at dogs — especially other people’s dogs! If your dog jumps on someone, use whatever verbal command you use to interrupt the behavior (such as “off” or “down”). This is out of consideration! Don’t be afraid to push a dog off and tell him “no” if he jumps on you. Just don’t be rude about it.

When a dog is nipping or biting to be annoying, rather than to correct, the owner should interrupt the behavior. If he or she allows the behavior to persist, then they shouldn’t complain when another dog finally puts a stop to the constant bullying in their own way.

If some dogs aren’t getting a long inside the dog park or are trying to physically harm each other, try taking turns sitting outside of the park instead of leaving. One day at my dog’s park there were two friendly intact males who reacted aggressively through the fence towards one another. The owners decided to take turns letting their dogs play inside the park. For several minutes at a time, the Vizsla was given the chance to play with the other dogs, and then he swapped places with the Pit Bull who had been patiently waiting on the other side of the fence.

(Source: its-meee-emilyyy)