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The Dog Park - Can We Do It?


Guest LauraB
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I'm so glad I found this forum. Thanks in advance.

We live back in the woods, bordering on 300 acres of woods with trails. (not ours but ok to walk) We thought we could fence in an area for our new grey, Dillard, but so far it's way too expense so we walk him in the woods and on the country road. We started training and he walks beautifully on a lead even when cars come by. He needs to run off lead, which he has done twice at a cage free kennel. There is a dog park in the next town, on an island and fenced but I am scared. Will he be attacked? Will he jump all over other dogs? Will he jump in the lake? Will he come when it's time to go? He comes when he is called sometimes. Is this too big a risk?

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You're going to get a myriad of responses to this question. I don't have a yard so I do go to the dog park. I haven't had any problems. I do muzzle my dogs because Molly is somewhat competitive when she starts running (ironically she's only competitive with her brother Mason). There is supposed to be a small dog and a large dog side but people don't abide by that. Most people are lovely with well mannered dogs. They always ask about the muzzles and feel better when I tell them it's a safety thing because they can run so fast. I also get a TON of questions about Greyhounds and they get LOTS of attention which Molly LOVES!! :)

 

Molly and Mason don't run full out when there are other dogs there (I'm not sure why) and will really only run and play with each other-they're snobs like that! :)

 

It totally depends on the personality of your dog. I would recommend going at an off time (like not during a weekend) for the first few times until you get a feel for your dog. My dogs are BORING; they pee, poop, walk around and then lay down. Mostly, they don't do much. I can barely get them to run.

 

My first dog NEVER came when I called her--she ambled up when an hour after we got there. Eventually he'll tire out. You may want to bring treats and give him a treat when you first arrive before you take the leash off so he knows you have it. Call him at intervals and give him a treat. Eventually his recall will improve with the treats.

 

I hope this helps. I'm sure others will give you better advice.

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Guest jaws4evr

I would definitely work on his “recall” before going to the dog park. Even if it’s fenced, when it’s time to go then you want to be able to go :) Plus it’s important to control him if he gets too rowdy, or if you want to move him away from a group of dogs which may cause trouble, etc.

 

When doing recalls, it’s important to recall and then “release” back to play several times during an outing, so that not every time you call the dog it’s time to end the fun. Recall, treat/praise, then immediate release. This stops the “catch me if you can!” game from starting. Also practice reaching for taking hold of his collar independent of leashing him, which should stop him from dodging this. You can even attach/remove the leash as part of this practice :)

 

You could always visit the park with the dog on leash for the first couple of times until you get a better feel for it.

 

As far as the lake goes, if you’re in a warm climate (ie without a frozen lake!) he’ll probably love it. Our female tried to run “over” the river in her zoomy race-time at the park, but all she ended up doing was landing in the river and then immediately swimming back to shore with a surprised look on her face, hehe. She LOVES to lay down in the water now, and we’re in Canada so the water is very cold!

 

As far as if he’d be okay with the other dogs and general behavior, you know him best so you’re going to have to observe his behavior when meeting other dogs on leash and in other situations and make that decision for yourself.

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I do muzzle my dogs

 

I'm sure you know your dogs and the dogs they interact with, but just as a note for the original poster - it's generally a really bad idea to muzzle your hound in a situation like this, where the other dogs aren't muzzled. If your dog was attacked, he'd have no way to defend himself.

 

On the other hand, it's also really dangerous to have greyhounds in a dog park where other owners bring in small dogs. Even the most laid-back hound may chase a tiny, fuzzy, running dog, and they can seriously hurt it even without intending to. That's meant a death sentence for greyhounds in the past.

 

These are just a few of the (many) reasons that I wouldn't take my hounds to a dog park unless it was totally empty.

Edited by vjgrey

Valerie w/ Cash (CashforClunkers) & Lucy (Racing School Dropout)
Missing our gorgeous Miss
Diamond (Shorty's Diamond), sweet boy Gabe (Zared) and Holly (ByGollyItsHolly), who never made it home.

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I do dog parks but only when I can run my girls alone (but together - having problems expressing myself today) or with other greyhounds. One of mine is medium prey and the other one mimics her so other dogs are just more trouble than they're worth. Both of mine are muzzled (the law where I live and would probably muzzle anyhow due to the competitiveness issue). Recall is patchy. During the first ten/ fifteen minutes, none at all, but that's because they're running too fast to listen. Beyond that, usually it's ok, but really excellent treats help a lot.

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We go to the dog park, but very rarely. It's in another nice park, so if the situation at the dog park itself it's to my liking we just go for a walk elsewhere. My Joe can be grumbly with dogs bigger than he is (doofus!), and Brees will run right over shorter dogs. We'll go in if there's only a couple other dogs and they seem to be playing nicely. I won't take in both dogs by myself if any other dogs are there. I'm a believer in one dog per person at those places. We've had lots of fun at the dog park (Ever see a greyhound play with a bulldog? Cute!), but we've also had some run-ins that I learned from. So try it, but be really careful. Early Sunday morning can be a good time for privacy!

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It depends on your dog. Summit is not a dog park dog. He's not exactly competitive but he plays too rough. He also does not get along with all other dogs. While I don't expect my dogs to get along with every other dog they meet (that's kind of unfair because people don't get along with every other person they meet) he does have an aggressive streak toward certain dogs. Mostly I can guess which dogs, so at our old dog park I used to take him and control who he interacted with. But it was more of a big off leash trail than a park. So we'd go for an off leash walk and we'd bump into other people with their dogs. If I saw a husky approaching us I called him back to me and made him heel. Summit has extremely violent reactions to huskies and dogs with blue eyes. I have to be vigilant about that and also he has to have a good recall.

 

Kili I'm raising up from a puppy and I'm doing my best to get her playing with lots of other puppies and dogs of other sizes and breeds. I personally love having my dog play with other dogs and would love to be able to go to the dog park, so I'm hoping Kili will be a good dog park dog. Summit never will and I've just accepted that and moved on.

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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I used to love the dog parks, then came the day when my little boy showed me how fast he switched gears from PLAY to PREY mode. Nothing worse than realizing that your hound has stopped listening and the other dog owners around you just laughing that 'the dogs are having so much fun! '

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Guest kkaiser104

Teddi and I go to the local dog park and have a great time. He isn't overly competitive and doesn't really care about other dogs. He pretty much is just happy to be able to pee on EVERYTHING!!!

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I take Walter to the dog park but I watch him and the other dogs carefully. When he gets tired, he gets nippy and mean so that's usually the time to go. He also has no tolerance for being humped or puppies and will bark at them and push them away. The first half hour is him sniffing and pooping & peeing so there is very little recall when he is in sniff & mark mode.

 

My advice is go a few times during times where you may be alone and see how he does. Watch his body language when he is with other dogs, where are his ears, tail, hackles? Be observant and don't let other people tell you the dogs are "just having fun" because you can go from "fun" to "vet for emergency sutures" very quickly. I don't usually talk to other people when I'm there because I'm focused on Walter & who he is with/near and what's going on. I don't have a problem when another dog is jumping near/around him to push the other dog away because my dog's safety is priority.

 

I also have left the dog park if the other dogs energies are totally messed up - sometimes they are looking for a fight, they are too aggressive, too antsy, too anything is enough for me to leave.

 

Bottom line: work on recall (it can NEVER hurt), be observant and vigilant and don't be afraid to leave or stand up for your dog.

7218108076_e406044464_t.jpg 7004700518_27fa752995_t.jpg Walter (Windy Walker) and Ernie (PG Ernest) @WalterWallerson and IG: WalterandErnie 7150803233_d0700ccbdc_t.jpg 7004711314_ceba54665a_t.jpg

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You really have to know your dog. Has he spent time with small dogs? Has he had a chance to be with them when they run?How does he react? It took a while of watching my greyhounds around my families small dogs before I felt secure enough to go to the dog park and be comfortable that they didn't see them as prey. It only takes a second for a grey to grab it's prey, give it a shake and kill it.I've seen mine do it to rabbits and try with my friends cat.Luckily, he was on leash with the cat but it took 4 of us to get him to release it.Somebody twisted his skin under his armpit and made him scream,thats the only thing that worked.I do like to go to the dog park from time to time,most days are a lot of fun, and my greys do play with the other dogs.Sometimes one used to get a little nippy when running though, so if he got too rough he got timed out on leash until he calmed down.The one I own now is perfect with other dogs, even the little 2lb yorkie that some dummy thought was a good idea to put in with the large dogs.You have to be comfortable taking your dog there, if you are fearful your dog will sense it. Keep your dog on leash and just observe what it's like for a while.If you end up there on a day that the energy's not right and dogs are not getting along, just leave and go for a leash walk instead.People always put small dogs in with big dogs though, they just don't understand the danger.So if you have any doubts about how safe your dog is around them, don't take the chance.

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You might also want to check out any fenced ball fields near you. Be sure to walk your boy first to let him eliminate so he doesn't soil the field. I usually go early in the morning when nobody is around and so far have not been told I can't. Around here some fields are posted no dogs allowed and I don't use those. One of my hounds is very high prey drive and not always friendly with male dogs so I don't take her to the dog park.

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None of my greys have ever liked the dog park, except the lake access. Rex hated it and would stand by the double gates hoping someone would take him home. :rolleyes: Once in a great while Buck would chase a lab that was chasing a ball, but otherwise both just wanted to pee and poop on the edges. We pretty much quit going after Poodle was packed on.

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I have no problems with dog parks for some greyhounds, but it's not a good idea for all of them.

 

My real question is, why does he need to run off leash? As long as hes getting enough walks, he shouldn't need to run. That's not to say he wouldn't enjoy it, but it shouldn't be necessary.

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I have a greyhound, no fenced yard, and never go to the dog park. This "need" to run off leash is more of a strong desire. I don't necessarily trust other owners at dog parks to 1: pay attention to their dogs and their dogs' interactions 2: have already socialized their dogs to other dogs (many use dog parks to "teach their dog manners" which can be highly dangerous for them (if they pick on the wrong dog) and others (if they pick on the wrong dog who then becomes a target for others)) 3: actually be up to date and free of parasites and diseases AND pick up after their animals.

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I guess we are not going to the dog park in the near future. We have to work on training and see how he behaves near other dogs, which has only happened twice when we walked with a friend and her Lab. I m going to try and have "play dates" with a friend who has a sweet setter and a fence. Thanks for all the good advise.

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Just wanted to add my 2 cents on this topic. I take both of my dogs to dog parks all the time, not just for exercise, but for socialization. I love dog parks; however, there are a few things that I recommend before letting your guy off leash. Number one is prey drive and his manners around small dogs. If possible, find a park that is separated into designated areas for large and small dogs. If there is any chance that he may not be safe with a small dog, I would definitely muzzle. I also recommend muzzling if there are three or more greyhounds running together, as some can be competitive and nip). Valerie is correct, and my general rule about muzzles is that either every dog is muzzled or none at all. However, for greys who are higher prey, muzzles are a necessity. Try to do as much research as you can to find the right dog park- I've found a few websites that review dog parks and people are generally not afraid to comment. I've probably been to about a dozen different ones over the past few years- some where owners are careful and observant, some that are just a free for all and the owners are sitting there reading the newspaper. Find a park where the owners are generally responsible and watchful. Also, follow the "dog park etiquette" by letting him into the park in the proper way, never leaving him leashed in a group of unleashed dogs, and not allowing him to bully another dog (or vice versa). Constantly have your dog in your sights. A lot of people get scared and nervous on the topic of dog parks (Will they get hurt? Will they not get along with another dog? Will the play too rough?) But dogs are fairly good at communicating and regulating themselves. Dog parks can be a lot of fun if you take the necessary precautions.

Edited by a_daerr
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Guest karilynn

I'll chime in here, because I love the dog park. I was warned by several that dog parks and greyhounds are a big NO-NO. I'm glad that advice fell on deaf ears because I can't imagine not taking my boy there. THAT BEING SAID, the dog park is NOT for every greyhound. There are several things first and foremost that you need to be sure of.

 

1. Do you trust your hound? And have you had your hound long enough to be able to trust them? I would never recommend taking a brand new dog to the dog park because total chaos can happen and it could lead to a lot of trouble.

2. Does your hound have any type of prey drive? If so, NO dog park. The last thing you want is your dog mistaking some little white fluffy dog for a rabbit.

3. Is the park fenced? I would never take my boy to a dog park that isn't completely fenced in. And honestly, the only park we go to is the smallest one (6 acres) in the area. His recall is OK, but this particular park is mostly just grass and I can see him at all times.

4. Does he like other dogs? And this is obvious, but if he doesn't like other dogs, obviously the dog park is not a desirable place to go. Unless of course it is at an off time and few dogs are there and you are just going to run your hound, but even then, be careful.

 

My boy has no prey drive whatsoever and loves other dogs. He also loves people, which he gets to see plenty of. I have made friends at the dog park, too, and going there is fun for both of us. He has the time of his life at the dog park and that is really the most important thing. I wouldn't continue taking him if he hated it. The dog park has done wonders for him - he's way more socialized, he's so happy, he has lost a lot of his irrational fears, he gets a ton of exercise, he's learned how to play with other dogs, and he's learned manners with other dogs and people. I'm really glad I tried it!

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Thanks for all the good info. I think I need to find other greys in my area and see where they go or if there is a group. I called one play group and the leader said she never heard that greys can't be let off the lead in an unfenced area. Doggie Day care is terrific, but it's $25/per day and I can't stay and play.

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Guest maidmarcia

I take Licorice to the dog park all the time...in fact, we're just about to head out to it :D

 

I agree that there is a need for off leash zoomies, especially if one doesn't have a back yard (me!). In fact, I make sure that Licorice gets an off leash run every day and he certainly appreciates it.

 

As for the safety of dog parks -- I started taking Licorice to the dog park less than a month after I got him and he has always behaved like a perfect gentleman, even with smaller dogs. That being said, he does have a lower prey drive (we have two cats), so that is also possibly why he's good there. We're also interacted with over 6 different greys in the time we've been there and none have been muzzled or badly behaved.

 

Take your grey during a down time (mid afternoon up here) and see how he reacts. I wouldn't necessarily recommend going to the dog park and leaving him on a leash, because that usually causes agitation between the leashed dog and the ones running around leash free.

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I wouldn't necessarily recommend going to the dog park and leaving him on a leash, because that usually causes agitation between the leashed dog and the ones running around leash free.

 

If you decide to go to the dog park, NEVER leave him on leash while other dogs are off leash. It immediately puts them in a vulnerable position and makes them a target.

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my two love the dog park. its right around the corner, and we go at least twice per day. i know that they are more prone to lacerations, and its a risk, but interacting with the other dogs, or playing fetch, or just running around, is their favorite part of the day, every day. my dogs have never shown interest in predatory behavior toward small dogs, despite having a fairly strong prey drive otherwise, so that has never been an issue for me. however, there are small dogs, and there are SMALL dogs. even with my two, whose behavior i know so well, i occasionally find myself worried when someone brings in an insanely tiny, squirrel sized dog to the park. usually at that point i take them home.

 

one of the best things to do, if you intend to bring your grey to a dog park, is to bring the dog there on a fixed schedule, so you are more likely to be there at the same time as a fixed group of other dogs. you will be able to learnt he other dogs' personalities faster, and will be better equipped to understand which dogs will be problems for you, and which wont. strangely, i find that a lot of dogs have odd reactions to greyhounds. i think it might be something about their height (my guys are really tall), or their demeanor, or shape -- i really dont know what the story is.

 

here is a typical scene from my dog park where i bring them. tempo used to go wild, and would police all the dog roughhousing by running in and barking non-stop right in other dogs' faces. then i learned that i could take his fetch ball, shove it in his mouth, and he'd carry it around the whole time, essentially muffling his bark (you can still hear it a little in the video).

 

 

barkball

Edited by jaym1
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