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Jessieca
23rd April 2007, 12:07 AM
Hi! Ok, this is my second question about my 10 month old cavalier Bailey :) Thanks for any and all help!

Ok, so I have a bit of a small back story, so thanks for anyone who takes the time to read this. I have to admit I do worry a bit when it comes to our puppy, and the park. In December, I was mauled by a dog, and portions of both of my lips were removed. Plastic surgery is slowly correcting the problem, but I am a bit scared now of larger dogs, and this has kind of extended to my fear of my dog being injured by a large dog.

Recently I discovered that there is a huge off-leash park only ten minutes from my home! It is 40 acres, fenced in, and even has a swimming area. I have found that this is a great experience for Bailey and I, because I can socialize him with different types of dogs (he is a bit nervous and hesitant around many dogs), and also start to familiarize myself again with larger dogs so that I can hopefully be less fearful.

My question is this: are off leash parks fairly safe? We have only gone a few times, and other than having a giant poodle start humping him (not cool - I yanked him out from under the dog SO fast, the other owner sat laughing) all has gone well. Is there anything I should do to ensure he will not be injured? Sorry if I come off a bit paranoid! I am sure you can understand with what I went through that I may worry a bit more than the normal dog owner :-| I do make sure to always have my boyfriend or friend with me in case for any reason I were to get upset due to my fear of especially large dogs.

Has anyone had any bad experiences in an off-leash park? Bailey LOVES going, so I am hoping it is a good, safe place to take him.

Thanks so much!!

Elude
23rd April 2007, 12:41 AM
Zoey and I love visiting our dog park too. We are also fortunate to have one very close by. The great thing about ours is its divided into two sections. One is for dogs 22lbs and under, and the other side is for the bigger dogs. I can understand your concerns and for me this makes me much more comfortable.

I think in general though most dogs who visit the doggy park are fairly social and have responsible owners. Its the ones who don't who ruin it for everyone else. I always watch carefully before going in to see how the dogs are playing with one another. If there seems to be one or two that are running wild and being really agressive we leave. Our worst experience at the park has been with a chihuahua who was half of Zoey's size.

natalieandmike
23rd April 2007, 01:09 AM
I personally do not take Bianca to a dog park because near us, there is no 'segregated' small dog area, and I really don't know what I'd do if a large dog attacked her. But I am mostly writing to you about your story...I think you are very courageous to attempt to put what must have been a horrible experience behind you. No advice here, but I do like Elude's advice about looking at what types of dogs are playing there before you jump in and include your dog. :flwr: -Natalie

Cathy T
23rd April 2007, 01:32 AM
What a horrible experience for you! I totally understand your fear.

We have a local dog park we go to on occasion. It has an area for small dogs and another one for big dogs. That's a huge plus!! My only problem with the dog park is that other owners often stand and chat and don't pay any attention to their dogs. Can't tell you how many times I've stepped in another dog's poop or had to call someone's attention to the fact that their dog has pooped. It bothers me that they aren't paying attention to their dogs. We've had a couple of aggressive incidents which also concern me.

We limit our visits to the dog park. Especially because of the amount of urine and feces in a small area. I worry about the dogs picking up a bug (Jake got one and I'm sure it was from the dog park).

That said....if you are vigilant, go when the park isn't super crowded and bring your own water (!!! I bring our own bowl and a bottle of water) you can really have a good time at a dog park.

Jessieca
23rd April 2007, 01:37 AM
Thanks for all of the advice and comments so far :) It has definitely been hard for me because of my fear, as the dog that did bite me seemed like a normal dog, and I had been kindly saying hi to it when it bit me...so it's hard to let my guard down at all (this was while on vacation in Hawaii - not at the dog park!). We do have a lot of fun when we go to the dog park though :)

Surprisingly in the 5 or 6 times I've gone, I've never once seen dog poop on the ground. It's an enormous area, and everyone seems to be diligent about picking up after their dogs. I understand your concern with that though; when Bailey was really little, he seemed to eat something outside (the vet assumed bird poop, but I am not sure what exactly), and ended up getting some kind of stomach infection - it was so sad :( Thankfully he recovered quickly.

Unfortunately, it isn't separated by size! Oddly enough though, Bailey is more afraid of the smaller dogs than the larger dogs - go figure hehe (if only I felt that way lol).

Cathy T
23rd April 2007, 01:39 AM
Oddly enough though, Bailey is more afraid of the smaller dogs than the larger dogs - go figure


Both of mine are like that. They'll go up to a lab before a maltese any day!

Zippy
23rd April 2007, 01:43 AM
We used to take our Charley to a local dog park, but as Cathy said, most owners knew each other and stood around chatting and ignoring their dogs.

Mary Alice hasn't been to a dog park, we've been taking her to the beach a lot, as an alternative. There are loads of dogs at the beach and so far, she's been fine with other dogs but she's busy "doing her own thing", on leash.

We've had a few instances of people putting down broken glass or poison in Toronto, so I'm not too sure.......I'd never forgive myself if anything happened to her when we have alternatives. :)

Lynn
23rd April 2007, 02:27 AM
I am so sorry that you had such a horrid experience!!! I'd be scared out of my mind...maybe for life! You should be very proud of yourself for getting right back out there.

I don't have a dog park :( in our area so I can't help with your question, sorry.

Gracie's Mommy
23rd April 2007, 02:51 AM
What an awful experience! It's great that you are still willing to go the dog park and attempt to conquer your fear! Also should say thanks from us! It had never ocurred to me that we might have an off-leash dog park right down the street! Turns out there's one a 3 minute drive from our house! It's already on the agenda for next weekend! So, no advice yet, but maybe after next week...Good luck at your dog park. It sounds like you're doing all the right things! :dogwlk:

Shay
23rd April 2007, 02:54 AM
I can't offer any advice, I have never been to a dog park. We don't have one here, but I think I would be a little nervous about bringing Lily for the reasons some of the others have mentioned. I just wanted to tag on to what the others have said about how brave you are for trying to overcome your fears. I'm not sure I could do what you are doing. Good for you! :thmbsup:

Jessieca
23rd April 2007, 03:22 AM
Well, it seems if I do take Bailey, I should just be super safe, and maybe check the place out a bit before we go walking around.

On another note...Wow, thanks for everyone saying such nice things about being brave and all :) It's very kind of you. It HAS been a very difficult thing, but I am really doing my best to overcome what happened. If it weren't for Bailey, I really don't think I would ever go near another dog again. I am really blessed that he entered my life before that happened. Thankfully, it looks like it should just be one more surgery in July, and I should look about as close to I did before the biting as possible.

Again, thanks so much guys :p to have people say such nice things, especially when I am new to any kind of dog forum, is really sweet.

Jessica

molly
23rd April 2007, 04:48 AM
Yikes, what an awful experience for you to be bitten. Good luck with your next surgery. I admire you for looking to overcome your fears so that your dog can socialize with other dogs.

We tried the local dog park early on with our 2 older dogs and it was very scary. Too many big agressive dogs with no owner supervision. Didn't go back for almost 2 years.

They finally set up another section just for small dogs. We now go frequently. There have been no fights or problems on the small dog side. We bring water, tennis balls and frisbees and the dogs have a blast chasing them and zooming around with the younger dogs. We usually go during non-peak hours.

tonic
23rd April 2007, 06:29 PM
First, I'm so sorry for your experience. That is awful and I wish it never happened to you. I can understand how you would be fearful of large dogs. I would be too!

As for your questions.. I take my 2 cavaliers to dog parks every weekend. We sometimes go to one that split into big and little dogs. Its a bit smaller though. More often we take them to one thats close to our house thats larger, has astro turf, and is a wonderful dog park. Its a good sized park.

We have never had issues with large dogs attacking. If the large dogs get too rowdy with each other, I usually leave. That doesnt happen too often. I have had some larger dogs play bite my 2 and they didn't like it but its also rare. I'm not afraid to hold back someones dog in this situation until the owner can come and get their dog away from mine. You have to do whats best for your dogs.

I think the biggest concern with larger dogs is when they are running. I try to make sure my cavaliers are not in their path because they can unintentionally run into them. I think this is where they are more likely to get hurt versus getting attacked.

Actually, I have to watch my oldest cavalier. She has issues with chihauhaus (long story) and can get a bit rough. So, I wouldnt just watch out for the big dogs.. watch all dogs and look for signs of potential problems.

I think dog parks are great. Honestly, we don't really have many issues at our dog park. The situations I described above are just so you are aware of what could happen. Most people that bring their dogs to our park have well socialized dogs and are very responsible.

I would take your pup to the park during the non-peak times. I would observe without your dog during peak times to see what types of people visit. If you don't see a lot of problems with dogs interacting, start bringing your dog and see how things go.

Jessieca
23rd April 2007, 06:33 PM
Thanks for such a helpful post Tonic, I will keep all of those things in mind when I go next time.