View Full Version : 1st time at dog park - bad experience

26th July 2010, 09:25 PM
My Quincy is now 1 1/2 years old and is the love of my life! I couldn't have asked for a more well behaved dog. He's sweet and loving, and just a great companion!

Quincy has spent time with other dogs before, at the pet sitters house when we go on vacation, and it usually only takes him a few minutes to feel relaxed and play with the other dogs.

Last night I took him to the dog park for the first time. I really didn't know what to expect, but a friend had told me that this was a great park with lots of friendly dogs. It ended up being very traumatic for poor Quincy! There were about a dozen other dogs there, and almost all of them seemed aggressive, compared to my sweet little boy. They were jumping all over him, nipping at him, and humping him! It was like the kid who gets picked on by a bunch of bullies on the playground! He looked so scared, and either stayed by my feet, or would run over to another person and cower by their feet. The owners of the other dogs were trying to keep their dogs away from Quincy, but it was one dog after another, taking turns picking on him! I tried to give him a little time to adjust, but I could see he wanted nothing to do with the whole experience. I ended up taking him home and having to give him a bath, because he smelled terrible and was covered in drool and dirt from all the dogs jumping all over him.

So what now? I really wanted him to have fun with the other dogs and be able to run free, since I don't have a fenced in yard. Should I keep trying and just stay for a short amount of time? Is it normal to have to bathe your dog after going to the park?

Brian M
26th July 2010, 09:50 PM

Have a look at this ,it is a Cavalier meet up in New York hope it may help.


Kate H
26th July 2010, 10:21 PM
Is Quincy neutered? I find with my Aled that being small, pretty and neutered, he constantly gets picked on by other dogs, who obviously think 'Hey! Here's someone I can dominate!'. The other dogs aren't particularly aggressive, they just try to hump him and eyeball him - he sometimes gets trailed round the park as if he's a bitch in season! Unneutered Oliver has no problems - I wouldn't have neutered Aled, but he is a rescue and was done before I got him. Our vet tells me that there are drugs to reduce testosterone, but nothing to give dogs more, which is obviously what Aled needs! Before he went into rescue he was kept on a puppy farm as a potential stud dog but was thrown out as hopeless - I now see why!!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

26th July 2010, 10:54 PM
Yes, Quincy is neutered. That's very interesting. But I wonder why he's never had this problem at the pet sitter's house. This was just so ridiculous - everyone there felt really bad for Quincy, and a few people told me that it was probably because it was his first time there. I just don't know if I want to put him through that again!

26th July 2010, 11:25 PM
It may well be because it was his first time and none of the other dogs knew him but they all mostly knew each other pretty well. Also dogs in large gangs tend to be more aggressive and act differently than just meeting a dog or two in an enclosed environment like your pet sitters. And it can depend on the dog's sizes. That was generally really rude behaviour, in dog terms -- and may just have been a lot of overexcitement led by one or two dogs then others joined in.

By contrast, I regularly take my neutered boys to events with large groups of dogs at Dog Training Ireland and they aren't bothered any more than other dogs, male or female, intact or neutered. They also go to home boarding with lots of dogs, and once everyone has had sniffs and gets to know each other, there's no fuss. But I do think some dogs seem to be of much greater interest than others! Most people I know with a group of dogs will say one dog always draws the most attention from other dogs. Maybe neutering can influence this -- but I'd think in New Jersey/NYC that most of those dogs in a dog park would be neutered as well; it is more the norm in the US.

In this case your dog was also in an environment he's unfamiliar with which would likely have added to his uncertainty.

A lot of trainers dislike dog parks for the kind of experience you had (and often, worse) -- you are totally dependent on other people for controlling their dogs and for not having an aggressive dog as well. On the other hand, once your guy gets to know the other dogs and the park and if it is a friendly group your fellow might well really enjoy himself. Maybe try visiting a few times when there are few dogs and he can get to know the park?

26th July 2010, 11:27 PM
You might want to check out different times? We have one dog park that we go to when the weather isn't great for walking in town and we have had nothing but good experiences. We stay out of the the small dog area because I do find that small dogs tend to be very pushy with my two but in the regular area they have had no problems. Dogs run over to sniff but the big ones seem to know that mine are too small to play with even if they have just been wrestling with another large dog.

I have been to dog parks though (one where my son lives) where the owners seem to have little interest in controlling their dogs and I do find that very annoying. Maybe it's from being in class with big dogs since they have been puppies but Rylie in particular seems to prefer the company of larger dogs. He has had a couple of different small fluffy dogs snap at him so he tends to keep his distance but he has no problem racing an 80 lb Boxer pup for a stick and coming away with it. The boxer (who belongs to my friend) looks at his Mom as if to say He took my stick:D

26th July 2010, 11:33 PM
A lot of trainers dislike dog parks for the kind of experience you had (and often, worse) -- you are totally dependent on other people for controlling their dogs and for not having an aggressive dog as well.

Sophie's trainer is in this camp. She has seen too many large aggressive dogs whose owners seemed oblivious to their behavior. I would love to take Sophie to a dog park, but will not take the risk. She's too sweet and gentle.