Post # 1
I just found out there is a dog park in the area Darling Husband and I moved to in August. We went there today for the first time. Marley (my dog) has been to dog parks before, but not really in the last couple years since there weren’t any where we were living.
He is typically a stand-offish dog and I think he almost prefers humans to dogs. When he meets the right dog, he’ll play chase forever. I can’t see anything concerning about his body language when he’s meeting a new dog. He wags his tail, sniffs noses, crothes and butts. He does look nervous, and won’t always stand for another dog to sniff his butt, but doesn’t growl or anything unless another dog tries to mount him or growls first. He usually will walk away.
I intend to keep taking him to the park and I’m hoping that he will get used to being around other dogs off leash. I keep very close tabs on him, since he’s been attacked and bitten at a different dog park a few years ago. I try to encourage him to let the other dogs sniff him, but step in the moment I see another dog becoming agressive or dominant. I don’t want to risk marley snapping at another dog being aggressive and us winding up in trouble.
Am I maybe putting too much into this? Should I skip the dog park and just go for walks on the leash? Or should I keep working at it at the dog park and hope he remembers his dog manners.
The problem is that Marley won’t fetch or play any “dog” games, so getting him worn out is quite the task. I’m pregnant now, so I’m not running anymore, and I am hoping that while I’m on maternity leave I can get in frequent walks with Marley and the baby.
Any advice or suggestions?
Post # 3
We have a similar problem with one of our dogs. I usually take her to the dog park during “off times”, mid-day Moday through Friday. There are less dogs at the dog park, it seems to be easier for her to relax when there are less dogs sniffing her and there is less going on in general. I also find it goes better when I take a deep breath and relax. If I tense up everytime I see a large dog sniffing her, she seems to pick up on it.
It works out really well for her. Of course, I can’t do this everyday with her, but I supplement with daily walks to get her some exercise.
Post # 4
Dogs have their own pecking order and yours just seems to be a little submissive.
I would keep going and keep doing what you are doing. But remember that if you have nervous energy she will sense it and be nervous as well.
I am sure she will come into her own soon. Try and go at the same time daily/weekly so that she can make friends.
Post # 5
I may be biased because I don’t trust ANY dog parks, because not every dog owner is responsible and attentive enough with their dog to recognize/address danger signs. I see dog parks as a disaster waiting to happen. It also sounds like this may be causing your dog more stress than anything, which could backfire and leave you with an anxious, worked up dog.
I work in rescue with a lot of pit bulls, and if you know pit bulls you know they are crazily tenacious and high energy! One of the best tools we can use to tire out the dogs (especially when they spend hours in shelter kennels), is a dog backpack/weight vest. You can strap it onto your dog, kind of like a backpack, and put weights in the side pockets. Not ridiculous weights of course, a water bottle on each side can do the trick. That way you don’t have to over exert yourself when you’re pregnant and can take it easy while your dog does the work and gets all of his energy out, without the anxiety of a dog park 🙂
Post # 6
I’ve watched a lot of The Dog Whisperer and know how important my energy can be. I try to combat it by talking with Darling Husband, but I really am eager for Marley to play with other dogs. I’d say yesterday out of the 15 or so dogs he greeted, only 2 were aggressive. Most walked off after a bit, and a few were submissve and wanted to play, but Marley just didn’t get into it. I’ll try to really make sure I am calm and focus on what I’m projecting.
We do have a dog pack that we fill with baggies of food for a little weight when we get to the park for walks. We have an acre, and Marley goes out 3-4 times a day, either on a long run or off leash when Darling Husband or I are out there with him. He gets a fair amount of excercise, and is pretty adaptable to our energy levels. On weekends when we are at DH’s farm, he’s off leash all weekend long and sleeps inside in the heated garage or the finished basement overnight.
He’s a great dog, and has never had any aggressive or dominant behaviors, but once or twice he’s growled back at a dominant or aggressive dog, especially when they try and mount him. I think I’ll keep going now and then, but maybe he’s just not the kind of dog who cares if he’s around other dogs. Put him with a puppy and he looks at you like you have ruined his life!