Post # 1
We’ve been taking our 5 month old Alaskan Malamute pup to the dog park for about a month now. We ensured that she was completely vaccinated and also had a kennel cough vaccine before we took her.
I just sent some photos of her playing with another dog at the dog park to our breeder to show her how much fun she was having and the breeder is so mad at us!! She sent back this e-mail about how dogs can’t go to a dog park until they are 6 months old because they will get sick. I understand there is always a potential of getting sick, but she hasn’t, and she is as vaccinated as she can be.
The dog park is a lifesaver for us because she has so much energy and there’s no way we could exercise her enough on our own. Are we horrible puppy parents? The vet said it was okay, but the breeder is really mad at us and I am just wondering at what age did other people started bringing their pets to the dog park?
Just for fun here’s a pic of her playing at the dog park 🙂 She is the same age as the Great Dane but he’s so much bigger lol.
Post # 3
@pinklemonade12: I had my dog in puppy obedience classes before 6 months with lots of puppies the same age. I guess it is a personal preference. I think you are fine!
Post # 4
@Jenn23: See we did the same thing, and the breeder even recommended it. She was in puppy classes at 10 weeks old, so I don’t get why it’s so horrible at 4 months. I’m just trying to understand why the breeder would be so angry with us. She seemed to be implying that we were being horrible dog owners and that didn’t make us feel good.
Post # 5
Our dog park does not allow dogs under 6 months, but I’m not sure why. Maybe due to vaccines or maybe wanting the puppies to be old enough/mature enough that they know how to play appropriately??? Or maybe it has something to do with the maturity of their bones/joints? Hopefully someone else can answer. In any case, you didn’t know you were doing anything “wrong” so it doesn’t seem fair for the breeder to be angry.
ETA: I think the 6 month restriction at our dog park may have something to do with the rabies vaccine? I can’t remember, but isn’t that the one dogs have to be 6 mo. old in order to get? Dogs have to have the rabies vaccination to be licensed where I live and have to be licensed to go to the dog park.
Post # 6
It can be dangerous because things like parvo and distemper and live in soil for up to 6 months after an infected dog has been there, not to mention any other sick dogs your dog comes in contact with… And although your dog was vaccinated it’s best to wait until the pup has gotten it’s full series of shots and minimizing exposure to those diseases is encouraged up to the 6 month mark (when their immune systems are much stronger)… However, your pup is fine and you can’t change the past so don’t feel too badly about it. No harm no foul. 🙂
ETA: a momma pup’s milk gives the puppy certain antibodies which can block the effectiveness of a vaccine (which is why they do a series of shots) making the dog not immune once the momma’s antibodies are out of their system (which I believe can be as short as 8 weeks but can last more than 4 months according to some studies) so waiting for the full series of shots helps ensure your pup is immune to the diseases.. which even with the shots is not always 100%… so the 6 months is just a precaution.
Post # 7
I think it is a bit ridiclous that they were mad at you. I take mine after they have their shots. It is the best time to teach them how to play properly and get them well socalized.
Post # 8
First of all, your dog is gorgeous!
Ok, back to your question: I’ve never had a puppy so I don’t know the “rules” but I would guess the main concern would be Parvo. But if your vet said it’s ok, then I’d follow your vets rules, personally.
Post # 9
We started taking our dog to the park around 4 months, after he was fully vaccinated (including Parvo.)
Post # 10
we didn’t have a dog park close by us when we got our dog, but we lived in a neighborhood with tons of dogs and we let him play with tons of other dogs as soon as he had all his shots, within the first 3 months (I don’t remember exactly). every single walk was like a dog party, he had so many “friends!” I don’t know why a dog park would be terribly different than that experience though, besides being off leash and around more dogs at a given time, but I do have to say, our guy is now beautifully socialized after getting to play so much with other dogs! it’s so important for pups to be around older dogs who will teach them how to play appropriately, not to mention it helped get out all that puppy energy!
Post # 11
I think 4-6 months is perfect! Socialize them when they’re young! We didn’t adopt my dog until he was 10 months old and we went I think right around then. He LOVES the park and he gets accustomed to so many different play styles (i.e., wrestling, chasing, fetching after the same ball without getting aggressive, etc.). Now he’s great with all dogs and can adapt. It’s always so cute to see little pups learn how to stand up for themselves and learn “manners” around the water dish.
In fact, I have friends with puppies who ask that my dog be the first dog they meet and play with because he’s so gentle and knows how to play with everyone! I credit the dog park 100% because our cat is certainly not the one to thank!!! 🙂
Post # 12
She has been vaccinated for Parvo among other things, and the vets said she was fully vaccinated (she’s had three rounds I believe) so I don’t really get it. I’m glad to hear that I’m not totally off base though. I’ve been looking at other websites and none of them say that it HAS to be 6 months. I guess it’s more of a guideline and preventitive thing, but for us, our dog goes nuts if she doesn’t go to the park and I think the positives outweigh the chance of a negative.
Guess my breeder is just a little bit on the strict side. Oh well, the vet says we take excellent care of her and so it shouldn’t really matter what the breeder thinks because she doesn’t get the full picture.
Post # 13
@daybyday: Haha, that’s cute! Yes it’s great for socialization! Ours definitely is learning how to play nicely and she’s making doggie friends which is great. Our dog that we had while I was in highschool was never socialized with other dogs when he was little (we got him when he was 4) and so he was horrible with other dogs and way too excited. Ours is learning the rules this way and I think it’s a good thing for the future 🙂
Post # 14
A lot of people are against dog parks, as you cannot control the other owners. The biggest thing I hear complaints about are aggressive dogs, and owners failing to take control. That could be the concern of the breeder, as it’s my main concern at the dog park. Our dog trainer doesn’t like dog parks either for this reason.
My boys have been going to the park since they were young (the one was as young as 12 weeks I believe). I only visit on weekdays/nights, and not on weekends. One thing I’ve noticed about the day/time is the type of people that come. Those that come on the weekends are often people that don’t have a lot of time for their dog, and just want it to ‘run it out’. The ones on the weekdays seem to care more about them. This doesn’t go for everyone, but it’s the majority of people I’ve met. We’ve had 10 times more issues on the weekend than we have on weekdays.
Just watch over other dogs, and be prepared to step in incase of a fight. I’ve seen my share of owners that just let their dog do whatever, even though they are clearly aggressive.
Also, while toys are nice at home, and you will see people playing with balls/frisbees at the park, do have some consideration for people with ‘toy-aggressive dogs’. This is coming from someone who owns a frisbee aggressive dog. He could care less about other dogs playing with balls, but if he sees a frisbee, he wants it. People have taken a huge offense to this at the park, and we’ve left on occassion as someone would not stop playing with toys. Toys are not meant for the dog park – often times it opens up more aggression issues as some dogs think that toy is “theirs”.
My boys love going to the park, and we try going every week if we have time. They love to just chase other dogs around and romp in the field.
Post # 15
Please trust your vet, they’re the one with years of education and actual understanding of what is medically safe and what is not. If she’s fully vaccinated, and the last vaccine was at least a couple of weeks ago, she should be fine. Just make sure to stay on top of the vaccine schedule and follow your vet’s advice on deworming/parasite control.
Breeders can be wonderful people, and pet owners fiercely loyal to them, but are also one of the major sources of all sorts of myths and wrong information. Some are well informed to be sure, but some of the crap I’ve heard would astound you!
Post # 16
@snoie: All great points. Toys are generally a no-no at dog parks although it’s not policed and a lot of people don’t understand the reason behind that rule.
And yeah. Never stop watching. Our dog park is fully fenced but pretty heavily wooded and it’s easy to turn away for a minute or refill the water dish and lose sight. Nothing bad has ever happened but I don’t like it.
The best is when you go often enough with the same people (some people always come on Tuesdays, some on Saturday mornings, etc.) and your dog actually has a “pack.” There were about five core dogs at our old dog park who grew to LOVE each other so much . . . then we moved. Blah. But sometimes we’ll drive back there to see everyone and it’s like they were never even separated. Makes me go awwwww. 🙂