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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Dog park and dog germs

Hello, I had a question about how to keep Apollo and by extension myself as germ free as possible. As it is we go to a dog park, he's great with other dogs, is fine with people, and generally just loves the place. It's pretty upscale and clean, is split into a big dog / little dog side, and the people / animals are nice.

However he starts playing with anywhere from 5-15 dogs as people come and go and gets slobbered on by them, people bring balls or toys and they take turns stealing it, there's a dog water fountain that he drinks out of (no standing water, kind of a waterdish with a slow drain and a spigot to fill it). and then just the general high traffic grass and bark.

So far there's been no issues, everyone around here vaccinates and microchips etc. But he definitely gets exposed to a lot of germs, then kisses / licks me and everyone else, and it made me wonder if I should look into dog listerine or some special bones or something, plus he needs a bath after a couple trips or a long trip there.

So how do you keep your dogs mouth sanitary?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 05:30 PM
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Dobermans are not really "dog park" dogs for a number of reasons, especially when they reach adulthood. Right now with the canine influenza outbreak I would avoid them at all costs.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 10:15 PM
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I'm not sure about dobermans not being dog park dogs, there are a fair few in my area that I've encountered numerous times on our days at the park. That said, my girl loves the dog park for one reason and it's definitely not socializing. While were there it's fetch time and any other dogs or distractions are pretty much universally ignored. Dogs will approach to play and get the picture after a few seconds and just leave her be.

If you want to enjoy the dog park and find it's a necessary outlet for energy I suggest you try giving your dog a job to do while there. Just something as simple as fetch so that their focus is on you at all times. Other than that I don't really know what to say. Going to the dog park is a messy thing, even if the place is kept up. My girl has had puppy papiloma AND canine influenza twice. She survived both just fine and is now on an immune boosting supplement that has been fantastic for her. We haven't had another issue since starting her on it. It's called Dr. Harvey's E-mune Herbal Dog Supplement. You can find it online at chewy or amazon. It's not cheap but it's been a real help for us!
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 10:55 PM
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Hi Lamb! Here is the simple reason that I avoid leash free dog parks. It's pretty simple. Most dog owners who frequent a legal leash free area feel that once their dog is freely running, that they have no responsibly. They will chat with their friend or text and pay absolutely no attention to their dog.

Fast forward: Dobermans are by nature, very active and even aggressive dogs. Even at play, there are very few dogs that can keep up with them. Add this personality trait to the fact that they do very poorly in a general melee of poorly trained dogs and the unfortunate perception of of the average uninitiated dog owner and that is a recipe for trouble

I have said it before and I will say it again. A sweetheart of a Dobe, like my McCoy, who would NEVER instigate a confrontation, if pushed, would pretty much maim or kill a dog that came after him.

I saw it happen when he was just over 1 yo. An 80+ lb. pit-mutt (not a well bred or well trained pit bull), got loose from his owner who was sitting at an outdoor tavern. When he attacked, I (having been severely bitten in the past) released McCoy. I was hoping that he would run away. No way. He met the dog head on. The whole thing lasted 15 seconds. When it was over, McCoy was unscathed. The other dog had pretty a bad laceration to his neck and under his eye.

Had this been at a dog park, without 10 or so witnesses, who do you think would have been blamed?

My boy is the sweetest most socialized dog you would ever care to meet. But... He is still an 80lb. male, intact Doberman with all the instincts that were bred into him.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by 4x4bike ped View Post
Hi Lamb! Here is the simple reason that I avoid leash free dog parks. It's pretty simple. Most dog owners who frequent a legal leash free area feel that once their dog is freely running, that they have no responsibly. They will chat with their friend or text and pay absolutely no attention to their dog.

Fast forward: Dobermans are by nature, very active and even aggressive dogs. Even at play, there are very few dogs that can keep up with them. Add this personality trait to the fact that they do very poorly in a general melee of poorly trained dogs and the unfortunate perception of of the average uninitiated dog owner and that is a recipe for trouble

I have said it before and I will say it again. A sweetheart of a Dobe, like my McCoy, who would NEVER instigate a confrontation, if pushed, would pretty much maim or kill a dog that came after him.

I saw it happen when he was just over 1 yo. An 80+ lb. pit-mutt (not a well bred or well trained pit bull), got loose from his owner who was sitting at an outdoor tavern. When he attacked, I (having been severely bitten in the past) released McCoy. I was hoping that he would run away. No way. He met the dog head on. The whole thong lasted 15 seconds. When it was over, McCoy was unscathed. The other dog had pretty a bad laceration to his neck and under his eye.

Had this been at a dog park, without 10 or so witnesses, who do you think would have been blamed?

My boy is the sweetest most socialized dog you would ever care to meet. But... He is still an 80lb. male, intact Doberman with all the instincts that were bred into him.

John
Portland OR
Wow I'm so sorry that happened to you and your boy! Lamb was also attacked by a pitty while we were sitting at a cafe. It was terrifying because the dog pulled its owner from a few yards away to get at her. She'll stand her ground but has never gone after an annoying dog. All that said, the park we frequent is massive, I'm talking like 10-15 acres massive. So when I take her midday typically the park has 2 or 3 other dogs max who'll end up rough housing at the other end away from us. I too stay away from crowds and generally won't stick around if there are too many people there for the simple reason that other dogs tend to steal balls which can be super frustrating for the both of us. So far we've had more problems on the street than at the dog park because for the most part, the people who frequent our park are attentive owners. There is also a park security person who monitors visitors and the dogs to make sure there's no funny business going down, so that offers a slight peace of mind as well.

I will say though, ironically, that if Lamb were more sociable and preferred to play with dogs, I'd probably not take her to the dog park! I do for now for the simple fact that she's got a whole lot of energy and the park is massive so she's able to really stretch her legs there. I totally understand that some people choose not to partake as there is obviously a risk involved, but I think we've managed thus far to minimize that risk by going at non peak hours and generally keeping away from any crowds, no matter how small.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lambchop View Post
I'm not sure about dobermans not being dog park dogs, there are a fair few in my area that I've encountered numerous times on our days at the park. That said, my girl loves the dog park for one reason and it's definitely not socializing. While were there it's fetch time and any other dogs or distractions are pretty much universally ignored. Dogs will approach to play and get the picture after a few seconds and just leave her be.

If you want to enjoy the dog park and find it's a necessary outlet for energy I suggest you try giving your dog a job to do while there. Just something as simple as fetch so that their focus is on you at all times. Other than that I don't really know what to say. Going to the dog park is a messy thing, even if the place is kept up. My girl has had puppy papiloma AND canine influenza twice. She survived both just fine and is now on an immune boosting supplement that has been fantastic for her. We haven't had another issue since starting her on it. It's called Dr. Harvey's E-mune Herbal Dog Supplement. You can find it online at chewy or amazon. It's not cheap but it's been a real help for us!
Your pup is only 11 months. Things can and do change as they reach maturity. Just because other people do it and nothing bad has happened yet does not mean it's a wise decision. There have been countless instances of things going wrong that have been posted here on DT. Usually the dobe is not at fault but like 4x4 mentioned this is a breed that is determined to stand up for itself to protect its owner in a situation like that. In that scenario it can get very ugly.

Along with what 4x4 has brought up dobermans are prone to same sex aggression. This is something that does not present itself generally until the dog is mature. Everything can be going fine and in the blink of an eye it's not, and breaking up a fight involving one or more determined large breed dogs can be very difficult. I've been there, having broke up a fight between my male and another male doberman. I broke a finger in the process. Not fun!

Dobermans are also not a social breed. They were not bred to get along with or work alongside other dogs like say the hound breeds. They were bred as personal protectors, to work closely with one handler, thus, same sex aggression and dog aggression are byproducts of their breeding. If you read the doberman standard aggression is described to some degree as inherent for the breed. It's important to acknowledge this so you don't expect your dog to be something she's not.

A better place to burn off energy with your doberman is a secluded field, ball field, hiking trails, biking with your dog (18+ months only), or training for agility, dock diving, flyball etc. Play dates with dogs you know and capable owners are also a better option.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Well different advice than I expected but still good advice. He's 7 months right now and I live in suburbia, it is the only place he can be off leash. The last few weeks he got tall enough to see on top of the counters and on top of his crate so he's been stealing everything from food to jackets out of boredom and really needed the outlet. So it seems like he's still young enough to have the energy and temperament for it. There's another 19 month old b/t dobie that goes there too. Apollo is red with natural ears so there's no confusing them despite the size difference.

I saw 11 months was still in the ok window, and at maturity I've heard they settle down as well as pick up some of the other traits that make a dog park a problem, so that'd be around the 18 month or two year mark when they stop growing?
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
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Your pup is only 11 months. Things can and do change as they reach maturity. Just because other people do it and nothing bad has happened yet does not mean it's a wise decision. There have been countless instances of things going wrong that have been posted here on DT. Usually the dobe is not at fault but like 4x4 mentioned this is a breed that is determined to stand up for itself to protect its owner in a situation like that. In that scenario it can get very ugly.

Along with what 4x4 has brought up dobermans are prone to same sex aggression. This is something that does not present itself generally until the dog is mature. Everything can be going fine and in the blink of an eye it's not, and breaking up a fight involving one or more determined large breed dogs can be very difficult. I've been there, having broke up a fight between my male and another male doberman. I broke a finger in the process. Not fun!

Dobermans are also not a social breed. They were not bred to get along with or work alongside other dogs like say the hound breeds. They were bred as personal protectors, to work closely with one handler, thus, same sex aggression and dog aggression are byproducts of their breeding. If you read the doberman standard aggression is described to some degree as inherent for the breed. It's important to acknowledge this so you don't expect your dog to be something she's not.

A better place to burn off energy with your doberman is a secluded field, ball field, hiking trails, biking with your dog (18+ months only), or training for agility, dock diving, flyball etc. Play dates with dogs you know and capable owners are also a better option.
I actually do schutzhund with my dog and train her daily at home, but there are still days when it seems no matter how much we work she'll still have energy to burn. For those days we have two choices: the dog park for fetch, or daycare for playtime with friends. There are 4 other fully matured dobies at daycare who she has no interest in, no matter how hard they try to rough house with her. I feel like until she can settle down a bit with her energy these are our best choices. My family had german shorthaired pointers growing up and although I love them, chose a doberman thinking they're slightly less energetic. Well I don't know about other dobies but my girl will run and fetch non stop until I drag her home, she'll nap for an hour and then is up and ready to go again! I'm hoping as she matures we don't have to schlep it to the dog park for that energy release, but until then I feel far more comfortable letting her run in a secure fenced area over an unfenced or unsecured field or hiking trail. I just don't trust her yet to not run off after an animal. Just last week we went up north to the river and she almost took off after a porcupine. If my reflexes hadn't acted fast to stop her she would've caught up to it. We were in a secluded area of forest with no other people around. That would've been a really painful and expensive trip to the vet.

I really appreciate your years of experience and knowledge and take it to heart, but sometimes going off the beaten path is okay too. I'm not saying that you're wrong or that I even disagree with you. I'm just saying that sometimes, using the dog park when it's the last resort is OK if you can minimize risk enough, ie, going during the slowest hours, having a dog that is focused on you to play, being aware of your surroundings, and making sure your dog is in good health. I have noticed that as she matures I'm able to rely on her more and more, but until I can trust her 100% to be off leash in an unsecured area won't apologize or feel guilty for doing my best, even if it's not what someone else would consider good enough.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenkouki View Post
Your pup is only 11 months. Things can and do change as they reach maturity. Just because other people do it and nothing bad has happened yet does not mean it's a wise decision. There have been countless instances of things going wrong that have been posted here on DT. Usually the dobe is not at fault but like 4x4 mentioned this is a breed that is determined to stand up for itself to protect its owner in a situation like that. In that scenario it can get very ugly.

Along with what 4x4 has brought up dobermans are prone to same sex aggression. This is something that does not present itself generally until the dog is mature. Everything can be going fine and in the blink of an eye it's not, and breaking up a fight involving one or more determined large breed dogs can be very difficult. I've been there, having broke up a fight between my male and another male doberman. I broke a finger in the process. Not fun!

Dobermans are also not a social breed. They were not bred to get along with or work alongside other dogs like say the hound breeds. They were bred as personal protectors, to work closely with one handler, thus, same sex aggression and dog aggression are byproducts of their breeding. If you read the doberman standard aggression is described to some degree as inherent for the breed. It's important to acknowledge this so you don't expect your dog to be something she's not.

A better place to burn off energy with your doberman is a secluded field, ball field, hiking trails, biking with your dog (18+ months only), or training for agility, dock diving, flyball etc. Play dates with dogs you know and capable owners are also a better option.


Greenkouki and 4x4 bring up some very valid points. My girl was and is a rough and tumble, high prey drive sort of girl.
I took her to the dog park regularly, but definitely noticed a change in her as she matured.

She was less tolerant of other dogs that did not pick up the signals she was giving out about wanting to rest awhile.
Greenkouki is right on point in saying that things can happen in the blink of an eye.

The park I took my girl to was nowhere near as big as the one you describe, but even a dog minding their own business can get attacked. It happened to my girl. She was attacked by a bulldog that did not like other dogs. For no reason that I could see, this bulldog attacked Jazzy from behind from about 30 feet away. The bulldog was a female.

Jazzy whipped around and met the attack head on. My being close to her and her having a harness with a strap type handle, stopped the situation from being much worse. I was able to grab her and pretty much snatch my snarling, Cujo girl away. It was all I could do to hold onto her, put on her leash, while keeping my body between her and the bulldog. Thankfully, the bulldog didn't try to continue the attack as I could have been bitten. The stupid owner did nothing.

My girl is good with most dogs and most people, but she will not back down. She is particularly less tolerant of other females.

My girl has been attacked 4 times in the almost 5 years I have had her. Twice in the park. Once by a pitbull female at PetSmart and once in my own fenced yard. The Neighbor's dog who is dog and people reactive got loose and attacked her under the fence. Jazzy got bitten on the foot.

I have been lucky that these 4 instances did not make her fearful of other dogs. I know through friends of friends whose dogs were forever changed by one attack.

I have heard many times the saying, something along the the lines of, everything was fine until it wasn't. The bulldog attack on my girl was the last time she ever went to the park.

From what you say, you are doing the right things by not going during peak hours etc. I pray that everything goes well and you never have an incident where your sweet girl gets hurt.


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 10:48 PM
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We don't have dog parks around here, so I don't have any opinion on them...other than that I don't think Jax would particularly enjoy them. He is more of a "play/hang out with humans" kind of dog. But...too bad you couldn't get an actual answer to your question! If I knew anything, I'd try to answer it!!
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-25-2017, 01:19 AM
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[QUOTE=

My girl is good with most dogs and most people, but she will not back down. She is particularly less tolerant of other females.

My girl has been attacked 4 times in the almost 5 years I have had her. Twice in the park. Once by a pitbull female at PetSmart and once in my own fenced yard. The Neighbor's dog who is dog and people reactive got loose and attacked her under the fence. Jazzy got bitten on the foot.

\[/QUOTE]

Holy moly that's a lot. As of now Lamb's only ever been attacked (and slightly injured) by our cose friend's pit mix rescue in our own yard. Luckily we were all standing around talking and broke it up fast. She just had a slight cut on the inside of her ear that I nursed at home.

I'm not sure if she's just young or if it's her personality but she's very aloof around male dogs. At daycare she'll only socialize with the other female dogs and since she's been in heat doesn't tolerate our friend's male dogs at all, which I found peculiar. Our neighbor has an intact male teacup poodle that'll sit at the fence and screech and cry all day and she couldn't care less, which as an owner of intact female dogs in the past, really surprised me. Thus far this dog has completely shattered all expectations I've had for an intact female dog. Our pointers were all intact females and were tolerant of each other but never really that affectionate. She absolutely loves her "girlfriends" and will lick and cuddle them whenever they're around.

All this aside, the dog park has been a godsend for us as this dog seems like her energy is limitless. I've never owned a dog so inquisitive and fearless, so the fences there make me feel reassured that I don't need to worry about her chasing a critter off into the distance. I'm hoping and praying she'll calm down some as she ages because at this rate I'm having a hard time keeping up, and I currently work from home! @apollothedog Use the park if you MUST I suppose, but don't rely on it forever and have a plan for the future when your pup is fully mature. At this stage that's the best advice I have to give because apparently the way I exercise my pup is a disaster in waiting!
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-26-2017, 08:27 AM
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I personally hate dog parks. I am lucky to have a home in the country with lots of space to run my pack.

When I lived in town I would put my dogs in the car and drive to more secluded areas to run them.

What I have learned the hard way is that once they get attacked things can change. Then you become very limited so I try to avoid that scenario entirely.

Your dog needs interaction with you. Not other dogs.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-26-2017, 08:48 AM
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Zuko will be 5 this year, he's a big male, 95 lb., neutered and absolutely LOVES the dog park. We don't have a fenced in yard and he loves to run. He has a submissive nature and will not bite to defend himself, though as he's matured he's gained more confidence. We do take precautions when we bring him there, though. We always try to make sure both me and my husband are there, and we watch him like hawks. There's always a risk of some dog not liking his bark/size, it doesn't happen often but it does happen, though not often. Zuko has never gotten bitten but other dogs have gone after him, growling, barking. He will not attack but will bark if he feels threatened. We are there to intervene and redirect him towards us, and usually that's when the other unruly dog's owner will take their dog and leave. Again, it doesn't happen often, but it does happen. Everyone there knows Zuko.

He likes to socialize with the people (kids and babies, too) and dogs but will generally circle around us and want to be with us. He loves chasing balls so we'll try to find a ball. Yes, he sniffs all the trees and drinks from the fountain all the other dogs drink at and chews on the balls all the other dogs have chewed on. We have never had an issue with germs or him getting sick, we are good with his vaccinations and we generally make sure to always give him clean water to drink when we're at home and bathe him every 2 weeks (unless he gets really muddy or gets slobbered all over, then we'll give him a bath that day).

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