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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey there everyone, just a quick question that has been stuck in my mind for a while now.

I just took Charlie (9 month old male dobe) for an hour and a half walk yesterday, he was easy to walk, and was very curious of other dogs that walked by. At the end of the walk, we got in the house and I gave him some water and I sat down. Without any fail, he skipped around without showing any signs of being tired, and started to bug the other two dogs (4 yr old Basset hound & 8 yr old **** hound).

I sat there and I pondered, I've never really allowed, or even seen Charlie have a good run. Not since he was a young pup. He's getting older now and I'd like for him to stretch his legs and be social with other dogs so my heart isn't in my mouth every time someone walks there dog by mine. My only problem is, I'm scared to think that Charlie will perhaps treat other dogs the same as he does with his brother and sister. The dogs at the leash free may not be so forgiving.

Any tips on how to prepare for his first time at the dog park? I've never had an issue with taking my parents other two dogs at the dog park, but when it's your own baby, you get very protective.
 

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I have a firm believer in not taking my dog to a dog park. It is not because of the dogs it is because of the owners. Too many owners do not watch and let their dogs run with no concern for correct behavior. Of course it is always the Doberman who is to blame. There are many people on DT who have had their dogs injured severly at a dog park. What I suggest is to find a school yard on the weekend and let your dog run there. I am sure there will be more poeple letting you know what they think.
 

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Ivan loves other dogs. He also likes to play rough. However, I've stopped taking him to the dog park, not because of how he acts, but because of how other dogs and owners act. Ivan was ganged up on on more than one occassion (two GSDs in one particular incident) and I would say he was afraid/overhwhelmed. Always very enthusiastic to go back, but I'm not willing to risk something happening. I would hate for something bad to happen and then have him develop issues being around other dogs. I'm very careful with what dogs he can interact with now. Luckily I have a friend with 30 acres and a rough and tumble Lab that Ivan loves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have a firm believer in not taking my dog to a dog park. It is not because of the dogs it is because of the owners. Too many owners do not watch and let their dogs run with no concern for correct behavior. Of course it is always the Doberman who is to blame. There are many people on DT who have had their dogs injured severly at a dog park. What I suggest is to find a school yard on the weekend and let your dog run there. I am sure there will be more poeple letting you know what they think.
Haha you know what? I forgot to mention it, but our **** hound actually got bit in the ankle by a German Shepherd 2 years ago and we've never been back since then. The owner claimed to have not seen her dog do it. And also, I have no doubt in my mind people will be looking at me the whole time, as I am 21 years old with a Doberman. People will form opinions of me before I even walk around.

The only problem I have with taking Charlie to a school yard is if incase someone happens to bring there dog into the yard and Charlie runs over and frightens them. Also not many yards have it all caged in so it's wide open for him to run off some where. I'm really curious to see if Charlie sticks by me, or runs off and does his own thing. I have a park that is open, and I'd love to take him there once he's properly trained.
 

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I occasionally take Pilot to the dog park and it is just fine. We have a beautiful dog park with a lot of room to run and it's in the center of the most dog friendly neighborhood in PDX. Pilot is a goof ball and has had a lot of socialization so I do not worry. I do think there are better activities though. For example, my boyfriend and I will go to the park (not dog park) and throw frisbee back and forth and Pilot will chase it again and again! If we aren't in a frisbee throwing mood, I will sprint one direction and call him over. Once Pilot catches up , my BF will call Pilot the other direction and take off sprinting. Oh, he loves it!! We also do a lot of hikes and that is the BEST way to tire him out. He is off leash during the majority of the hike so he will run up front and back over and over! I really think having two people is the best for a dog who likes to run. It keeps him highly entertained:)
 

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I take Odin to the dog park all the time since he was able to go after his shots. But the dog park I go to has times where there are only a couple of dogs and sometimes none. I took him at those times when he was little and slowly worked his way up to the dog park when there was more dogs. I got to know the dogs owners and got to know which ones are the responsible ones.

I have had 3 dog job 2 of which were doggy day cares and 1 bathing. So I know dog behavior really well and not only do I watch my dog like a hawk but I also watch other dogs and if one starts to act up or if one enters the park and I feel that dog might be to hyper and start something I will leave or just go to the other end of the park.

Being that I got to know the regulars that come into the park and they got to know Odin we all come at a certain time and if anything happens they know that I am responsible and Odin behaves and doesn't over do it and they have my back if something happened that wasn't out fault. But I am pretty observant to if something might happen and leave before it does.

I would suggest going without your dog first and just talking to some regulars and seeing what they think or bringing your dog when there is just a couple dogs at a time and build up his confidence and he can slowly learn the dog manners in the dog park. If you bring him in when there are a lot of dog and he hasn't been in one before and with him not know the rules he can get hurt. Other dogs can sense fear or sense when another dog is unsure and all the dogs will want to crows him and that can be overwhelming.
 

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When I lived near a dog park I took Dreizehn quite often. However, at that time he was still young and I was a regular so if something were to happen people would vouch for me because they knew my dog (that is, if he was not at fault). There will be stupid owners there and I highly suggest not going unless you know how to read dogs.

If you want to let him have a chance to run then take him at a low traffic time. I find 10am to 2:30 pm is always pretty empty as people are at work. I also wouldn't suggest going on the weekends.
 

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I have been to an off leash dog park a couple times now with Lexi, who is around 5 months old. (in Vaughan) I went there on the warm weekend we had on Feb 4th & 5th. Each time around 10am.

everyone LOVED her!

She loved playing with the other dogs and it was great to see her runing around instead of being tied to a leash! Plus, she was EXHAUSTED each time we got home! She came out of there really dirty but it was well worth it.

I will be continuing to go back there, without a doubt. This works well for me because Lexi does not get enough socialization with other dogs on regular walks.

The place I went to has a huge area for bigger dogs and another area for smaller dogs, no one uses the smaller one that I've noticed on my trips there so I'm planning on using it to train Lexi outdoors with distractions. It was very clean, which is a nice change because the grass around my apartment has random litter everywhere....

I can see the dangers that could exist in going there, so go there at your own risk really. Just pay attention to ALL the dogs, not just your own. If you see another persons dog being unfriendly, I would simply leave before you have a bigger problem on your hands.
 

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If you bring him in when there are a lot of dog and he hasn't been in one before and with him not know the rules he can get hurt. Other dogs can sense fear or sense when another dog is unsure and all the dogs will want to crows him and that can be overwhelming.
Not saying your approach isn't the correct one, but actually the times Ivan was overwhelmed was not when there were a lot of dogs in the park, but when there were only pairs of other dogs. Two GSDs (pack mates) - one honed in on him and the other followed. Same with a pair of Whippets (pack mates). One was in his face and he couldn't get away (obviously couldn't outrun them) - and then the other dog, who would have been fine otherwise, would come charging in and it freaked him out.
 

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My female GSD and female husky are bomb proof dog park dogs. I do not bring my intact male Doberman anymore because other dogs try to challenge and attack him.
 

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I know there are many people that are against dog park and I can see where they are coming from. We have a big dog park on the lake and I will only go during the week when there are 15 dogs instead of 50. Every night Phoenix goes to our private neighborhood dog park and everyone knows him and he knows all the dogs. If there is a new dog that does not mesh well with the great neighborhood pack we have going on then we make it very clear they need to control their dog. Phoenix has been going to this park since he was 12 weeks old(9months now) he is fixed. He is allowed to go to the park because I know the other dogs so well. As soon as I see a dog that I don't feel 100% comfortable with then we leave or do not even come in. I never take my eyes off him at the park and I am constantly looking for any signs that something could happen. Phoenix also has many many dogs come to his house for BBQs and play dates (sometimes up to 12 dogs at a time) he loves having friends over!

If you are planning on going I would say the slower the better. Go when there are no dogs so you pup can sniff around and check out the place. Then go when there is a dog or two. I believe the slower the better... You don't wanna go and let him loose in pack of dogs an hope for best. Once he has snowball no signs of aggression with a smaller pack then bring him when there are more dogs and stay on other side of fence. Let him sniff dogs thru fence and once you see he is fine take him in. I took my moms dog to park that was little unsure so I kept him on leash and walked around with him until he showed signs of being relaxed and wanting to play. I do not recommend this for every dog. Some dogs are more aggressive on leashes because they feel constrained but I did this because I know the dog I was with. If you chose to go goodluck! And we love to se pictures :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks everyone for giving me your input on the matter!

I have thought about it for a while and I think what I'm going to do is bring Charlie to a baseball park where it's all fenced off just to see what he is like off leash with me. I want to see if he will respond to me from a distance and will come to me if I call. Once we get comfortable with each other being away from each other in a far distance, I will ease him into the dog park with 1 or 2 dogs in the park.

I want to socialize Charlie so he won't act aggressive to dogs in the future, but I also don't want to scare him if there is 10-15 dogs in the park. Once I feel 100% comfortable with Charlie off leash, I'll be able to take him to a park just down the road from me and let him have a run, knowing he won't wander off too far from me.

Just as an extra precaution, I have taken out pet insurance.

Do you guys and girls have any tips on training your dobe off leash? My main concern is if he sees a squirrel, dog, or a person he'll run off and won't come back.
 

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I have a 5 month old red male. I take him to the dog park as often as I can. He loves it and I enjoy it just as much. With that being said, I watch my dog like a hawk. I follow him or call him over if he is too far for me to act if anything were to happen. Even though by the time I could get there it probably be too late. My pup picks the best play partners and seeks out the dogs I would for him! I watch all the other dogs and see which ones I would not want my pup to play with. If he begins to interact with these "problem" dogs, I give him my tell tale whistle and he comes running from wherever he is. He usually chooses to play with dogs his age and size. I have never had any problems at our dog park and have seen very few incidents. I keep treats at all times. My pup knows that when I call him and he comes, he will get rewarded! Also my last male dobie became male aggressive at about 9 months. At the first sight of unwanted aggressiveness we stopped taking him. Be carefull with the males.
 

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IMO, this sounds like a bad idea for a couple of blatant reasons.

1. He's a male Doberman. Same-sex aggression is common. Why chance it? Honestly, most Dobes I've met I wouldn't consider dog park material just because even the submissive Dobes can be pushy and frustrate/annoy other dogs.

2. It sounds like he lacks manners with the dogs he lives with, if so, you haven't been enforcing what is considered acceptable/respectful behavior toward other dogs. Why in the world would you want to try it out at a dog park with strange dogs? It would be fantastic if all dogs that went to the dog park were picture perfect nice, stable, and well trained dogs...but that's not reality.

Deciding to socialize your boisterous 9-month old Dobe pup to a large mix of other dogs at a dog park when it doesn't sound like he's kept in line at home with his housemates sounds like a terrible idea to me. How do you know you'd even be able to redirect (or control) him surrounded by a bunch of strange dogs should a problem arise?

Again, I just wouldn't take chances. This is another area of socialization that I would have been working on from a very young age and I would have been enforcing firm expectations for how he's allowed to interact with other dogs whether in my home or out and about. But if you take him as is, without having previously drawn any behavior guidelines for him, he could be the one to cause problems at the park with rude, pushy behavior.
 
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I do bring Jackson to the dog park. I stopped for a while until he was neutered, but we are regulars there and everyone loves him. He's great with other dogs, knows when dogs don't want to play and how to not play rough. He has a lot more manners with dog park dogs than he does with the dogs he lives with. I've had 3 different people tell me in excitement that their dog never actually plays with other dogs, but Jax has gotten them to run around and chase him and they love it. I haven't gotten any hate because he's a Dobe. I think every dog is different, and even Jackson may change as he matures and I may have to stop taking him to the park. But for now, it is a wonderful way for him to socialize and exercise, which are two of the most important things for a Doberman.
 

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Many years ago I was a big fan of dog parks but that was when I had neutered/spayed dogs. I would never bring an intact dog to a dog park and in general I do not consider Dobermans to be dog park dogs. It doesn't mean there aren't a few but generally speaking. The same thing with Rottweilers but I did have an older neutered male that loved the dog park and went right up til he passed away.

I work at an emergency vet hospital and I can't tell you the number of dogs we see daily that have been attacked at the dog park. My feeling is why risk it? Why bring your dog to place where dogs are allowed to run uncontrolled by owners who know nothing about dog behavior and go there for their own socialization not their dogs?

I am getting a puppy this year and while I agree it is important for their socialization to be around dogs outside of their own pack I think how it is done is so very crucial to their development I don't think the dog park is the appropriate place. I will join a local Doberman club and let my puppy socialize with other puppies that I know are disease free and have owners that are trying to achieve the same goal that I am with my puppy. Which is socializing our puppies in a safe, clean environment. I don't want my puppy pinned down and bullied nor do I allow my puppy to do such things and I most certainly won't risk him being attacked and possibly ruined by the experience. Just my humble opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks again everyone for the replies to my thread.

I took Charlie to a ball park the other day by himself, and the little things I've done with him at home really paid off because he was able to do that outside of the home.

Half way through, a person and two dogs came into the ball park and I was a bit worried at first but Charlie was focused on me and when he did look over he didn't want to venture too far away from me. The other two dogs were running free and came close to Charlie at one point, but Charlie was too focused on playing fetch with me to care.

Although I'm glad he acted the way he did because it's confirmed any doubt I had about him. You guys have given me a lot to think about and I think it's best to avoid the dog park for Charlie's sake.
 

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11 years with a perfectly socialized dobe...never been to a dog park...ever.
- originally I set my dog up to win & learn / not just run around (IF just mindless exercise) with 4 leg distractions
Her early focus & distraction training, was in my control and teaching.
- our city now has a dog park, I don't see the attraction and never wanted to visited...Amy would easily be OK there, BUT also OK not being there to
 

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I live in a remote area of Spain yet still I have to drive to areas where I will not run into anyone, so my suggestions is drive if you have a car to somewhere remote so your boy can have a run or car share with someone or the like.

Seems to me whilst dog parks are a brilliant idea you cannot be certain the people using it have a brain cell inside their heads and so know how to behave with their dogs etc.

Not worth the risk.
 
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