Dog parks - good or bad idea?

(18 Posts)
Wolfie11 Sat 12-Sep-20 17:26:05

I decided to take my dog to a dog park today. I’m in the UK so it’s not like the ones in the US, it’s just a fenced off section within a big, city centre park. He is a 7 month old Alaskan Malamute. His recall is actually very good but I had planned to go there for 5 minutes with his ball to burn a little energy and then do some training/walking in the main park. We were the only ones there and then some other dogs appeared who he got on really well with so we ended up just staying there.

I’ve come away feeling that maybe it wasn’t the best experience for him. He played great with the other dogs and is very calm/gentle for his age but towards the end a few very boisterous bull breed type dogs came in and it just went really chaotic. He was humped, growled at, bashed into and I got jumped all over and covered in mud by other people’s dogs. He then took a disliking to a very boisterous staffie who had no manners. He just barked at it, nothing horrendous but it was very unlike him. The staffie only wanted to play but the noises it was making were frightening me so I didn’t blame him for being unhappy with it. This all only lasted for a few minutes, I put him on his lead quickly and we left and did a little training outside the enclosed section.

No one else seemed to be concerned by it but I felt it started off really well and then became really chaotic. All of the dogs at the end were between 6 months and a year too so I felt they were all potentially hormonal adolescents. I don’t plan to go back or if I do, I wouldn’t be hanging around with that amount of dogs there (10+). Am I wrong to feel it wasn’t a great situation? The other people there certainly seemed to think I was.

OP’s posts: |
RunningFromInsanity Sat 12-Sep-20 17:35:58

They either go really well with balanced dogs playing nicely or terribly with clashes in personality.
Small groups or one or two dogs playing is nice, it’s when you get more and more dogs joining in.

I prefer the dog parks where you can all do your own thing, but in an enclosed area.

Dogsarebetterthanpeople Sat 12-Sep-20 18:44:09

God no!

My dog isn’t sociable but even she was I would never take her to a dog park.

Loads of dogs in a relatively small space, a significant proportion probably overexcited and/or stressed and/or poorly trained and/or poorly socialised will never be s good idea.

Coffeeandcrumpet Sat 12-Sep-20 18:49:17

The problem with dog parks is most of the people that go there use it because they can't walk their dog anywhere else due to poor recall or general bad manners. Because its a dog park they believe none of this matters. We have one near us that is about 5 mins walk from beautiful heathland, it is always full of aggressive, badly behaved dogs and dog walkers walking ofter terrified dogs.

Floralnomad Sat 12-Sep-20 18:50:50

I’m actually not sure why we need them in this country as dogs can go offlead in most parks etc and I think they are a recipe for disaster - lots of over excited out of control dogs jumping on each other .

Stellaris22 Sat 12-Sep-20 19:17:47

I'm quite fortunate that the dog park we frequent has very well socialised dogs with owners who do recognise good dog etiquette. Therefore I do like them and am in favour of them.

On the occasions where there are boisterous dogs and owners who fail to recognise poor behaviour, this will be mentioned to the owner. We also let other owners know when to be wary of certain dogs/owners so it's always useful to know other dog owners.

But the behaviour you experienced is annoying (other owners should be more responsible) because it gives dog parks a bad rep.

PollyRoulson Sat 12-Sep-20 19:35:48

I hate them with a passion and will never ever take any of my dogs to a dog park.


vanillandhoney Sat 12-Sep-20 19:38:53

My dog would find them really, really stressful.

I'm a dog walker and he comes out in groups of up to four or five dogs, but that's the absolute maximum and he knows all the dogs, they know him and they all get on with each other.

I know they're useful for dogs with poor recall but I would rather pay to hire a private field. There are too many unknowns in dog parks and what seems like play can turn into a fight in seconds.

When I was out yesterday a bull terrier approached my two collies. It seemed fine but in seconds the terrier had hold of one the collies and a fight nearly broke out. I had to grab mine away to stop it - it was awful, and that was in an open space with just three dogs. The thought of that happening with a huge group of dogs in an enclosed park gives me the shivers!

Cauterize Sat 12-Sep-20 20:01:08

No, awful places.

Bergerdog Sat 12-Sep-20 21:53:47

Another here who hates them and would never set foot in one.

I don’t know why dogs need to play with groups of other dogs anyway, most of them look stressed and upset or are being bullied but owners fail to see it.

Wolfiefan Sat 12-Sep-20 21:59:43

I think they’re overwhelming for many dogs. A ball in a dog park? Bad idea if you’re not alone.
We tend to mooch and the dogs sniff. If we pass others they may or may not greet them. They certainly don’t play with all dogs we meet.
Dog parks can be densely populated and also used by people who CBA to train their dogs or manage their behaviour (not you OP!)
I would avoid!

Sitdowncupoftea Sun 13-Sep-20 00:58:46

You would be better looking to see if there is a private enclosed field near you. I use them as I have mals. Im not sure how big your Mal is but hes still too young to be knocked about like that from other dogs. He's probably big so other people seem to think it acceptable for rough play and it isn't. Google private enclosed field. I know someone who used to let their huskies off leash and train in a school tennis court. You could always ask someone with a field thats suitable if you could use it.

NeverHadANickname Sun 13-Sep-20 01:13:33

I'm in the US and the ones near me are just a fenced in area in a big park 😂 I have been a couple of times meeting other people I know and me and the dog loved it when there were just one or two other dogs we knew. It got a bit much all round when there were more and it was usually the people who were saying things like 'oh he is just introducing himself' and 'they look like they are having fun' who had the dogs that were causing trouble and they were not doing much about it. Either trying to play it down or oblivious to what was really happening. I decided not to go back anyway but someone I knows dog actually got attacked at a dog park after that. The dog is fine, mainly superficial wounds, but I just think there is too much energy and excitement and too many unknowns.

GolightlyMrsGolightly Sun 13-Sep-20 08:15:33

We’ve not got dog parks but we do take 9 month old to a popular dog walking area, and have been since she was little, but we’ve learnt which dogs and owners to avoid and are very wary of unknown dogs.

With the right mix it’s tremendous fun and the dogs enjoy it plating with other dogs of the right temperament and size. I think she’s learnt stuff from it too. And there are a couple of dogs who we ‘now get on well.

But we keep a close eye on her and leave if there’s too many dogs or too many crap owners.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Sun 13-Sep-20 09:40:45

I listened to a podcast the other day where a trainer said that he deliberately takes his dog to a large unfenced park next to a main road, because for a dog to be off-lead there, the owner has to be sure it has solid recall, so all the dogs are well-trained and well-mannered.

The antithesis of a dog park.

vanillandhoney Sun 13-Sep-20 15:54:04


I listened to a podcast the other day where a trainer said that he deliberately takes his dog to a large unfenced park next to a main road, because for a dog to be off-lead there, the owner has to be sure it has solid recall, so all the dogs are well-trained and well-mannered.

The antithesis of a dog park.

Interesting, but also potentially incredibly dangerous.

All it takes is a furry animal to be spotted for a dog to bolt and be hit by a car. I walk lots of dogs with excellent recall but I'd never have them off the lead near a main road. Far too risky if it goes wrong.

Wolfie11 Sun 13-Sep-20 16:31:11

Thanks for all the replies, I’m glad I’m not alone in my thinking. The other owners felt like this was all normal but I was a little traumatised 😂. Pup has very good recall (for now!) so we don’t really need an enclosed area, I just thought I would take advantage of it being there. I don’t think I will return which is a bit of a shame as it when it was just a few dogs it was really nice. If I do need an enclosed area in future I will look at renting a field, there are some near me.

We had a lovely off lead walk around the loch this morning with some friend’s dogs which was much more enjoyable 🐶.

OP’s posts: |
GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Sun 13-Sep-20 21:23:07

Interesting, but also potentially incredibly dangerous.
The bloke in question has a dog he competes in IPO or whatever it's called now. I'm guessing he reckoned he could get it to down at 100 yards with a single command, whatever the temptation.

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