Apollo's first day at the dog park...Why did it seem he was poked at

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EPApollo's picture
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So we took Apollo to the dog park for the first time. He did very well except at one point, about five dogs cornered him and just kinda poked at him. I am glad he did not get at all aggressive, but is there a reason the dogs did this. I just let it happen, it really looked like some kind of initiation to me. I didn't mind it at all and I let him experience it, and I do not want anyone to feel bad for Apollo but I do want to know why this happened. I guess out of curiosity for myself and incase it is Apollo's turn to do the picking one day I need to be educated :)

DJ's Dad's picture
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If the other dogs were frequent visitors to that dog park, they probably had formed sort of a 'temporary pack' for that location.  It's THEIR park, and Apollo was a visitor, so they were testing him to see if he would fight or flight.  If Apollo has good dog park manners (not aggressive, but doesnt let the others bully him either) they will soon see him as a 'regular' and wont poke at him as much.  There are a lot of pros and cons to dog parks. 

EPApollo's picture
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So Ziva's dad, do you take your dobies to a dog park? He surely defended himself until there were just too many dogs around and I guess he was overwhelmed. Do you mind mentioning a few of the pro's and con's? I want him to be as socialized as possible so others can see that dobie's are far from what their reputation is and that their reputation for being aggressive is completely unwarranted.

D and Evie's picture
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That scenario sounds fairly routine to me and, as long as the other dogs' owners were there and had eyes on their dogs' behavior I wouldn't have a problem with it(I assume this is a fairly small park).

 

Evie's a frequent park goer -- she's at parks at least twice a day for at least an hour each time. In our case she's focused on me(fetching and playing) about 80% of the time there and roughly 20% playing with other dogs that she knows. I often see her 'poke' when encountering a dog for the first time -- it's usually right before or after a play-bow.

 

Pros/Cons? that's really up to you and your own goals. 

 

That said, dog parks are not always perfect -- I'll see a scuffle from time to time(I have yet to witness anything more serious than superficial bite wound but have heard of more serious incidents). I carry a first-aid kit in my backpack when we go to the parks %100 of the time including a blood clotting agent that military medics use.

 

Other owners can also sometimes be annoying -- typically, by not paying attention to what their own dogs are doing. Just remember that it's perfectly acceptable for you to ask a dog's owner to call his/her's dog away from your's for any reason, so, don't be afraid to ask.

 

Evie loves the parks and we've met more than a few other dobes at them. 

 

 

 

 

Lady Kate's picture
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I think it depends on a lot of variables including the park itself. We don't have any here in Baja, so when we took Sofia to one in the States she was totally overwhelmed. She would meet and greet all the owners and ignore the dogs.

When a standard poodle came to call and wanted to play, she was appalled by the hair cut and when he slobbered on her.. it was : " Eww! Eeww!! Ewww!!! Mom, slobber.. .get. it. off. me. now!"

Luke_Sian's picture
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LOL oh Sophia...such a lady :p 

Harley used to love the dog parks, but since we have moved we don't have any where we are. So I take Harley to the dog beach and a big oval so he can run off leash about 4 - 5 times a week. 

But he has to be on a long lead for the first half hour because he is so excited he tends to not pay attention to me. Once he settles down I take off the lead and he remembers his manners most of the time.

I found the dog park great for socializing him but found some owners very irritating when they wouldn't call off their dog. I put up an ad on gumtree and asked for well mannered large sized dogs to meet for a playdate a few times a month. Harley now has 2 dobes, a great dane, a few pitty's and a staffy he plays with alternatively a couple times a month. It gets him around other dogs and people and it's in a very controlled environment. All the dogs are well trained and well mannered and I much prefer this arrangement to a dog park :)

DJ's Dad's picture
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@EPApollo--I take Ziva to a dog park maybe once a month, since the closest one to me is in another town and a 30 minute drive one way.  She is sort of a 'loner', and would much rather follow me around or explore the trees, grass, creeks, etc than to be bothered with chasing or being chased by other dogs. That sort of thing just does NOT appeal to her in the least.  She is cautious when another dog approaches her, but isnt aggressive....in fact, if given the choice of staying to growl at a growling dog or just turning around and walking off, Ziva chooses to walk away.  She does go up to the humans and sniff them and see if anyone will give her a scritch here or there, but other than that, she doesnt socialize with other dogs very much.  I take her to group dog walks weekly where she gets a lot of sociaization with dogs of various sizes and breeds and a lot of humans as well.

My personal 'pros and cons' of dog park areas are:

Negatively: there are often owners that dont watch their dogs.  They get too busy socializing with each other or texting or phone calling to even know where their dog is, and usually those owners are the ones with the dogs that like to bully other dogs. Too many people take their dogs to the dog park and can't control them---no recall skills and cant break up a fight if one happens.  I dont think dog parks are a good place to take a young dog or a puppy. I wont take DJ to the one I take Ziva to because even though she's growing bigger all the time, she's still too young and vulnerable to be turned loose around dogs that could intimidate her, bully her, or fight her.  I dont want her to have a bad experience with other dogs if I can avoid it. 

On the positive side: it's a great place to let your dog run and expell some energy, especially if you live in an apartment or dont have a fenced in yard where your dog can get lots of heavy exercise.  Sociaization is a plus, provided that the other dogs in the park have manners and dont try to beat your dog up. 
 

Tinks65's picture
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just my two cents :) ... My experience with the dog park around the corner from my house has been largely positive. I'm fortunate that it seems as though the majority of dog owners who frequent it are responsible. I've been taking Jade there since she was about 4 months old. We go at the same time every day as do several others. There is Cairo the greyhound, Mick (Jade's BFF) a dobie, then there's Wiley the daschund, Buck the lab mix, Hunter is another dobie that usually comes at that time. I've found that the weekends tend to be more unpredictable. Also, I've found that there is a morning group and also a late afternoon group. Today we went late afternoon so she didn't get to see mick and the crew but played for an hour or so with Astro (another fav of hers about the same age, he's a spaniel mix of some kind). I've heard stories about another park in my area that make me want to steer clear so for now we just stick with the one.  I think the socialization with the other dogs has been wonderful for her but also the people. The other owners are wonderful dog lovers and give lots of affection and positive attention. A good hour or two at the park and a 4 mile walk/run with me in the evenings keep her on an even keel. :)

chrismg's picture
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Where do you live that you have a 'dog beach'??  Would absolutely love that for mine!!!!

Lady Kate's picture
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This is a dog AND a horse beach.. right around the corner from where we live. Only one problem.. Sofia will chase the seagulls right into the water and just keep going. SO we keep her leashed.. ( Run Mikie RUN!!)

scotty's picture
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Lady Kate - memories are flooding back of our first doberman, Cass, we took her to the beach and she too chased the seagulls, head up in the air and ran straight into the water, boy did we panic as she was only about six months old.  I don't think she even noticed the waves, just had to chase that pesky seagull.  

I would love a dog beach too - looks beautiful.