Uncomfortable at Dog Park - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2017, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Uncomfortable at Dog Park

The weather was barely good enough for a few days and things were drier than usual so I decided to have a go at the local dog park. It's separated into sections for the small dogs and the large dogs. Let me say, it wasn't that beautiful happy moment for my havs that I was hoping it would be. They didn't get hurt and weren't attacked, but they weren't thrilled about it and showed their discomfort for most of the time we were there. It was just overwhelming, in part because it was very crowded. Also, there was just bad manners going on all around. More than one dog owner brought in their large breed puppies to the small dog area. I get that large breed puppies are smaller than full grown dogs, but they ACT different than small breeds and obviously hadn't had much training or socialization yet.

I realized pretty quickly that Raff and Sass weren't interested in playing with other dogs, but were happy to stroll with me off leash on the track that goes around the outer edge. If we came across other dogs and they seemed uncomfortable, we could turn around and go the other way. It was going pretty well, and I had up-tails and smiley dogs for a bit, until this guy brought his herding dog puppy through a gate (I didn't know was there) between the large dog side and small dog side. We were just approaching the gate as the guy came through. Raffy immediately did an about face and went the other way. This larger breed puppy decided to chase at full speed, which made Raffy go as fast as hav legs can go, and then start yipping at the other dog "LEAVE ME ALONE!!!" The owner did not attempt call their dog back, but I did manage to get Raffy to return to me, and as he did he jumped up into my arms in fear. Now, the dog didn't bite or snap or growl at Raffy and was intending to play probably, but also did not know to interrupt itself and get out of Raffy's space. It was obvious that this was a bad situation for my dogs. And it wasn't the first large breed puppy/small dog altercation during the 20 minutes we were there. The first one happened between a lab puppy and someone else's small dog. In that scenario, the lab bulldozed the two or three little dogs before their owners told the lab owner to take her puppy out of the small dog area.

I really want my dogs to get some off-leash outdoor time not in our yard, but if this is what we have to deal with, it's just not going to happen. We may just have to stick to loose leash walks on a nearby biking/jogging trail. I'm supposed to keep my dogs socialized, but I'm not a very social person myself and don't have an abundance of dog-owning friends. They do extremely well with people, but they are initially cautious with other dogs until they get to know them. Getting to introduce slowly at a dogpark is just not a thing, I think. This is really a vent post more than anything because I'm frustrated about how it went and how scared Raffy got. I've never heard him make that kind of yip/yelp sound before.

Afterwards we went to the special pet store and got pets and kisses and bully sticks. Tails became up and waggy again.

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2017, 09:31 PM
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I'm sorry your pups didn't have a good experience at the dog park. Today, Emmie attended a Havanese Meetup in South Seattle. We get together the last Saturday of the month in the small dog area at Westcrest Park. There were 15-20 Havs attending. Maybe you can join us sometime.

Jeanne and Emmie

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2017, 10:56 PM
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I'd love to be close enough to go to the Seattle meet-ups! I went to one many years ago when I lived in the area, and really enjoyed it. The Havs all seem to recognize each other as being Havs, too.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 09:09 AM
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I use long lines, 30 ft., when I want to give Leo and Rex the feel of off lead but want them under my control. We have parks with plenty of open space where I can let the run and chase each other without them getting tangled around trees or shrubs. I can also keep a watch for any loose dogs (they are permitted but people don't always follow the rules) and can call the boys back to me with the assurance of the lead for reeling in if they don't immediately start back. I gave up on dog parks several years ago. People often don't pay enough attention to their dogs and I just didn't want to put my dogs into that setting.

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 09:40 AM
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Loki likes the dog park when there are other small dogs there. As soon as a questionable dog comes in - we leave. This morning when we were walking there were only small medium dogs at the park. They ran around and chased and Loki was having fun. As soon as a big dog came in, we all left. It was rather amusing.

There is another small dog park we go to too. I am just really vigilant about the other dogs that are there. As soon as I am not comfortable or it looks like Loki is feeling stressed we just casually leave.

He does prefer other Havanese or small fluffy dogs!

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 09:56 AM
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Oh poor babies I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. Whimsy and I have never been to a dog park..and never will. Just me,I don't care for them.
We lead a sheltered life I guess. LOL.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Askavi View Post
Let me say, it wasn't that beautiful happy moment for my havs that I was hoping it would be. They didn't get hurt and weren't attacked, but they weren't thrilled about it and showed their discomfort for most of the time we were there. It was just overwhelming, in part because it was very crowded. Also, there was just bad manners going on all around.
This is the problem with dog parks! I generally avoid them. Not only are some dogs not socialized, but some owners bring sick dogs. I DO NOT want Ricky drinking out of the common water source. I agree with you that dog breed is more important than dog weight or size in segregating dogs. Just too many things can go wrong at a dog park. The least that can happen is a traumatized dog while the most is a severely injured dog.

Now having said that, we organize play groups of 2 to 5 dogs Ricky's size, in a private area. All the owners know each other well. All the dogs know each other well. We know the temperament of each dog. We bring our own water in a sealed bottle. We know when a dog isn't feeling well and he is excused from the group until he has been to the Vet. Each owner picks up after their dog immediately. We limit play time to 30 to 60 minutes. Each dog has a wonderful time. Some dogs engage in rowdy play, wrestling, chasing (a dog I know very well) and some just want to sniff around and explore (the intellectual types), and some older dogs just want to lay by their owner and watch all the activities (the "been there, done that" types). It is all good socialization.

I would try hooking up with the local Havanese playgroup. Havanese seem to recognize their breed and most of the time seem to be more compatible. But realize that some Havanese are extroverts and some are introverts. Let your dogs be whatever they are comfortable with being at the time. Don't force things. If your dogs are not having fun in any situation, remove them immediately and try another time.

No need to apologize about being an introvert. Momi tends to be an introvert.....until she meets another Havanese owner and then all she wants to talk about is Havanese, share experiences, laugh at their antics, trade tips on care, and enjoy the camaraderie. You would get along great with Momi and other Havanese owners.

I think there is a solution for you. You will just have to experiment and see what works best for you and your Havadoggies. It appears that a traditional dog park is not a good solution for you and your furkids.

Ricky's Popi
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Last edited by Ricky Ricardo; 02-26-2017 at 10:21 AM.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 10:15 AM
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We never go to the dog park because Scout and Truffles don't enjoy it. They love to run and it just isn't large enough. My husband takes them to the park where there is a large field. Scout walks around to everyone insisting that they pet him. Truffles loves to run like the wind.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 10:59 AM
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So sorry you had that experience, Askavi. Shama has been to a couple of dog parks when we've been traveling, but I haven't brought her to the local one yet. I keep coming across stories about bad encounters, and that makes me not want to bother. We have a great fenced-in yard. I just wish we knew more Havanese in the area who could come visit . . .

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 11:15 AM
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Dog parks have their place ,but are not for everyone. The dog needs to be conditioned to playing with other dogs first and foremost. It is not the place to learn socialization. The owner has to be educated in body language. Here are some guidelines .
Risky chasing behaviors almost always include out of control and high arousal chasing that may include one of more of the following: group chase, hard physical contact, pinning, high tail carriage, neck or throat fixation and the chasee hiding, or trying to get away.
Mobbing is a group of individual dogs approaching, harassing, controlling or attacking a single dog. This can be with or without bloodshed.
Targeting is one dog following or pursuing another dog relentlessly, exclusively, obsessively. It’s relentless engagement that may or may not include many of the behaviors displayed in Risky Chasing.
Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior through the use of physical overpowering, hard contact, body slamming, hip-checking, shoulder-checking, relentless engagement, chase or ganging up to affect an individual dog.
Hunting is when a dog moves around the dog park going from dog to dog, looking for something to jab, chase, poke, pounce on, roll. This is not looking for a playmate, but forcing himself on other dogs.

here's a good article Animal Behavior Associates, Inc. Behavior Consulting
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