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I am so glad to have found this forum to learn and grow to be a better Havy Mom and the best Mickey he can be. He turned one on June 29. I have a few challenges in between the ever growing mountain of love.

1. if I am in the same room as my front door, he clearly leads me to it if he wants to go out. If I am not, he does not bark or ring his bells attached to the door knob to tell me to let him out. Now over a year old, he has accidents inside. I am totally frustrated.

2. Is it safe to take him to a dog park with mainly smallish dogs, although not necessarily ones 13 lbs or so like he is. First time at a park, I had him on a leash yesterday and he clearly wanted to run and play, but I am fearful of him being hurt even by friendly playing surrounded by a bunch of dogs. And researching the pros and cons of dog parks, the cons seem to outweigh the pros. He has displayed some aggressive behavior with a few dogs where I live but that has been getting better with a lot of work and discipline from me. but well worth it. HELP!
 

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Metrowest, MA
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Welcome to the forum!!! They certainly are little loves!

1. if I am in the same room as my front door, he clearly leads me to it if he wants to go out. If I am not, he does not bark or ring his bells attached to the door knob to tell me to let him out. Now over a year old, he has accidents inside. I am totally frustrated.
It can be a LONG time before they develop a reliable “signal” that they need to go out. Until then, it is up to you to maintain a schedule that gets them out often enough that they do not need to have accidents inside the house if they have not been trained to use an indoor potty box, and it is probably too late to teach him that at this age. He also has too much freedom if he is ABLE to have accidents. Even though he is a year old, he is technically a puppy, and he certainly needs more supervision if he is having accidents. You need to keep him within your eye sight at all times in the house, or else put him in a pen or a crate if you can’t keep your eye on him until he is no longer having accidents.

In the mean time, REALLY work on training him to use the bells, if that’s what you want him to do. Don’t just expect it to happen. AND get him out every couple of hours so there are no further mistakes in the house!!! Back to potty training basics… because, in fact, he is not potty trained! ;)

2. Is it safe to take him to a dog park with mainly smallish dogs, although not necessarily ones 13 lbs or so like he is. First time at a park, I had him on a leash yesterday and he clearly wanted to run and play, but I am fearful of him being hurt even by friendly playing surrounded by a bunch of dogs. And researching the pros and cons of dog parks, the cons seem to outweigh the pros. He has displayed some aggressive behavior with a few dogs where I live but that has been getting better with a lot of work and discipline from me. but well worth it. HELP!
I do NOT take my dogs to dog parks EVER. Besides the possibility of altercations, it is a great place to pick up diseases, fleas and parasites. Yuck! However, if you do choose to use a dog park anyway, You should NOT keep your dog on a leash. Many dogs feel very vulnerable when they are on leash and the other dogs are not, and this causes them to become leash aggressive. Either stay away, or check things out from the safety of your car, then make the commitment and let your dog off leash as soon as you get through the gate!!!
 

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Everything Karen said above! Plus set your kitchen timer to remind you to get him out. I agree he is having too much freedom. Gate off some rooms so he is close by at all times. Give him freedom and fun only when he has just been pottied!
I do not like dog parks either. A very bad strain of kennel cough was in the area a few years ago and my vet said it was traced to our local dog park. He said not to go there. I have never been back.
If you feel you must go anyways, take him at a time when it is not busy. Have a look around at the other dogs before entering. If a dog appears aggressive, take a walk and go in when it leaves or return another day.
I have a very small fenced yard(it's mostly pool) but Shadow is happy to tear around the small area. He also has a few friends in the neighborhood that he loves. Plenty of socializing there and they love to go go for walks together. Maybe find a friend with a little guy to be his best friend.
 

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For puppy playtime I much prefer playdates with dog owners you know who have dogs you trust/that your dog likes! It's sometimes hard to find people who have friendly small dogs depending where you are, though. Dog daycares are a little safer than dog parks but you have to be very careful about the place you choose since they are largely unregulated by laws (sure this will depend on state law but it's hard to say since I'm only familiar with TX and FL) and even though most dogs will be vaccinated and tick/flea free it's not a guarantee that your dog won't be exposed to disease. Even still there are altercations that occur at dog daycares but I'd say less frequently than at dog parks, depending on the daycare and their practices. Best bet still is to arrange playdates with friends.
 

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Honestly, I wouldn't do daycare either. My dogs don't interact with other dogs unless I am present and can supervise.
 

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Honestly, I wouldn't do daycare either. My dogs don't interact with other dogs unless I am present and can supervise.
Yeah, that's fair. I'm honestly only comfortable with it myself because I work at one part time and can partly supervise who he gets to play with. He loves to socialize with the dogs there, but we have a handful of friends that we can visit too.
 

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Yeah, that's fair. I'm honestly only comfortable with it myself because I work at one part time and can partly supervise who he gets to play with. He loves to socialize with the dogs there, but we have a handful of friends that we can visit too.
Yes, if I worked there, it would be different. But that is not the case for most people! ;)
 
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Rather than dog parks, I would look to meeting neighbors or making friends with people who have similar-sized dogs with similar playstyles. I’ve met many people at the park and we’ve formed a happy dog (and human!) friend group that frequently has doggie playdates. All of our dogs are under 25lbs, friendly, and like to play with each other. I prefer this so much to the dog park.

As Piper has matured into a young adult and no longer puppy, ive come to see she much prefers playing 1-on-1 with other dogs and isnt very much into the chaos of large groups of dogs anyway. Officer Piper will fun police bark/break up chaotic rough dog play anyway lol (despite loving to engage in roughhouse wrestling herself! Oh the double standards!). She is a playdate kind of girl. I’ve seen too many frankly stupid things go on in dog parks, so i much prefer her to play with her established group of buddies.
 

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Rather than dog parks, I would look to meeting neighbors or making friends with people who have similar-sized dogs with similar playstyles. I’ve met many people at the park and we’ve formed a happy dog (and human!) friend group that frequently has doggie playdates. All of our dogs are under 25lbs, friendly, and like to play with each other. I prefer this so much to the dog park.

As Piper has matured into a young adult and no longer puppy, ive come to see she much prefers playing 1-on-1 with other dogs and isnt very much into the chaos of large groups of dogs anyway. Officer Piper will fun police bark/break up chaotic rough dog play anyway lol (despite loving to engage in roughhouse wrestling herself! Oh the double standards!). She is a playdate kind of girl. I’ve seen too many frankly stupid things go on in dog parks, so i much prefer her to play with her established group of buddies.
"Officer Piper" - love it. We call Perry the fun police or the grumpy old man because he does NOT like the other dogs racing around the house. Even though he likes both cousin Zadie and Finley (as he's been living with Fin the last 2 years and Zadie visits often/ we babysit sometimes) if the two of them are racing around and playing Perry gets very snarly/ baking at them :)
 

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"Officer Piper" - love it. We call Perry the fun police or the grumpy old man because he does NOT like the other dogs racing around the house. Even though he likes both cousin Zadie and Finley (as he's been living with Fin the last 2 years and Zadie visits often/ we babysit sometimes) if the two of them are racing around and playing Perry gets very snarly/ baking at them :)
Lol they’re so funny when it comes to what they find acceptable vs unacceptable. Piper will wrestle, playgrowl and play rough with the best of them but she keeps a watchful eye when the roughousing is going on between others.

If she deems something as too much or rude (like if one dog is humping another), she will rush in there to try to reestablish decorum 🙄. She has just plain outgrown the wild dog park scene. She is less ref-like with her friend pack and gives them more leeway to be what she considers “uncouth.” 🤣
 
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