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Why people fear dog parks, some real owner quotes !

LOVELY-DOGS-IN-MELBOURNE-DOG-PARKit wouuld be funny if it wasnt so sad, and causing so many dogs to lose the best thing in their life, contact with other social dogs. The foloowing is some group "think" on a recent dog trainer fb post about dog parks being bad.  These were some of their statements and what the reality is behind them::

Real life inappropriate 'pro training' dog people's thoughts

1          THEM: "Hate going to dog parks. I love using the areas near them to prove my obedience. "

US :  They set out with a negative mind set, and think a dog park is there for them to reinforce their dogs training its "obedience". They have little concept about socialisation (the ability of any dog to meet any other dog and react friendly and socially).

The obedience thing often is more about their than safety or dog balance.  After a dog is trained, it should be in dog parks. Parks should not be there to have unstable owners train their unbalanced dogs, forever, and earn a dog trainers star.

2 THEM:  "Weirdly, in the suburb I'm in, there are more reported dog attacks from walking dogs on the street, than there is at off lead dog parks - so its a bit of a bind."

US :  They think its weird that dogs are social in a dog park??  How weird is this human?  When you walk your dog down the street, its going to meet the largest concentration of dogs that have never visited an open space and been off lead, that it ever will.

Many of these sad imprisoned dogs are protecting territory, because when you are in prison, that is all you know to do.  How is the option of going to a dog park and encouraging your mostly social dog to be 100% social a "bind". 

3  THEM :  They say that they are a 'dog walker', "Not a fan of entering a dog park unless it's empty. I generally charge a surcharge if owners really want me to take a dog there. But whether I go or not is still all at my discretion."

US - Pity the poor owners and dog who think this "dog walker" is any good. 

Why people fear dog parks, and why they are needed by your dog

lovely-melbourne-dog-parksI find it horrendous and disgusting that actual dog owners (apparently) are putting out there about dog parks in Melbourne.

If you don't believe it, please enjoy some quotes I found online from a well known (massively self promoting) dog "trainer" looking to stir up some controversy about dog parks.  Essentially their premise was to ask an innocuous question like :

Dog parks - love them, or  hate them. Tell us your experiences?

Of course this cult of personality has trained minions that jump at every word they commit to digital blogs, not unlike trained monkeys salivating for praise.  The premise seems simple, do you like dog parks, but the background is far more insidious.

Some unscrupulous dog trainers have been recently promoting owning the biggest, most powerful dog breeds, even those banned in other countries, under some kind of nationalism clause. The kind of dog that most people will never effectively control. They are promoting this as some kind of self empowerment (own a killer dog for protection) or be a libertarian (the needs of the one outweigh the safety of society).

The propaganda is actually there to ensure they have a steady stream of customers. Because if you have a huge powerful dog, untrained with the propensity for killing any animal (not a lot of decimation), then of course training seems like a good idea.

Having a nice day in the dog park is more than just opening the gate.

archie-atlas-dog-playing-melbourneYou dont have to be a yoga guru or state of mind scientist to know that when you are living in the moment, but you and your dog are fully engaged and having the best time.

Picture this,  almost every time I met someone in the park (who doesn't go there often) I get the same story ' you have an ideal job'  or  'aren't you lucky to do this for a living'.

There are several things that come to mind about these comments:

They are usually made by novices who don't take their dog walks seriously. Dont put the hard yards into training or daily dog walks, socialisation, cooling down over playing dogs, preventing dog fights etc

These comments usually happen in spring or autumn in optimal 'human' weather.

People dont realise that in optimal 'human'  weather it is often snake season, or that if the sun is out, your dog's have just as much chance of being sun burned on the face or developing cataracts from UV exposure as their human handlers. So for me an ideal day isnt always sunny (particularly when it gets warmer and the UV is higher.

These people's primary jobs pay four times my annual income as a pro dog walker - yet they love their dog so much, they are not actually willing to ensure they have the best where it counts - walks and meat based food.

The notion of a great day in the park for me is often very different from a person with a single dog or who doesn't come to the park that often.

When I run a larger sized pack, I want to see that every dog is participating or at least not too anxious or straying behind the pack etc. Just because your dog is older or smaller and dont want to play doesn't mean that they cant explore or shouldn't feel safe exploring.  There are many roles that dogs take in forming a strong pack, and they are just as important as the alpha dog role.

How long does it take to make a dog be social?

dog-socialisation-melbourneA fully social dog is a miracle to see, for anyone who owns an anti-social dog. Firstly what do you think social is?

There are probably many tech definitions of social dogs but I guess they should all  lead to creating a dog that is able to mingle or initiate play or stay away from dogs depending on how the other dogs are acting.

Why is important to have a social dog?

Well initially dog training and dog socialisation go hand in hand. But after you have trained your dog the basics. Stay, come, sit etc ... then that work is often done. Yes with some breeds you may need refresher course on dog training, but they are not usually a life long task.

Dog socialisation is usually done by dogs and opportunity with only slight guidance by the owners. A dog trainer cannot force a dog to feel comfortable with itself or other dogs. BUT exposure in a good environment (ie plenty of other social 'fun') dogs is the main method that this is accomplished.

Ironically we usually come across packs of social dogs and packs of non social dogs. Non social dogs are interested in fight or flight. They are anxious because they were not exposed to dog play at a puppy stage, or exposed continually after that.

Why dogs walks are for EVERY personality of dog. Case study Vizsla

vizsla-dog-walk-socialisationBefore I became a dog walker, I once thought that dogs of the same breed, similar age, similar size were often quite generic in behaviour.  But of course there is nothing further from the truth.

It is easy to pigeon hole something when you have only seen one or two of it. But with dogs, I am amazed how much not just their personalities show through to be different, but their energy levels and proclivities to play.

For instance the first vizsla I regularly walked was Otto.  He was the nicest young puppy, full of life and curiosity and play. However as he past year one of his life, and adulthood beckoned he became more withdrawn.  Then we began walking Atlas. Atlas was very similar to young Otto, but even more energy. The divergence in personality formation, was that while Otto became quieter, Atlas seemed to become more wild in his plays, but he also became more social and adjusted exactly to the level of play and size of dog he was wanting play from.

These vizslas came on our pack walks on different days so they didn't always coincide together, but you could see that as Otto preferred walking slowly with the human handlers and smaller or older dogs, Atlas picked on the biggest fastest dogs to play with - he was all about excitement.

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