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Discussion Starter #1
I feel like I've asked a ton of questions on here lately but sometimes I don't know where else to turn.

Hobie had her last puppy obedience class today and at one point the trainer asked the group if anyone has taken their dog to a dog park. I proudly raised my hand and said "I took Hobie for the 1st time yesterday!! She LOVED it!"

And then the trainer proceeded to blast me (in front of the whole class no less). She guaranteed me that the 29 other dogs at the park aren't vaccinated or de-wormed, and they are pack dogs and will pick on the "weak" one (I guess implying that Hobie is "that weak one" because she's 4 months old) and if they ever turn on her no one will be able to break up the fight.

It was very upsetting to hear this, as Hobie really seemed to enjoy herself yesterday. She ran with dogs of all kinds - Boxers, Bulldogs, Labs, Weimers, Poodles, mutts, all big and small. Not once did she get roughed up.

I was so excited to take her back today and now I'm second guessing myself. The park has an "all tags must be visible" policy and the owners there all seemed very nice and I could tell they were "regulars."

Any opinons on this? I really want Hobie to be well-socialized and the exercise was wonderful.

Thanks,

Mel
 

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The trainer is wrong! However well intentioned her message was meant, to simply put it in that context is wrong. She also violated the Cardinal rule of teaching: Praise in public, chastise in private. Very unprofessional in her behavior.
Domesticated dogs aren't "pack animals". Yes they have that instinct, but the latent behavior is developed as a group There is a clear hierarchy and highly developed social communication mechanism amongst wild animals like wolves and coyotes, and feral dogs.
Basically most domesticated dogs are "retarded" in their communication mechanism amongst each other. Simply put; They don't speak dog very well, and each one of the dogs in the dog park is in the same position as your dog. There is no social order amongst them and no clear communication as a "pack" has been developed.
There is no reason at all for an indiscriminate assemblage of domesticated dogs to suddenly turn on one dog as a whole and kill it. Wild animals, mammals in the wild, kill for food, cull the weak, and sometimes over territory or breeding. If however a group of dogs is left together long enough, basic instincts will arise and they will arrange themselves in a social hierarchy. Then you have a problem. In rural farm areas this problem is usually corrected with a .223 Swift, because unlike wild animals, they will attack for poorly developed reasons, and a calf is worth a lot more than a dog. ;)

If it's any consolation, realize that thousands of hunting dogs are turned loose during hunting seasons all over the place, in managed wildlife areas, another name for a Dog Park :), and in 25+ years of hunting I have never even heard of an incident other than isolated squabbles. I won't say that no one has ever had their dog seriously injured, or killed by another dog during hunting season, but I've never heard of it.

If your dog is up to date on her shots, and this park is as controlled as you indicate, the rest of the dogs are probably up to date on their shots also. It would seem to me that an owner concerned enough for the dog to take time out of their day to go to a dog park is probably keeping their dog up to date on shots and worming.
Dogs are pretty tough little critters, they aren't newborn infants.

Take Hobie to the park. Watch and protect her, but let her be a dog. She needs to learn to speak dog also.
 

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We followed our vet's, and maybe breeder's, advice as to when to start taking her to the dog park. I honestly don't remember how old she was, but she had all of her shots etc. I'm guessing it was in the 6 month range, and we probably went sooner than we were advised to. I had never had a dog that I could take to a dog park and was pretty nervous, especially when she was young and not 100% responding to my commands. But overall she is great at the park, usually the fastest dog there, both in quickness and open field speed, so I know she can probably get away from any dog she wants to. The few times another dog has started getting too aggressive with her she has easily darted away, although I'm sure she's just hoping it will turn into a nice game of chase. She never plays in the melee of other dogs but runs around the fringes trying to find someone to chase her.
 

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Pinapple Princess please do not let that trainer discourage you.
She needs a lesson in manners.

Now as for Hobie, good for you. Take her back and let her make friends. We did that with Kian at 4 months too. He was being socialized and he loved it.
Now, he does get picked on for some reason when we do go to the off leash dog parks, not sure why. It's usually by the bigger dogs. If they can catch him they usually body check him and the odd time he will submit.
Now, this is not to to say he doesn't hold his own. He is getting better and I am always keeping any eye on him if I feel he is being picked on too much for my likeing.
Keep taking her to the park, it's great socializing for her and great exercise, both physically and mentally.
Let her be the dog she is.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the words of affirmation. The trainer has made several comments that have caused my husband and me to scratch our heads, and we're not sure that we're going to continue training at that facility. I'm just not that wild about her attitude, when we're there to learn and have a good experience with our dogs.

I took Hobie back to the park for a little while today. It is an off-leash park, not sure if I made that clear. She had a good time and was the hit of the park if I may say so myself - everyone either wanted to know what kind of dog she is or saw her and said "Ooh look! A Vizsla!" Though sometimes she seemed more interested in the people than the dogs. ::)

She was definitely recognized as "the baby" and I asked a couple of owners if it's ok for her to be there. They all agreed I should just keep an eye on her like most of the owners do. We were good until a woman showed up with two Rottweilers - as soon as she walked in she looked at Hobie and said "Oh they're going to chase the little one." And then her son encouraged it, which ticked me off. Her dog kept cornering Hobie and pinning her. I could tell she was scared, her tail was between her legs and she kind of shut down. So we called it a day. Actually several people left after that.

I think we'll go back next weekend and continue to keep an eye on her.
 

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Pineapple, those types of instances with the Rotti's is why I seldom take Kian to these place nowadays.
Too many owners seem to encourage that sort of behaviour from their dogs.
Imagine how much fun it would be if all the dogs had owners who would just care enough to correct that sort of behaviour.... it would be a hoot.
 

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That's a shame. Firstly that your trainer was so negative and secondly that the owner of the rotties was so unhelpful!

I thought trainers encouraged puppies to be socialised early on to prevent anti-social behaviour. Our puppy class did "controlled play" where the dogs are allowed to play but every few minutes you call your dog back or just get it's attention momentarily then allow them to go back to play. It just breaks things up and stops them from becoming too intense or excited about playing.

Good on you for going back - don't let one or two irresponsible owners put you off. Hopefully you will meet lots of lovely owners who watch what is going on with the dogs and step in before it gets out of control. I am lucky in that there are a few people who I bump into regularly that have been very encouraging to both Merc and myself. Not everyone has the same training philosophy but everyone has a positive attitude and cares about each others dogs - I don't allow Merc to leap about on the 12 year old scottie who is getting old and slow for example.
Just keep an eye on Hobie and make sure she can get away from any situation she isn't happy about because you don't want her to get scared. And if you can't change how things are going, like today, leave. There will be other days that you and her can have a great time.
Good luck finding a new trainer too.
 
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