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Monday
Dec212009

Off-leash Dog Parks and "play dates" 

With so many people living in apartments, condos and townhomes with tiny yards many are finding it difficult to find ways to get excercise for their pups.  The trendy thing popping up is off-leash dog parks.

I will go on record as saying that I DO NOT recommend off-leash dog parks or off leash "play-dates/meet-ups" with large groups comprised of different breeds of dogs.  (Small, supervised, breed specific groups are OK). At the very least dog parks are a cess-pool of contagious disease and parasites, and at the worst, they are a place for your dog to become seriously injured and maybe even killed.  What most people do not realize is that when two dogs get into a fight, the other dogs in the area will all join in the fight. Very scary and dangerous situation.

Too many people take unsocialized, ill mannered dogs to these parks and let them loose without any supervision. The majority of the owners treat the day at the dog park as more of a social outing for themselves-chatting/texting, drinking their latte, everything under the sun except paying attention to their dog and the dogs around them.  Most dog owners are also uneducated on canine behavior and what cues to watch for.  All things that contribute to dog attacks. 

Several years ago I was speaking with a local and highly respected dog trainer. It was also her belief that off leash dog parks were a horrible idea.  She stated that it is a misconception that dogs need to socialize with other dogs. They need to be polite when they meet or encounter another dog. But they don't really need social time with other dogs. They need to socialize and bond with their humans.

The following are links to two really great articles.

Dog Parks A-recipe-for-Disaster

Dog Parks-Why they are a Bad Idea!!

 

If you wish to socialize your Frenchie in a safe manner the wonderful guys at Tahoma French Bulldogs have been hosting Frenchie walks for a number of years.  You can sign up for their walks here

Frenchie Walks

 

And the French Bulldog Club of Puget Sound has recently put together some small, breed specific gatherings.   There are also a number of Farmers Markets in our area that allow well behaved dogs-Fremont Sunday Market as well as the Ballard Market are just a few. Check with your local farmers markets to see if they allow dogs.

Again, I will stress that off-leash dog parks are a BAD idea.  If you truly love your dog and want to keep them safe you will take them for a walk (on a leash) around your neighborhood, or maybe to one of the local farmers markets, or some other fun outing where dogs are allowed. But on a leash or a breed specific gathering with people who are knowledgeable in canine behavior  If you still insist on taking your dog to an off-leash gathering please pick up a can of bear mace/pepper spray at your local sporting goods store beforehand.

 

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