Dog Parks – A Great Idea That Isn’t Always a Great Reality

It's best when Sighthounds romp with other Sighthounds and when all are wearing their muzzles.

It's best when Sighthounds romp only with other Sighthounds and when all are wearing their muzzles.

The Sighthound Underground is not a big fan of dog parks. In fact, we're officially against taking your Sighthound to a public dog park.

 

All too often we've seen unfamiliar dogs get aggressive or small dogs get frisky and try to “run with the big dogs.” Either way, someone gets hurt. And while it’s usually the dog owner who is to blame when things go awry, it’s almost always the dog that pays the price.

 

So SHUG endorses private dog parks--with screening policies--and “play dates” with familiar dogs. We also encourage Sighthound owners to consider using basket racing muzzles. They won't hurt your dog and may save you--and your fellow dog owners--the pain and expense of an injury.

 

Yes, we know that muzzles aren't always popular--but we think they're a great way to introduce new dogs to each other . . . and they come in such pretty colors!

 

Whether at a dog park or on a play date or in your own living room, always pay attention when your dogs play and take note of these signs. When dogs display one or more of these behaviors it can mean that it's time for a break (credit to Petfinder.com):

 

•A dog repeatedly pins another down, with no reciprocation

•A dog repeatedly chases another, with no reciprocation

•A dog does not back off when the other dog gives a high-pitched yelp

•A dog continues to pursue another who is trying to end the play session by hiding.

 

Making sure play stays fun for everyone is the dog owner’s responsibility. If you’re not sure, take your dog for a walk instead. That’s always a good thing!

7 Responses

  1. SHUG Foster Mom

    Not only do basket muzzles come in pretty colors, you can also bling them up with a Bedazzeler.

    • Moderator

      I think we need to see photos of that please.

  2. Carouzer

    Excellent advice. Some people, stupidly, believe a dog park is where you take your dog to socialize them. In fact, unless your dog has been properly socialized, you should not take them to a dog park. Case in point–I took my greyhound to the local dog park and all she wanted to do was smell and jog around the perimeter of the area because she did not like the wood-chip footing in the middle of the park. A woman came in with husky whose hackles were up from the start. She was there to “socialize” her dog. I took my dog out and prepared to leave. As we walked by the fence, the husky jumped another dog that was minding its own business, knocking it down and standing over it growling. The woman grabbed her husky by the collar and said, “he’s just playing.” She did not take the dog out. There’s no doubt this dog was NOT playing. We haven’t been back since.

  3. Joyce

    I don’t really know people near me who have sighthounds, but would love to find some to arrange playdates. Can SHUG help get us together with through this blog? Or a meetup group?
    Thanks!

    • Moderator

      We have “play dates” with regularity in the Washington DC area. Where are you located?

  4. Emily

    I’ d love to be able to take my ex racer to a private dog park, however in Rochester, MN, the closest “private” park isn’t really suitable for sighthounds, has a fee I can’t really afford, and is farther away than any of the other public parks. I have a fenced yard, but it’s a small city lot, does SHUG have any suggestions for off leash play time for those of us who have little to no access to private parks?

    • Moderator

      We have “fun runs” and “play dates” in the Washington metro area at the homes of sighthound owners with large fenced yards. For many years, an informal greyhound group also rented out an indoor riding arena in Northern Virginia one night a month for greyhound owners. You might reach out to your local greyhound groups to see if anyone has a fenced yard or if you can find an indoor ring or other type facility willing to “lease” to you for a nominal amount

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