Introducing to the Dog Park
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    So I would like to take Basil to the dog park and be a frequent visitor there as my sister takes her golden retriever at least once a week and I think it would be a great experience for him. I'm worried about it though because although he walks really well on a leash, he still pulls when he sees another dog or person he wants to visit. Does this mean that he would run off with another dog or person or just that he would run up to visit and then come back? Does anyone have any advice on introducing a puppy to the dog park atmosphere? I asked my sister if there were any fences and she said no, just lots of physical boundaries… dense bush, etc. She said she recommends that I wait until all of his puppy training is finished and that he's reliable with the wait/stay command because of the parking lot which is quite busy. She also said that maybe I could bring Basil on leash to the park with them to see how he does that way. Any suggestions?

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  • You want a reasonably reliable recall on a dog before letting him loose at a dog park. I would suggest going there, perhaps with your sister, at a time when there are no or very few dogs around, and perhaps letting him drag a long line so you will have a better chance of catching him if he should get carried away with the freedom. Back in the day, I used to tether my untrained dog to my trained one, but this can be hazardous if there are many dogs/humans to get entangled. (I taught quite a few dogs the recall by using a very reliable GSD cross who would drag the other dog back to me when they were yoked together in this fashion. I was a teenager at the time, and walked/trained dogs for amusement and a little bit of cash.)

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  • I will only let Kipawa free (off leash) at fully fenced dog parks. All it takes is one time, which I could wind up regretting the rest of my life. So for me, the fact that this park is not really fenced would automatically takes it off as a dog park destination. It is amazing how little room a basenji needs to wiggle their way through. And if Basil pulls while on leash to see other dogs, chances are he would probably will run off with other dogs. Could you get him back?

    I'm not fond of keeping a dog leashed at an off leash park. I watch what happens to dogs in this situation. It's pretty easy to see that they are uncomfortable being in such a situation. You can tell how apprehensive and anxious they are but watching their body language. It just doesn't look good at all. You can tell they feel helpless to defend themselves if they needed to.

    There are a couple of off leash parks I take Kipawa to. One near our house is Kipawa's favourite and we never encounter huge amounts of dogs there. The other park hosts quite a few dogs that most often jostle around instead of run. Almost always the owners are not paying attention to their dogs - bad owners! Right now the dogs that go there seem to be a little more aggressive (breeding season?) and Kipawa has come away with some tooth marks. So we will limit visits to that park, if not cut them out totally for awhile.

    Safety first!

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  • Use treats and 1 word, any word that when Basil hears it he comes to you and you give him a treat. Repeat, repeat, repeat. You can take him out on a long line like 50' and try it. You only use that one word for that purpose only. With Buddy I yell "TREAT!" and he comes running. Never get angry at Basil if he is off a leash and it takes some effort and he finally comes. Always treat and praise. I have always had Basenjis that were easy and no problem off leash since they were puppies but my current one Buddy has been more of a challenge, at 3 years old I just recently started letting him off being he's not very reserved and would bolt off. Now he's better following me and looking for me. But I still have to be careful where I am and what dogs are around. I would give him the treats as he was off leash and every few minutes "TREAT!" and he came to me.
    Buddy likes to just dart up to any dog and play as they all don't care to play or his rushing up to them. He's calming down little by little. He's a play provoker! :)

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  • How did Basil's behavior consult go?

    If Basil is still exhibiting resource guarding tendencies then you do not want to bring toys and treats with you that he will want to then guard. You will be setting him up for trouble. Practice recall on a long line somewhere else where you can use food and toy rewards. At the dog park practice recall with being released to back to play as the reward. If there are no physical boundaries then I would be pretty hesitant to use that dog park. What is the surrounding area like? Are the sides up against more park or against a street?

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    Thank you for all your replies. Basil's behavior consult went well today.. she said I was doing a lot of the right things… impulse control exercises, making him work for meals, etc. She said to hold off on the dog park until I'm more confident about his behavior and to not take him with his leash on because he would become frustrated and that could further his aggression towards dogs.

    So far she said that he has to work for everything, sit for meal, sit for leash on, sit for on furniture, sit to meet dogs on a walk. All of his toys are taken away.. (was unsure about this one).. she said he has to have 0 attacks for a week to earn each toy back. She also said that if he's playing with other dogs that no toys should be present so he can't guard them. He also now has on a soft lead which she said will help calm him down. She also said that he does not look 5 months old and she would guess maybe 4.5 months... again what you guys said about him earlier. She would like me to call the breeder and ask more about the litter and mom and dad which I will do this week.

    So maybe I'll hold off on the dog park and research ones with fences, I'm unsure what is on the other side of the bush. Thanks for your replies.

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  • First Basenji's

    Basilboy, I just saw this post recently and thought of your post.

    "Dog Park Etiquette: Dos and Don'ts from a Trainer"
    http://dogblog.dogster.com/2011/10/04/dog-park-etiquette-dos-and-donts-from-a-trainer/
    (I'm having a weird issue where all links to that blog keep redirecting to one specific post, not the one that I intended to link, so you might have to go to the main page? Anyway, sorry for any confusion)

    I personally prefer dog parks where I can keep moving, where there are lots of trails and plenty of things for my dogs to sniff and see aside from just interacting with dogs – because not every dog enjoys playing with every other dog! I feel like they learn to keep a closer eye on you (and you on them) if you're a moving target and not grounded to one spot all the time. So I don't really like small, completely fence-enclosed dog parks myself, but I do need adequate physical barriers (large bodies of water, partial fencing, etc.) combined with high visibility in order to feel secure letting my dogs off leash.

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  • All of the above. Unless it is a remote location AND you have excellent recall, wait to find a fully fenced park (or 'natural fencing..water, etc.).

    No treats or toys in the park, just invites issues with other dogs.

    Off leash is best, a leashed dog may feel vulnerable and therefore be more defensive.

    Make coming to you and going home a treat, keep something special in the car as a treat as soon as you get to the car. (A friend who had been a K9 Cop did this with his rescue basenji, took about 2 weeks before Charlie beat Tom to the gate. Tom used hot dogs or hamburger patties as special 'car treats')

    Work on his recall, and when you finally do go to a park, keep your tone and attitude relaxed and all about fun. He will pick up on anxiety and be stressed.

    We are dog park fans, but not just any park. Needs to be nice with nice people and dogs. Some are not so much, if those were our only options, we would not go. Visit by yourself at different times of day, meet some people, watch the dogs and interactions. You would 'interview' a daycare, do the same with a dog park.

    Good luck, have fun!

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    @curlytails:

    Basilboy, I just saw this post recently and thought of your post.

    "Dog Park Etiquette: Dos and Don'ts from a Trainer"
    http://dogblog.dogster.com/2011/10/04/dog-park-etiquette-dos-and-donts-from-a-trainer/
    (I'm having a weird issue where all links to that blog keep redirecting to one specific post, not the one that I intended to link, so you might have to go to the main page? Anyway, sorry for any confusion)

    I personally prefer dog parks where I can keep moving, where there are lots of trails and plenty of things for my dogs to sniff and see aside from just interacting with dogs – because not every dog enjoys playing with every other dog! I feel like they learn to keep a closer eye on you (and you on them) if you're a moving target and not grounded to one spot all the time. So I don't really like small, completely fence-enclosed dog parks myself, but I do need adequate physical barriers (large bodies of water, partial fencing, etc.) combined with high visibility in order to feel secure letting my dogs off leash.

    Thank you for the article, a great read for before going to the dog park. Though I think we will wait until our puppy classes are over and I'm more confident in his behavior.

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