• I was thinking it would be great if everyone could post the dog parks that are availabe in their area.

    I live in the Hampton Roads area and we have a few that we go to.

    Chesapeake, VA

    Western Branch Park, off of I-664, exit 11B Portsmouth Blvd behind the Community Center. This is a fenced in off the leash park. There is no fee.

    Chesapeake City Park, off of I-64, exit 289 Greenbrier Parkway, take Greenbrier Parkway all the way about 3 miles (you will pass the YMCA and some schools) the park will be on the right. The dog park is in the back of the park. This is also a fenced in off the leash park. There is no fee.

    Norfolk, VA

    Peta, you may have to look up the address for this one, I only know that it is off of Brambleton Blvd. There is a ramp for the dogs to get in and out of the water. Zahra actually stuck her paw in to test it.

    I also know of two in Virginia Beach, but I have only been to those once. There is two in Hampton and I know that there is one in Newport News.

    I would love to hear about dog parks in other areas and what makes yours a really great dog park. 🙂


  • Hi Jenn! I live in Knoxville TN and we JUST got our first dog park in April of this year. It is a huge success and our 2nd dog park is set to open in 2008. The second park is suppose to be larger and divided for large and small dogs. We do have access to the Pet Safe Village dog park, but this is a privately owned park and the only off leashed times are M-F 5-close and Sat & Sun 3 - close. We also must sign a lease when using Pet Safe's Park. Thanks for the info regarding your area. If we ever travel there, we know there are dog friendly areas to visit.

  • Am I the only one here who is opposed to off-leash dog parks?

    I don'tl trust even the best behaved dog to ALWAYS be friendly and obedient in the best of circumstances, and it seems to me that an off-leash park is just asking for trouble.
    My vet can't stand off-leash parks, or even PetSmart and PetCo, because he says he has treated so many animals that have been injured in fights in all three places.
    Just too scary for me!
    I'm a leash-gal all the way.

  • I don't use dog parks, or dog play schools…my dogs simply don't get along well enough with non-family-pack dogs. I have seen a lot of dogs do fabulously in those settings though. I think each dog park takes on its own culture, some are great, some not so much. I think some dogs are better suited to them. My sister takes her lab to one several times a week, and she has never seen an issue occur....it is inhabited by mainly labs 🙂

    There is a group who takes their Bs to a park in Florida frequently too...they all get along wonderfully...so it can happen...but in general, I am an on leash gal too...except for lure coursing 🙂

  • I know of one dog park in Livonia, but I haven't been there yet. I don't feel Duke has enough training. He is very dominant. Even in the Obedience class on the last occasion he got hostile with the nice doggy next to us. That was embarrassing. Thankfully the trainer gave us her take on the behavior to smooth things over. But it's nice to know we have a park for dogs. I hear it is fenced with separate areas for the big ones and the little ones. At this point I think I would have to put him in with the big ones. He might hurt a little one. But until I trust him, we'll hold off on visiting the park.

  • I think to some extent there are regional and even population-density factors. I was a nervous wreck the first time I saw my fiance let his very well-behaved dog play off-lead in a public park with other dogs. But this was in a rather densely populated area, not many big fields, and I gradually noticed that there were a lot of folks who did so by tacit agreement. They knew each other and each other's dogs.

    Me, I'm way too much of a wuss to try it with either of my basenjis. Around here (suburban Virginia), I don't know of any – but there are tons of sidewalks and wide open spaces and even great trails.

    So, I know this is probably a goofy question, but are the dog parks more for "socialization" or exercise? DO dogs need to have experience with other dogs? I'm not the party type myself, as a human, so I tend to think my dogs need about as much socialization as I do... the ability to chill out if a relative shows up unexpectedly with a small child or their own dog, but that they don't have a big need for large gatherings. But I could be putting my own personality needs onto them...

  • I think dog parks are for both, socializing and exercise. That said, I really only use the dog park during "off peak" hours. when I know there will be only 1 or 2 other dogs there. this way my dog socializes and exercises, but it's not overwhelming, for him or me. I keep a very close eye on him at all times, and I find it easier to referee the play with only a couple of dogs there. if the park gets too busy, I usually leash up and leave. (if a small dog arrives, we leave immediately - Tucker seems to view small dogs as "prey" and I just can't chance it)

  • I guess there are situations where it is the best solution, but not for my dogs. My older B is not the most friendly dog when other dogs get in her face. I think her head was chomped on while she was at a dog sitter's house. The sitter said my dog tried to run under a chain link fence and cut her face up.

    I have tried an outdoor park and an indoor facility. In both situations, I sawseveral dogs become defensive/agressive when they felt cornered or surrounded by an comfortable amount of dogs.

    Severl times I witnessed the owner of an agressive dog being giving a "warning" and the dog was not removed. In one instance the owner encouraged his dog to be dominant over the other dogs.

    I also worry about an increased risk of parasites on the ground or in shared water.

    Just my two cents.

  • Dog parks provide a place for socialization and exercise. Not all dogs do well at a dog park and not all owners are good at recognizing when their dogs just do not behave appropriately for a dog park. Of my 3 basenjis, I have 1 that can not go to the dog park, 1 that used to go but can not go if one of her offspring is there because she is overly protective of them even now that they are almost 2 years old, and 1 that does great and I take to the dog park to have play dates with her siblings.

    My mom lives in Orange County California in an area with a lot of apartments and condos where dogs are allowed but have no yard to exercise in. She has 3 dog parks in her area and uses them on a regular basis. Each park has its pros and cons and my parents have gotten to know the "regulars" at the parks they use at the times they use them. They also know their dogs well enough to know when they should leash up and go home. During this time of year, she doesn't really use the dog park as much because she has two male basenjis, and as people say "Tis the season". After their hormones settle back down they will go to the dog park more.

  • Ivoss,

    I like what you posted, I was going to post almost a similar comment about Dog Parks. I realize that not everyone is for them but we do not have a very big yard and this is a great way for my dogs to run as fast as they want without dragging me on the ground behind them! Zahra is very socialized with other dogs, we started taking her as soon as she got all of her shots.

    Our dog park is not too big and the regulars watch their dogs as they should. There are some times where some one comes in with an animal that gets aggresive but if it continues they leave. Just like at a park with a child, my eye is constantly on my dogs and making sure that they mind their manners and that they are not being beaten up by another dog.

    My idea for the post was to hear about other dog parks or other ways that people take their dogs out for excerise in their area and to learn about the location. I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn of places that I have not been to or see what other parks are like.

    As for the parasites and the water, I have not had a problem with my dogs getting sick from the dog park. Both of my dogs have the Ghiardhia <spelling>shot so that they do not get sick from water but they could pick that up from mud puddles in the yard or on our walk.

    Anyway, I agree that the dog park may not be a good place for some but it works for us and I would love to hear from people who go and what they like about theirs.</spelling>

  • and not all owners are good at recognizing when their dogs just do not >>behave appropriately for a dog park. Of my 3 basenjis, I have 1 that can >>not go to the dog park, 1 that used to go but can not go if one of her >>offspring is there because she is overly protective of them even now that >>they are almost 2 years

    This is the problem I have with the parks. IF I think MY dog will be fine at the park, that is one thing. But I also have to deal with the dogs that have the "bad" owners. I'm not willing to take the chance that they will not supervise their dogs and that may result in a fight or an injury to my dog.

    If I didn't have a yard, I would just leash up and walk the neighborhoods with my dogs.
    But I'm glad the rest of you enjoy them! ;-}

  • I hope I didn't come across as disapproving!

    Mostly, my feelings on the parks are a function of my personality, honestly. If I'm given the choice between: spend Saturday afternoon reading a good book or spend Saturday interacting with strangers – even very nice strangers doing fun things! -- I'll probably opt for the book. So I figure my basenjis want to do the same. (We're working on phonics.) I'm just not really a party person. I'm shy. 🙂

    But I would hate to be depriving my dogs of something essential to them, which is why I was glad to see that other folks choose not to do the parks, either, and their dogs are also fine. Which is the goal -- making sure the dogs are fine, however we do it, neh?

  • Where I live, we have only ONE true off the leash dog park. Hollie loves to play with other dogs (of all sizes) and I would not deny her that for anything. I do stay close to her, especially if the dogs are what I call "wrestle playing." I stay close enough that if any of the dogs got a little too excited or overly aggressive I could get Hollie out of the way. She is tough and holds her own, but I wouldn't want to be responsible for someone elses pet being hurt (and having to pay their vet bills). Our park has been very successful and we too know the regulars by sight and their dogs by name (the dogs are the most important, aren't they?). I also make a habit of taking Hollie away from the gate and leashing her when another dog arrives. I find that 5, 10, 15 dogs crowding the gate for the newcomer scares some dogs and they could snap out of fear. Once the dog is in and unleashed, then I releash Hollie. We will stay for up to 2 hours, because she LOVES it and needs the exercise. There are pros and cons for everything and yes we do have to decide what is best for our own dog. THey are all different.

  • I live with my basenji in a small townhouse. We have a tiny yard and it's certainly not fenced. I regularly take her to a large (36 acre) fenced dog park about 10 minutes from here. She really doesn't care for other dogs, but the offleash running time is indispensible.

    She is a typical basenji- she's dominant and catty with other females. We work on our "walk away" command all the time. I watch for hackles, frontal behavior, tails going straight up… any signals that things could escalate and I ask her to walk away- no problem.

    That said, you can't count on everyone to be responsible. It's your responsibility to make sure that your dogs are sufficiently protected from disease, parasites, other dogs, other people, and health hazards. I don't go when the crowds are there, and I certainly don't stand there and socialize while my dogs explore on their own.

    I think the true problem with dog parks comes when the owners are being irresponsible. They're talking on their cell phone or eating a muffin rather than keeping an eye on their dogs. Even worse, I've seen people put their dog in the park and then go sit in their air conditioned car.

    Be a responsible dog owner, encourage others to do the same. Do what you feel is best for your dog.

  • Personally I would be careful with other dogs in one. As much as they seem to like other dogs, off leash would make me nervous. You just never know. However I'd love to find out where pet friendly parks are when interstate traveling. We recently took a trip down I64 through TN and AL and would have loved to find a place to let them stretch. I'm surprised how many parks don't allow dogs even ON a leash. We did find one to stop at. The Peach Park, near Montgomery AL, has good food and an attached park with tables. It was great to use the tie-downs and eat lunch. I also stopped at a place in VA which had a similar eatery – though I can't tell you where of hand. I even once was allowed to take Brie into a small restaurant in KY on a camping trip -- though that was 12 years ago. Maybe we need a "traveling with the dogs" section?

    But back to the request: I know of 2 near Kings Island, OH off I71. There is a new one which has a HUGE fenced run in the woods. PM me for directions. There is rarely anyone at either during school hours ...but no BBQ sadly.

  • We are very lucky here in Tampa. We have several dog parks and indeed, each has it's own "culture". We have taken our 3 basenjis to a dog park almost daily for over 6 years, and before that we took them to a big off-leash area far from traffic every day. When the first dog park opened in this area, several of us that knew each other from various internet basenji lists got together and discovered that off leash in neutral territory, basenjis got along with other dogs and with each other far better than anyone expected. I daresay we were the first "social experiment" of ongoing basenji meet-ups and I think most people (on the chat lists) didn't really believe how well they all did! We currently have a regular get-together with other basenjis every Sunday at a larger 6 acre park, sometimes only 5, often as many as 10 or 12 basenjis that play and chase for a couple of hours. Some of us have been together since the start of our little group, some we have recently met, but all get along very well. The girls are, well, bitches, and snark at the boys from time to time, occasionally at each other, but nothing like a fight. If things get tense, we all get up and go for a walk and everything smooths out. I am the biggest fan of dogparks that you will ever meet!
    Of course you have to pick your park, and even a good park changes by the hour. Go alone at different times of day and chat with owners, hopefully you will find a group of like-minded responsible people and hook up with them. One of our parks is pretty much a 'pit and rottie' type of park, but others are great! Like someone else said, watch the other owners and be sure they are watching their dogs and not just socializing. And if a dog that comes in that makes you nervous, leave!
    I won't say we have never seen a real fight, or that no dog is ever injured, but it is very rare. And the dogs LOVE it, they are very social creatures and love to meet new dogs and play, and really love seeing their pals every Sunday. Whoever gets there first always says that their dogs just sit and watch the gate till another basenji gets there, then they start to socialize with everyone. I could go on and on about the pleasures of dog park! We have met some of our very best friends there, and 2 good friends that met at dog park just got engaged,so it can be very good for humans as well.

    If anyone is ever in Tampa, let me know and we'll meet up. We have met (in person) at least 10 people from all over the country that I knew from chat lists, all are amazed at our little basenji gang!

    MacPack (Anne in Tampa)

  • We are very lucky to have PAW parks in Tampa and a great community of basenji owners. Almost all of the basenjis that meet weekly are rescues and have been through hard times and socialize well. Just follow the rules. Don't have your dog on a leash inside the park, dont have kids that could look like peers to dogs, pick up your poop, no puppies that dont have the proper vaccines and be aware of the unfixed dogs in the park. Our basenji group is exciting to watch and has a pack personality. This group of basenjis protected and loved on Beta when she was really ill at the park last week with no problems. The macpack have the apha female and male of the group in my opinion and are fun be with!

  • We goto the dog park in Wheaton Maryland in Wheaton Regional Park. Its close enough that we can walk there during a longer walk.

    As far as taking dogs to the dog park, I enjoy letting them walk around and do their own thing as opposed to when we go for walks and they alway have to do what I say on the leash. The funny thing though is that they just stay around me anyway and just watch all of the other dogs. They will go around and sniff other dogs but will not play with them. They prefer to watch all the action near me. If another dog gets too in their face or friendly with them they ether let out a long growl or a hard sniff and hop away. This lets the other dog know that they don't appreciate that, if the dog doesn't get the clue thats when I will step in. So far no problems.

    Its also interesting the totally different way they interact with dogs there, totally calm. When they are on leash they go nuts and scuffle with each other if they even seen a dog, so I think its good for them to become more socialised so hopefully I can eventually break them of this habit.

  • There are 5, well maintained off leash parks here in Minneapolis-St. Paul and I consider them a God Send. Luxor gets more run time than I could give him in a hundred walks and comes home hungry, happy and tired. He's been beat up a couple times and the rough play is hard to watch sometimes, but the benefits far outweigh the scratches. Lux runs the park, interacting with every dog and running to greet every new arrival. I can't wait for it to get above freezing so we can go romp. We want to come to B heaven in Tampa!

  • Ha Ha…I suppose it is basenji heaven. It was 43 this morning in Tampa and Caesar was shivering in his fleece sweater....

    Can't wait for it to warm up again...

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