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I can say that I go to the dog park almost every day, but we circle it from the outside ;-) it is part of our daily running route. I got in a couple of times but my dog does not engage with other dogs when there are so many barking running dogs, he just wants to mind his business. he was doing the same at the daycare, so I avoided that as well.

I think he would be OK in the park overall,  but the one uncomfortable with it is me. I do not trust dogs I do not know so that environment makes me particularly nervous, and this is why I do not take him inside. this park is generally frequented by nice people and dogs for what I can observe, weekends are probably the worst to go in. 

but some time ago there was an accident in the water (this park has a small artificial lake), and a small dog was killed by a larger one. 

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Just fyi, any place dogs congregate you increase risk of illness, be it a dog park, a training building or a trial. And no you can't tell if the dogs you see are healthy.

My fully vaccinated dogs all recently were exposed to and contracted a nasty nasty strain of kennel cough from a (fully vaccinated) dog who apparently had the disease but was asymptomatic.  The dogs interacted nose to nose as they were friends and friendly with each other prior to a romp.

So don't assume that a dog who is vaccinated and looks ok couldn't be sick. Also, don't assume that you have to go to a dog park to get sick.

Dog parks vary wildly in how people act, how crowded they are and the general culture. When I lived in CA I used one all the time, usually off hours but had no problem walking the perimeter and letting my dogs run off lead  with me. If another dog came up I'd cal mine along and the other dogs person usually got the hint and we all were peaceable.

When I moved here and lived in rental housing for a few months, I tried to use a park (which was actually bigger than the one I used in CA) and all I got was rude dogs whose owners assured me their dogs "just want to play" where food and toys have to be prohibited because there are so many fights over them, and where I got yelled at for saying my dogs were just there to run off lead a bit vs. joining in (what looked like scary and horrible) group dog play because "dog parks are so dogs can play and if yours don't want to wrestle with other dogs then you don't belong here." There have been several dogs seriously hurt and a couple killed after fights here. So, nope. We stay far away here.



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I live in a large city. We have a beautiful dog park practically in my backyard. It's shady, huge, has rolling hills, a water spigot, is well kept...

And I do not use it. At all. Ever.

I think the city is perhaps the most problematic place for a dog park. Many people here buy or adopt dogs and then get dog walkers in the daytime. As a result, dog walkers fill these dog parks, bringing in 5 dogs at a time. Even the best dog whisperer cannot responsibly supervise 5 dogs. Add to that the stupid culture which has arisen as a result, where the owners play, "nicey nicey" when some dog is aggressive or pushy or even bites their dog and expect you to do the same. They want to let the dogs, "work it out." Excuse my French, but F-that. It only took one time of me having to be a jerk to someone who said, '"they're just playing" for me to realize these people are not my tribe, and never mind the dogs, if this continues I'm going to end up biting someone.

Also, my vet told me the place is crawling with parasites.

So what we do is get up at the crack of dawn and take her on a long leash to the baseball/soccer field when no one else is there. I drop the long (30 ft) leash, and she can fetch for as long as my husband's chucker can throw it. Technically, off-leash dogs are not allowed in this park, but no one is there, she now has perfect recall, and I keep an eye on the horizon like a zebra scanning the savanna. On the rare occasions another dog shows up in the distance this early, I recall her and leash her immediately. She doesn't bother people or pigeons or even squirrels when she's fetching, because she's a goddamn working dog and that ball is not going to return itself. Even the city workers who I've seen reprimand other dog owners in the park (thank goodness), ignore us, I guess because we keep to ourselves, she's technically, "on a leash" where I could get her pretty easily, and this dog so obviously has a one-track mind: "Ball. Ball again. I need to watch which way it's going. There it goes again..."

I honestly don't know what we'd do if we hadn't come up with this (fine and fun) solution. We'd probably have to move. Seriously. If you get a border collie in the city, you have to be prepared to do all manner of madness to make it work, up to and including getting out of the city if necessary. Thankfully, it works great for us, but I didn't know any of this to begin with. I thought dog parks would be the answer, and I was so wrong. (Posting here in case someone needs that experience to come up with their plan B before they take that step.)

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