Should we let them run in dog parks, or should we not let them run in dog parks!? That is the question AAGI is asked over and over again.
In general our response has been that we don’t recommend it. although’ the greyhounds love it, and it can be a great experience for both of you there are still many areas of concern.
* You don’t know the other pet owners. Many people find dog parks to be great social events and they spend too much time socializing and not enough time supervising their dogs. Like children unattended on a playground, unsupervised dogs can get into trouble. If you go — WATCH closely and leave if there is a trouble maker.
* You don’t know if their dog’s vaccinations are current, or if they have ever been vaccinated. If your dog is current on it’s vaccinations it is unlikely that they will catch anything, but they could be exposed to some mutant strain of distemper, parvo, or corona virus that has become resistant to antibiotics.
* You don’t know the personalities of the other dogs or who’s aggressive and who’s not. This goes with the issue of “paying attention” but you also don’t want one of your dogs to give the wrong “doggie signal” and suddenly get attacked. Vet services aren’t cheap, and treatment for one dog bite can run up a big bill. Greyhounds, with their thin-skin, are not equipped for fighting and a little cut can triple in size (and thereby triple your vet bill.)
* Greyhounds are racers — not hockey players. Your greyhound likes to run — by himself or with others but they don’t enjoy the crash-bang games played by many other large breeds. And they are not very well protected in those games and can sustain injury. If the dog park is crowded with these hockey-players in dog suits — go home and come back on a safer day.
* You don’t know when someone will unwittingly release their small, white fluffy pooch to streak across the dog park. But as a greyhound owner you know your greyhound has been specifically bred as hunters for thousands of years and as racing machines for many, many decades. You know that any moving object, whether it is a paper bag or another dog, can trigger their hunting instincts and that running white ball of fur will be more than they can resist. You know their little feet can carry them one half mile away from me in 30 seconds. No matter how sweet and loving they are at home, I know that I can never trust them 100% in a setting that simulates racing or hunting. Always muzzle your greyhound at the dog park.
“But they love to run!!” everybody tells us. True, and in a supervised setting it is wonderful to be able to allow them to. Just use lots of common sense and pay attention to what is going on around your greyhound. Go during “non-peak” times.