As much as dog parks can work well for some dogs, there are some dogs that are not suited well for dog parks, and dog parks can come with some risk. As much as well all try to be responsible about our dog’s health, doggie diseases like giardia can be asymptomatic or dormant in one dog, and it is very easily transmitted between dogs in areas like dog parks. There are also no regulations on who can and cannot go into a dog park. While daycares require temperament tests and vaccination records, there is no one at the dog park to ensure the dogs are healthy or friendly with other dogs before entering. As a trainer, I cannot say how many times I have heard, “My dog was super friendly, until he got attacked at the dog park”. Not every dog will get along with every other dog they meet, and without very extensive knowledge on dog behavior and body language, you might not be able to prevent a fight before it happens, and the consequences of a fight can be long lasting emotionally for some dogs. Just as dogs can learn good behaviors from each other, they can also learn poor behaviors from other dogs.
“Just as dogs can learn good behaviors from each other, they can also learn poor behaviors from other dogs.”
Most dogs prefer attention from their owners, so don’t just go to the park to watch. Actively play with your dog and make sure they are getting stimulation from you as well as their friends. If you have a dog that is not suited for dog park play, that is ok!!! So many people think there is something wrong with their dog if they cannot handle dog parks, and that is so far from true. Some dogs just don’t enjoy the company of other dogs and benefit from individual play time or time with select doggie friends. Above and beyond anything else, focus on the safety and health of your own individual dog!
Do you have a favorite park? If so, why do you love it? Share below!
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