The Local Dog Park: Does Your Dog Need It??

Author: Neil Smith   Date Posted:12 May 2016 

Some Insight Into The Local Dog Park

 

A week would not go by without someone calling the Bark Control office upset by the fact that their dog has been in a fight or been attacked at the local dog park, or attacked another dog…Well we have the solution for you!

The answer to me is really simple…

DON’T GO TO THE DOG PARK!!

 

You’ve done nothing wrong.  You’re not a bad owner.  Most importantly you probably don’t have a bad dog either.  The dog park may just not be the right fit for you and your dog.

Let’s get straight to the point about this.  Dogs in nature are not social butterflies where one pack travels over the hill to visit the next dog pack for a social get together.  The idea is quite silly when you think about it!  So why do we have so many experts tell us that it is important to socialize your dog?  I’ll tell you why…it’s because that’s how we bring up our children and it sounds like the correct thing to do…doesn’t it??  Well not really (some might want to read the article I wrote a while back on treating our dogs like humans and the problems associated with it).

Dog socialising and fun at the dog parkDon’t get me wrong, I am not anti-dog park at all.  If you have a dog-friendly dog yourself and the park has other dog-friendly dogs that you know and your dog appears to be having fun, and you’re having a positive social interaction with other dog owners and other dogs, then great get to the dog park and enjoy yourself.  My point is, not everyone has that same enjoyable experience and they definitely should not beat themselves up about it or think there is something wrong with their dog. 

I have read recently that some dog trainers have called for dog parks to be closed because of attacks and vets will confirm that they get a fair amount of ‘repair’ work out of dog park attacks.  However, whilst I don’t think they should be closed down, I do think you need to be cautious.

 

Remember, despite what most of the pet industry would prefer you to think, your dog is not a child (you will spend more money if you think this way!!) and does not need to play with other dogs.  Your dog is a pack animal and, as in nature, your pet dog takes strength from being in a good strong pack and that pack, with your other family members… is YOU! 

So if your dog gets into fights with other dogs, or there are not so friendly dogs at the dog park that have attacked your dog before, oWalking the dog is a great way for you and your dog to get activer there are dogs that you are wary of… then just stay away.  Why stress your dog out and more importantly stress yourself out by even going to the dog park in the first place.  Your dog will not be missing out on social building blocks that it needs or missing his friends or any other human related nonsense.

A better option is for you to pick up a ball or pick up a lead and go for a nice long walk. 

 

Comments (2)

Positive Experience if Dog Owners are Experienced

12 May 2016
We have been taking our German Shepherd to our local dog park for a year. She loves it and is part of a regular dog pack at the park. It works because none of the 'regular' dogs are aggressive. Ultimately though, it works because the dog owners are experienced and understand the rules, e.g., don't keep a dog on a lead while around dogs not on leads and leave a dog outside if it's been attacked by another in the past or if it's aggressive. We all keep an eye on our dogs. If the big dogs are crowding little dogs, we do something about it. We watch them. We're all interested in helping the dogs learn to socialise and encourage newbies. There are Maremmas in the pack that 'guard' the rest of them. It's fascinating to watch dog behaviour. So, it can be a positive experience but I do think it has an equal amount to do with the owners as it does with the dogs.

Positive Experience if Dog Owners are Experienced

12 May 2016
We have been taking our German Shepherd to our local dog park for a year. She loves it and is part of a regular dog pack at the park. It works because none of the 'regular' dogs are aggressive. Ultimately though, it works because the dog owners are experienced and understand the rules, e.g., don't keep a dog on a lead while around dogs not on leads and leave a dog outside if it's been attacked by another in the past or if it's aggressive. We all keep an eye on our dogs. If the big dogs are crowding little dogs, we do something about it. We watch them. We're all interested in helping the dogs learn to socialise and encourage newbies. There are Maremmas in the pack that 'guard' the rest of them. It's fascinating to watch dog behaviour. So, it can be a positive experience but I do think it has an equal amount to do with the owners as it does with the dogs.