Dog Park Safety & Etiquette
Social etiquette is a must when using dog parks for exercise and social time. Its a privilege that involves responsibilities and cautions in order to ensure a fun time is had by all in attendance. . You cannot control which dog breeds will attend nor can you determine temperament. But you can practice responsible ownership of your dog and by staying alert and attentive you can predict potential problems and act to minimize unwanted occurrences. Here are some tips that can help you have a positive experience:
- choose your park or play area. Before you commit your dog to any canine social environment first take the time to observe. Size up the dogs play manner and the owners control. If you like what you see then try to time your entrance when other dogs are furthest from the gate – this helps lessen your dog be overwhelmed. It’s important when you enter that you are calm and relaxed. If you are stressed then your dog will behave accordingly and may even become protective of you. some dogs will be leash aggressive or defensive on leash when amongst free roaming dohgs
- Have your dogs sit, look at you then motion and tell your dog “ go play”.
- If your dog is timid, you can help them integrate by walking around the park perimeter with them and when another dog approaches you pet the strange dog (approach cautiously) and pet your own dog at the same time. The most important thing is not to feed into their timidness by “babying” them.
- If you see your own dog lining up at the entrance fence with several other dogs looking to greet a new dog approaching the park, call your dog back to you. Even if the dogs are all friendly and wagging their tails, that sight can be overwhelming to the new dog, who may become threatened and react.
- Also call your dog to you anytime they’re part of a group clammering over a singled out dog.
- Other dogs will chase a ball you throw for your dog – its going to happen. Soone solution is to time your throw and direct it for best odds for your dog to retrieve it. And the next time you visit anticipate and bring a second ball which can be thrown to another dog which frees up for you to play fetch with your pooch. Always watch the ball until it is taken by one dog – this way you can observe all the dogs behaviour and how competitive they are being.
- If you own more than one dog be aware of them being overly protecting of one another and ganging up on other dogs. Discourage teaming up action. Put one of your dogs on a leash and walk around the park. Observe a change in behaviour when playing solely. Switch up dogs every now and then.
- Know the signs of a dog that’s ready to fight: stiff body, straight tail, not wagging, lowered head and tail. Eyes fixed ahead and narrowed. Lip curled, baring teeth, low growl, hackles up.
PLAY VERSUS DOMINANCE AND AGGRESSION
If you own a large dog or a dominant breed then keep your dog under your call and control and don’t allow their play to be overwhelming or intimidating to the others. Pinning, knocking over, mounting and nipping are all anti-social and dominant behaviour and need to be stopped.
Wrestle type play is typical for puppies through to 18 mths. “Boxing” (batting with paws), jumping up on each other, short period pinning, chewing on collars and ears is part of that play. And as long as each dog is on top about half the time then all is well. When the growling intensifies or the chewing is too aggressive bring a stop to that by calling them off and redirecting their focus.