My big problem with dog parks isn't the dog park, but the dog owners who bring their dogs to the dog parks. Some dog owners who have aggressive dogs take their dogs to the dog park to socialize them with other dogs. Without the proper training and leadership, an aggressive dog is still an aggressive dog and my Wolfie is now in a confined area with that dog. I don't think that is a very good idea.
If you want to take your dog to the local dog park, please let us provide you with some suggestions to keep everyone safe:
- Go online and research the dog parks in your area. See if there are any comments about the quality of the park (bugs, cleanliness, fences, etc.) and the people (bites, fights, inappropriate dogs in areas, etc.)
- Take Wolfie to the park during a quiet time and sit outside on a bench with Wolfie on a leach. See if Wolfie shows you any signs of anxiety or tension. If he does, try coming a few more times with toys or treats. If the anxiety or tension continues, the park is not for you. You can try another dog par on your list.
- If Wolfie is fine with the park, return at that quiet time and take him inside the park. Let him off the leash to explore, sniff, and do all those doggie things. If you see anxiety or tension, back off to sitting outside for a few times before you try again.
- Now, let's go at a time when you would normally take Wolfie. Sit outside on a leash and check for anxiety or tension. Also check for any crazy dogs or crazy dog owners. If you and Wolfie are OK, take the next step. If either or you are not, check out the next dog park on your list.
- Now comes the BIG STEP. Take Wolfie in the dog park and let him go. See how he interacts with the other dogs. Check for anxiety or tension and also check the body language of the other dogs. If anything doesn't seem right to you, back off and try another park. If Wolfie is a happy dog and the other dogs and dog owners are fine, congratulations! You now have a great dog park for Wolfie!
This is a very important subject that goes well beyond a short blog. For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.