DOG PARK MANNERS
Good dog park manners could mean life or death for your dog. Dogs are often turned loose in off leash parks by owners who have no control of their dog at home, and they think a good run will help his behavior. Yes, it will allow their dog to burn off some excess energy, but it can be at the expense of other dogs using the park.
There are two main reasons why dogs are bad mannered when they encounter other dogs in an off leash park.
Firstly, the dog may not be well socialized, and he has never been shown how to properly introduce himself to other dogs. This can result in misunderstandings, and the occasional “argument”.
Secondly, the dog may think he is pack leader, and he may want to protect his pack ie his owner. This can lead to trouble in dog parks when you have 6 owners turning pack leaders loose for a run. To avoid this, learn to be a calm pack leader and your dog can then enjoy running in the off lead parks without having to worry about you.
It’s your worst nightmare. You are in the dog park throwing a Frisbee for your dog and you see them coming. Their dog is straining at the lead, pulling the owner along and is first through the gate. The owner releases the leash, and you have an aggressive torpedo heading straight for you and your dog. What do you do?
Firstly, you need to make eye contact with the approaching dog and let him know you are in charge. Ask him with a wave of your arm and a sharp short hiss to ‘leave’. This also serves to let the owner know you are not happy with their dog’s behavior. Ask the owner to take their dog to another part of the park, or put their aggressive dog back on his leash. Some people may take offense at this; under these circumstances you may choose to leave the park rather than risk your dog’s well being.
If your dog is taking you to the dog park and charging at other dogs who are happily playing then you are the one at fault. You must not allow your dog to greet other dogs with aggression. This might only be a tail held high, and you may not recognize it but other dogs do. To develop good dog park manners you first need to make sure you are the pack leader at home. Make sure your dog has undergone obedience training to teach him to obey your commands. Obedience classes will also allow your dog to meet other dogs in a controlled environment, where you can teach him the right way to say hello to other dogs.
Bringing an ill mannered dog out into public and asking him to mix with other dogs when he does not know basic manners will not only make you and your dog unwelcome, it could result in a lawsuit if your dog mauls another dog or worse, a child.
Good dog park manners start at home so ask your dog to behave in public as you would at home. Don’t be the owner who approaches the park and causes the other owners to gasp and say “Oh no, here they come”. Instead, be the owner that approaches and the other owners and their dogs as well, say ‘Oh great, here they are”.
For more information on Dog Parks visit: here.