keeping all this in mind, here are seven things to consider at dog parks for your own dog’s safety, since you cannot control it if some idiot brings his aggressive dog into the park.
How to prevent aggression at the dog park
1. find out what law enforcement will actually enforce in your area.
Maybe your police department has its act together a little better than Fargo’s finest. find out what the laws are and how they are enforced. Don’t be afraid to report questionable dogs and owners.
2. keep your dog in the appropriate area for her size.
Most dog parks are divided into at least two sections, based on the size of the dogs. I am guilty. On quiet days when there are only a few dogs at the park, we will all bring our dogs to one side. I do always ask the little dog owners if it’s ok first, but it’s not OK.
Certain dogs do see small animals as prey. My mutt chases squirrels and rabbits all the time, for example. Really, could you blame a lab mix for mistaking a Chihuahua for a rodent?
3. If a dog is questionable, be safe and leave the park.
If there is a dog I don’t trust, or a human who is irresponsible, I make the choice to leave the park with my dog. It’s not worth it to stay and risk a bite or a fight.
4. Do what you can to control your own dog.
I don’t do this typically enough, but it is a good idea to walk my dog before we go to the dog park. If you walk your dog for a half-hour before you go to the park, she can get rid of pent up energy.
The dogs that enter the dog park in an excited state of mind are the ones most likely to be challenged by a dominant dog. practice entering and exiting the park with your dog under control and practice the recall so your dog will come in all situations.
5. Do what you can to control your own dog.
Most of the time when dogs appear to be fighting, they are just playing roughly or working out who is the dominant one. It usually sounds worse than it is and neither dog gets hurt. but if a dog is possessive of its owner and attacks your dog, what will you do?
Dog trainer Jeff Millman over at watch and Train suggests making a loud noise by hitting a garbage can or yelling to distract the dogs. He also said to try throwing toys at the dogs, spraying them with water or covering their heads with jackets. another option is to pull the dogs apart, but know there is a high chance the dogs will bite you.
6. have veterinary emergency information handy for your dog such as a shot record.
Save your dog’s vet number into your phone. know the hours of the vet’s office and where the local animal er is located. You never know when an emergency will occur.
7. remember all animals are unpredictable.
I wish I could trust Ace 100 percent. I don’t think he would ever bite another dog because he is very submissive, but how do I know he wouldn’t? I don’t. animals don’t just bite out of aggression. They bite if they are scared or excited, too. like I said, Ace is normally a submissive dog, but there are a few dogs he will bark and growl at. behavior like this is typically what stirs up a fight.
Aggressive behavior at the dog park cannot be avoided completely. going to the dog park is always a risk. dog whisperer Cesar Millan and author Jon Katz say dog parks are disasters waiting to happen.
There are just too many unbalanced, nervous, excited dogs together. A few months back, I wrote a post on 10 things to consider at the dog park. but most of that post included tips only you can control.
What happens when someone doesn’t follow the dog park rules? The dog parks in Fargo are managed by the park district. None of the rules are enforced. even if a possessive dog attacks another dog, animal control does nothing. law enforcement only gets involved if a human is the victim.
Have you seen any fights at the dog park? Čo si robil? Do you think dog parks are safe?
(Image is of my parents’ dog, Sophie, and my uncle’s dog, Radar.)