4 Bad Dog Park Behaviours
How to Prevent Them
I don’t know about you, but every time I come within three blocks of the dog park, my dog knows. He always wants to go! There are three that we frequent, and they all have a different layout: one in the city, one at the beach, and one in a field. Each one has different terrain and agility equipment; we love them all, and we run into similar problems at all of them, too. Over time, I’ve learned to recognize—and prevent—these four common bad dog park behaviors.
Now just as all dog parks are different, so are all dogs. Breed, personality, and history all play a role. You know your dog, and you know what to look out for. At the dog park, it’s important to watch for your dog’s particular triggers, and to keep an eye on other dogs that might display these behaviors.
Recognize any of these?
Tips for Avoiding Problems at the Dog Park
Problem: When too many dogs are ready to greet a new dog at the entrance, it can be overwhelming for the new arrival. They’re the celebrity walking into a swarm of paparazzi.
Solution: When another dog arrives at the park, make sure you call your dog away from the entrance. Let the new arrival settle in first.
2. Toy Nabbing
Problem: A toy becomes a high value item at the dog park. When that happens, resource guarding behavior is inevitable. In other words, it’s easy for a dog to become protective of that precious toy and start an altercation.
Solution: Take a break. Remove the toy, go to another area, and wait until everybody is calm. If it’s a recurring problem, try leave the toy at home for a while.
3. Playing Rough
Problem: Some dogs play too rough for others. Though they’re not trying to be aggressive, scratches or play bites can happen.
Solution: You know your dog. If she seems to be getting overexcited, call her away for a break. Wait a moment, then have her play with another dog or toy.
Note: be especially careful when you’ve got a big dog and a little dog playing. A large breed playing a little too roughly with a small dog has the potential to cause big problems.
Problem: The dog park is just so exciting! Jumping happens. But keep an eye out for too much jumping, or jumping on other people. Worst case scenario, someone falls down, gets scratched, or just gets angry. Either way, it’s best to avoid.
Solution: Walk away from an overeager pup, and if it’s your dog doing the jumping, give them a chance to take a break. Usually, some chillout time will help. If they’re so overstimulated they can’t settle, it’s probably time to go home.
The Bottom Line
Good dog park behavior isn’t always easy to enforce. It requires keeping an eye on your dog, and intervening before potential altercations. It also comes down to understanding how well your dog does in these settings, and when she needs a break. Dog parks are fantastic places for our furry friends to let off steam—and for us to show off our dogs! Because they’re awesome, of course. We all know that.