We were at a new Home Dog Training session in Roswell with a client and his Australian Shepherd, Holly. Holly was a little high strung, always jumped on people, and became quite excited around other dogs she did not know. We worked on behavior modification and socialization techniques to help mitigate these unwanted actions. There were some neighbor dogs and neighbors that were happy to help us and things went very well. Although not perfect, Molly began to calm down and our client understood the task ahead of him. He was very happy and excited to continue the lessons that he had learned. As we were packing up, he mentioned that there were some off-leash dog parks in Roswell. He was wondering about taking Holly to those parks to help her with her doggie socialization.
Although I am not completely against dog barks, I don’t universally endorse them. Like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. If your are dead set about taking your dog to a dog park, let me give you some tips on keeping everyone safe and secure!
The issue with dog parks isn’t the dog park, it is the dog owners who bring their dogs to the dog parks. Some dog owners who have aggressive dogs think that if they take their dog to a dog park, it will make it “happy with other dogs”. Without the proper training and leadership, an aggressive dog is still an aggressive dog. The problem is that your dog is now in a confined area with that aggressive dog. Do not do this.
If you want to take your dog to the local dog park, please remember the following things:
- There are many web sites that rate the local dog parks with reviews and pictures. 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 your dog to the park during a quiet time and sit outside on a bench. Keep your dog on a leash. See if he displays 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. Cross this park of the list and go check out the next.
- If your dog is fine with the park, return at that quiet time and take him inside the park. Drop the leash to explore and sniff. 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 go to the dog park. Sit outside with your dog on a leash and check for anxiety or tension. Look out for any crazy dogs or crazy dog owners. If you and your dog are OK, take the next step. If either or you are not, check out the next dog park on your list.
- You have done all your due diligence and are ready to take the big step. Take your dog 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 he is a happy dog and the other dogs and dog owners are fine, congratulations! You now have a great dog park!
This is a very important subject that goes well beyond a short blog. Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 or (770) 718-7716 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training experts for over fifteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.