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Handle a Dog Who is Suddenly Aggressive and Misbehaving at Dog Park

In order to make your dog behave well at the dog park, it is recommended that you use exercises, games to keep him busy. Bring a bag to pick up his poo accidents and keep him in your sight to make sure that nobody is messing up with him. Also, let your puppy grow before taking him to the dog park.

Are you worried about taking your dog to the Dog Park because of how they may react? You can control dog aggression a the dog park with a few tips and by knowing what to do and not to do.

I’m Phil, and today, I thought we’d talk about the dog park. Make sure you stick around to the end of the article because I have a bonus tip that I know you’ll love. Here are some do’s and dont’s at the dog park.

This article’s for you if you haven’t been to a dog park or if you’ve been to the dog park and you don’t know what to do with your dog. Or you do know what to do with your dog, but you don’t know what to do with the other people who don’t know what to do with their dog.

If you’re anything like me, when I first started going to dog parks, I had lots of questions and with time and practice and patience, I’ve learned a lot of things. Here’s some tips about do’s and dont’s of the dog park.

Every dog park is different and every dog is different so make sure you’re taking every situation on a case-by-case basis.

#1 Exercise Comes First

Before ever entering a dog park, make sure you exercise your dog. A dog park is absolutely going to help release some energy from your dog. I don’t know about you, but on the days I take my dogs to the dog park, they definitely sleep better at night.

That being said, make sure you exercise your dog before taking them into a dog park. It’ll help reduce anxiety, it reduces energy. So they’re not going in there with just the excitement or the fear or anything that comes along with that increased energy.

Look at it this way, you go to the dog park so that your dog can socialize.

As an added benefit, they’ll be outside, they’ll release energy. They get to go to the bathroom, all of those things. But none of those should be the primary reason for going to the dog park.

#2 Bring Doggy Bag

Make sure you bring a doggy bag. I like to bring things. I’ll put some toys, poo bags, don’t be that person. I like the pet corrector. If there is a situation,
most dogs will pay attention when you shout it off.

Treats are my favorite, I bring sticks so that I can tear off little bits for small dogs or big pieces for big dogs.

Bring Doggy Bag

#3 Entering Dog Park

  1. What do you do with your dog and a leash?
  2. Do you leave your dog on the leash for five minutes, 10 minutes, the whole time your dog’s in the park?
  3. Do you take it off right away?
  4. Do you enter without the dog leash?

Again, this comes down to you know your dog. But I will tell you what I do. I usually enter, assess the situation and then remove the leash and pretty quickly.

A dog on a leash with no other dogs on a leash in the park can definitely cause some challenges.

Once your dog is integrated and having fun with their friends or their new friends, what do you do?

When you’re entering the dog park, don’t take your dog and set them down in a pack of dogs. It creates an energy that can cause problems and that’s not how dogs greet each other.

#4 What Humans Do

Okay, here’s a tip for you when you’re in the dog park. Don’t sit down. I can’t tell you how many dog parks I’ve been to where everybody is sitting down. They would on their phones and they’re just not present and paying attention.

Not only does that send the wrong body language to your dog, but you go to the dog park to be with your dog. Be present, stand there, play fetch.

Now it doesn’t mean don’t socialize with people and it doesn’t mean don’t take a cute picture of your dog, just don’t do that the whole time.

I’ve met some really great people at dog parks, but I’ve met some even better dogs at dog parks. So stand up, be present, spend time with your dog.

#5 Don’t Do This

If you have a cat, don’t bring your cat to the dog park. LOL

#6 Who’s The Boss

When you’re at the dog park, remember you’re the boss. Don’t be afraid to tell your dog or any dog no, or to help them out. If you do correct a dog or help a dog out, talk to their parent right away. Let me know what you did and why you did it.

Not The Treat Fairy

When it comes to treats, you are not the boss. Do not give treats to other dogs. You don’t know their allergy situation, you don’t know if they’re food territorial. So if want to bring treats for your dog, fine. If you want to give treats to other dogs, not fine.

What I would recommend is if you have some treats, give it to their parent and have them hand the treats to their dog.

#7 Handling The Puppies

You have a new puppy, you see everyone going to the dog park, and you want to go to the dog park. Don’t. Until your puppy has all the vaccinations needed, don’t bring your dog to the park.

Not only will your puppy potentially spread disease, but could get sick very easy. So just check with your vet and make sure they give you the sign off for the dog park.

#8 Your Dog Isn’t Ready

  1. Do you have challenges with your dog?
  2. Do they attack other dogs?
  3. Do they have food aggression?
  4. Do they have anxiety?

Bringing them to the dog park to work it out is not a good idea. Take the time to work with a trainer and start small with one or two dogs before you go into an environment that is unknown.

Look, it’s nothing to be embarrassed of if your dog is exerting behavioral issues. It happens with a lot of dogs and it takes time to work through those issues with your dog.

And thank goodness your dog has you to do that. Trust me, taking the time to work through those behavioral issues will really help strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

#9 Small vs Large

When dog parks have a small dog and a large dog area, definitely take advantage of that. If you’ve got a small wiry dog that has a lot of energy and acts more like a big dog than a small dog and you want to have him in the big dog park, I’d advise against it.

It’s not that they can’t play with large dogs and they don’t have a personality to match those large dogs or an energy level.

You don’t know how the other dog is going to react and they may prey on the smaller dog. If your dog is anything like one of my dogs, where they climb up on the couch and they think they’re the size of a chihuahua, obviously that doesn’t constitute for putting them in the small dog park.

#10 New Issues Can Show Up

Sometimes you can go to the dog park again and again, and then out of nowhere, your dog will start doing something that they haven’t done before. Maybe bullying other dogs or exerting a behavior that you haven’t ever seen before.

Make sure that you work to correct that behavior as fast as possible. The faster you can catch it, the more likely it doesn’t become a routine.

#Bonus – Best Time to Go Dog Park

I was in Venice, California, which is a dense, highly populated dog-loving community but there are no dogs at the dog park. How do you know the best time to go to a dog park? I have a very simple tip on how to know the best time to go to the dog park.

Now for my dog Zoe, she does okay with other dogs, but really just getting her out so that she can roam and run around and deal with one, maybe two dogs are the best case situation for her.

One of my other dogs, Flip, he’s a boxer and the more dogs, the merrier. So how do you know? You know your dog, you know if your dog wants a lot of dogs at the dog park or fewer dogs at the dog park.

But how do you know the best time? Google maps have an awesome feature that will actually show you hour by hour how busy the dog park is.

Dog Park Hours

Do’s for the Dog Park

Do make sure your dog is up to date on all of their vaccinations including rabies, distemper, kennel cough vaccines, flea and tick parasite control and any other vaccines that your vet may deem as needed.

Do keep them on their leash until they are inside the designated area. There are leash laws in place in most parts of the country. In addition, this keeps them safe and keeps other dogs safe that are not used to unleashed dogs running up to them.

Do remove their leash when they join the other dogs at the park. Most of the dog parks around the country have a pen at the entrance where you can stop and remove your dog’s leash.

Leashes are not allowed in the play areas because they want to decrease aggressive behaviors in the dogs that visit the park. Unrestrained dogs can more easily show proper body language that can discourage unwanted interactions from other dogs.

Do train your dog to enter the play area calmly and orderly. By not allowing them to enter the play area when they are wound up or over excited, it will help to decrease or eliminate any aggressive behavior that may show itself in other dogs that aren’t used to your excited dog.

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Do restrict their play to size-restricted areas of the park. The majority of dog parks you will find have separate play areas of different sizes. There are areas for larger dogs and areas for smaller dogs. Keep your dog in the properly sized area.

Even if they get along with all sized dogs, accidents can happen and a big dog may injure a little dog unintentionally. It is best to keep your dog in the area that best fits his or her size for safety reasons.

Do keep a close eye on unaltered dogs. Carefully watch your dog’s behavior near and around unaltered dogs, especially with female dogs that go into heat. Female dogs in heat can spark aggressive behavior in other dogs that will try for her attention.

It’s best to keep unaltered pets away from the dog park, but we know that isn’t always the case, so being prudent about their behavior can lessen the risk of mating and ending up with puppies.

Do pick up your dog’s feces. Aside from it being good manners, picking up your dog’s waste is internationally the right thing to do, and it’s illegal not to do it in many places. It keeps the parks clean allowing for a decrease of diseases that could taint your pet and the environment.

Dont’s for the Dog Park

Along with the do’s of the dog park, there are also don’ts that every pet owner should be aware of.

Don’t bring a puppy to the dog park. Puppies are too young for the dog park until they are around 12-16 weeks old, this also holds true for high-traffic areas.

Be sure your puppy is up-to-date on their shots, and check with your vet to see when they suggest the best time is.

Don’t take younger kids, toddlers, or babies to the dog park. Children of these ages lack the ability to interact with the different dogs at the dog park properly. Plus, with their smaller sizes, the could be injured easily.

There may be dogs at the park that are not accustomed to young children, and this could cause significant harm to the child or the dog also.

Don’t take your dog’s valuables to the dog park. Dog’s are not keen on sharing their favorite toys or food with other dogs, they’ll be guarding their valuables and this could cause aggressive behavior to occur.

Unfortunately, dog’s that show such guarding tendencies may not do well at a dog park, consider this when choosing to take them.

It’s better to leave their favorite things at home, to help eliminate the risk of injury and aggression among the dogs.

Don’t allow yourself to get distracted at the dog park. This means no playing on your phone, posting on social media channels, texting, or doing anything that will take your focus off of your pet. Dogs need our constant supervision when playing at the dog park, and never leave them unattended.

Don’t bring a hyper, over-excited dog to the dog park. Try to burn off some of their energy by playing with them before you go to the dog park. This helps get them ready to play nice with their doggy friends at the park.

Don’t allow your dog to hump or mount other dogs at the park. Many humans, as well as dogs, do not take kindly to another dog humping their dog.

Try to direct their attention to a different activity. Should their humping become excessive, just remove them from the situation.

Don’t use dog park visits to help an aggressive dog. There is no reason to try training your aggressive dog to socialize at the dog park. Dog parks are not places an aggressive dog should ever be since it can lead to more issues.

Speaking to a professional about your dog’s aggressive behavior may help it become resolved, and then you can start taking them to the park, but only if your vet thinks it’s okay.

Don’t jump into a dog fight. As pack animals, dogs may fight amongst each other, but jumping into between two fighting dogs is a good way to get bitten or more injury to the dogs could come from you trying to interfere.

Learn More With the Help of Video

Two Things Humans Do Wrong at Dog Parks

Aside from other human foibles, there the two main things that humans do wrong at the dog park.

Blame the breed for bad behavior — contrary to popular belief, there are not bad dog breeds, it is all about how they are raised. Just because you see a large Rottweiler at the park, doesn’t mean he’s going to eat you Pekingese. Stereotyping is used often enough in society, don’t use it with canines too.

Not leave at the first sign of trouble — you should be able to spot trouble a mile away as a dog owner. When you see an overexcited dog start to bound their way into the park, or one that isn’t listening to their human’s commands or you can tell that a dog isn’t going to obey their master, simply get up and leave.

No matter if your pup is playing or just relaxing, remove yourself and them from the situation before any trouble begins to escalate.

Aspects Which Can Trigger Aggressive Behavior at the Dog Park

Here are a few things that can trigger aggressive behavior in your dog. Being a responsible dog owner means knowing when to spot such triggers and removing your pet from the temptation.

  1. A dog or several barking behind a fence
  2. A leashed dog coming toward your dog
  3. Unleashed dogs walking freely
  4. A female dog in heat
  5. Another dog approaching you, dogs are protective
  6. Another dog in the house that ‘guards’ things
  7. Another dog in the house that plays aggressively

How to Avoid Problems at the Dog Park

  1. Stay focused on your dog and his actions
  2. Familiarize your dog with new parks before letting them explore
  3. Never let your dog rush to greet a new friend at the gate
  4. Keep an eye of for breeds your dog may not do well with
  5. Even submissive dogs may lead others to act out aggressively

Dog Park Bullies, How to Spot Them?

Not unlike a children’s playground or park, you will spot some dog park bullies as well. Knowing how to recognize one is the trick to a happy dog park experience.

As all dog owners realize, all dogs have a certain tolerance of rough play, whether they are being rough or their buddy is.

One of the first things you need to figure out is how high or low your dog’s tolerance level is. This way you can understand if another dog is bullying your dog or vice versa, you need to be able to spot the signs.

How well does your pup do with the rougher play? Does he or she handle it well? If yes, they rough play, wrestling, nipping (playfully), and such, then they can probably fend for him or herself against a potential bully.

Most dogs will work it out among themselves with time, but the problem comes when it’s obvious they can’t work it out, then you need to intervene.

On the other hand, if your dog doesn’t handle rough play well, then you may want to reconsider dog park play. You will also want to keep an eye out for another dog that is being annoyed to your dog.

Your dog will let the other dog know their limits with growls or nips back, or attempts to walk away, but that doesn’t mean that the bullying party will listen.

And, of course, be on the lookout for another dog that is nitpicking at yours constantly, because such actions are a sure sign the other dog is being a bully. Time for you to take control of things by removing your pup from the situation.

Be sure to keep an eye out for bigger dogs bullying little dogs, just like in human society, it happens in a canine’s world.

Some bigger dogs may harm or scare your little dog even if they don’t mean to, but you should be able to tell bullying behavior coming from a larger dog against your smaller one.

How to Prevent Dog Fights at Dog Park?

Do not reach between two sparring dogs, and expect not to get bitten. There are safer ways to break up a dog fight that will decrease any injury to the dogs or yourself.

  1. Safely approach the dogs from behind.
  2. If water or a hose is handy, use them.
  3. Once you approach from behind, carefully grasp the initiators hind legs, this lessens the jaw pressure.
  4. Be sure your dog doesn’t have any punctures, but keep in mind their fur may hide it, take your pet to the vet either way to be safe.
  5. If there is serious injury involved, call animal control.
  6. Just like when you get in a car accident, you should exchange information with the other pet owner.

Conclusion on Taking Your Dog to the Dog Park

Even after trying all the tips, I have given on this page, your dog still is not able to cope up in the dog park then it is a real issue.

He could be inclined to stay indoors with himself and anti-social. Do read my article on How to Find and What to do when Your Dog Is Anti-Social

Dog parks can bring a lot of happiness, not only for your dog but for you Follow some of these simple steps and the dog park will be a fun time and time again.

References

  1. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/wagac/cep/2015/00000011/00000001/art00007
  2. https://brill.com/content/10.1163/15685306-12341237

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