Dog parks are resort areas, not group therapy.
I’m talking about those people that bring dogs to dog parks not to proactively provide chances for joyful socializing, but to mend socialization issues with other dogs.
The first gets a huge thumbs up from me; the second is a serious issue. I’ll let my trainer daughter, Mikkel Becker, tell you why:
Many pet parents dwell with the unsaid rule that “good dogs go to dog parks” and “good people take their dogs to dog parks.” The negative connotation of their dogs not being great fits for a dog park regularly causes remorse and shame. For that rationale, despite a dog’s hesitance or participation in negative episodes, disquieted dogs are often taken to the park in hopes of making the canine more societal. With most dogs, when a park is used to “fix” societal problems, the behaviour just becomes worse.
One of the larger concerns I have as a trainer is seeing dogs who are shoved into a scenario, like a dog park, where they may be overwhelmed and overloaded — and set up for failure.
Is your pet a dog park superstar or more selective about playtime? Either manner, it doesn’t make your dog a poor dog, or you a poor dog mother or father. Just be frank and realistic about who your pet actually is, and give him the perfect sort of pleasure for his style. You’ll all be happier that way!
And if your dog is born to play with other dogs, and believes burning off steam racing about and chasing balls with other four-legged pals, watch out for issues that may be growing. You can find lots of amazing dog park security suggestions from my buddy and coworker Arden Moore on the Beneful Dream Dog Park site — including the best way to set your dog up for dog park success!
No matter what, however, don’t feel guilty if an honest evaluation lets you know your pooch is a dog park party pooper. Knowing that and shielding him and other dogs from a poor encounter means you’re the greatest kind of dog owner, not the worst!