Friday, October 5, 2012

Dog Park Etiquette

Tacoma trainer and author Kathy Sdao talks about dog-park etiquette in the second of a three-park series.

An upfront admission: I stopped taking my own dogs to public off-leash parks several years ago, after a particularly traumatic incident at a local dog park.

I witnessed bullying so extreme and unprovoked it shocked me. I expected bloodshed -- mine.

The nasty behavior came from a woman who stormed my way because I'd handed my dog a kibble after he'd raced to me when I called him.

She shouted, "No food in the park! What are you, an idiot?"

As I stood rooted in place, slack-jawed, scanning for allies and/or police officers, she snarled, "Food causes fights."

Luckily I'd had a modicum of martial-arts training; this made it possible for me to breathe and stifle the defensive rage roiling inside. Without a word, I gathered my dogs and exited the tiny park, never to return.

So as I offer behavioral guidelines for the canines and the humans who frequent dog parks, I'll start with one that may be controversial. I bring food treats along whenever I'm in public with my dogs, and I suggest my clients do so too. Read the entire article

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