Monday, March 12, 2018

Dog Parks

By:  Drayton Michaels, Urban Dawgs, Red Bank, NJ
Urban Dawgs

Q - is it OK to take my dog to dog parks?

I do not recommend you take your dog to dog parks because they are fraught with potential disasters, let’s first discuss behavior.

You have a multiple dogs running around in play, what is known as “ritualized aggression” is in full swing and while there may not be a fear component to the “ritualized” aggression, it can turn really quick, especially because there’s lots of dog play which at times may be rough and very little if any proper human interjection with refereeing and shaping the play. The human refereeing and play shaping is what helps the play continue to evolve in a positive way.

There are millions of micro associations happening at the snout level when dogs are in play, dog parks are typically large areas where there is lots of space and while that helps play in some regards, it also makes refereeing and shaping the play more challenging. Dogs are not having the proper feedback from humans during the play at dog parks as many people subscribe to the mindset “the dogs are fine, they’ll work it out.

At any time a dogfight can break out and this is extremely dangerous to your dog as well as your safety.

Additionally, dogs may join in the fight even if they’re not involved due to the distress signals that they are hearing.

Then we have to factor in the potential for sickness whether it be other dog’s saliva whatever’s on the ground, and or on surfaces that your dog may lick.

I suggest socializing your dog with friends and family that have well socialized dogs and go to securely fenced backyard’s for dog play. That is safest.

If you do not have securely fenced backyard then I suggest fenced in tennis courts.
Make sure you shape and referee the play to keep things going well.

Dog play can be great and it’s a great way for dogs to socialize, expend energy and train around extreme distractions. Remember, make the safest choice for your dog, because that’s the smartest choice.
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