Visiting Dog Parks: To Go or Not To Go
Brought to you by the AKC GoodDog! Helpline – the AKC’s 7-day-a-week training support service
By Hilarie Erb, AKC GoodDog! Helpline Trainer
Warmer weather is here and you are looking forward to fun outings at the dog park meeting other dog lovers while the dogs have a grand time playing. But is the dog park where your best friend really wants to be? Or is it where you think he should want to be because all dogs should be social?
Owners can be disappointed if their dogs do not enjoy socializing at the dog park. Or more embarrassing, their dog, while delightful at home, is a bully who doesn’t like to share.
Humans must learn to get along with others, at least to a degree because in life, humans must interact (at least a little bit) to make a living. Some people love to socialize and others are happier sticking close to home with just a few close friends. The same is true of dogs. Each one is an individual, with a different personality. They have us to take care of their needs, so they don’t need to love being with other dogs to get by in life. And that’s okay.
If your dog has a wonderful time and gets along well with the other dogs at the park, that is great! But if he is unhappy, even though you have ensured that he is safe and only with dogs of similar size and temperament, don’t force it on him. It does not mean that there is something wrong if your dog doesn’t enjoy the dog park. Some dogs are simply not that social. If your dog is content at home and just being with you and the family, play games with him at home and bring him along on family outings that he does enjoy.
“Some people love to socialize and others are happier sticking close to home with just a few close friends. The same is true of dogs.”
About the less than polite dog: although loving and delightful at home, he may be very selfish with toys. The presence of treats can bring out his greedy side. It doesn’t mean he’s a “bad” dog. Nor is it a reflection on you; some breeds are wired to never give in for any reason! But it is important to know your dog and to remember that he is a dog – that’s what you like about him. If this sounds like your dog, be a responsible dog owner. Play it safe and avoid the dog park, or go when nobody else is there. Is it hard for you to tell if the dogs at the park are having a good time? This article has tips on how to assess the situation: Are they playing or fighting?
What to do instead of visiting the dog park? Something fun to start with: Fun Things to do with a Box! Walks in the neighborhood rides in the car, and training and dog sports are good ways to have fun with her. Signing up for a training class could open a whole new world for you and your dog! Find an AKC training or agility club near you: AKC Training Club Search
Join the AKC GoodDog! Helpline TODAY at the discount price of $59.99 – $40 off the regular fee. This provides lifetime training support for your dog. No renewals ever necessary.
For more tips and advice on training your dog, join the AKC GoodDog! Helpline, a seven-day-a-week telephone support service staffed by experienced dog trainers: www.akcgooddoghelpline.org.