I was reading a blog post from one of Swedens biggest blogs (click) and the post was about Annica’s puppy getting a not so nice welcome in the dog park. Her small puppy got chased by another much larger puppy that did not understand that it should be careful with the smaller one.
I read all the comments in that post and also the comments on Swedens biggest “Gossip” blog (click) that took up the incident and people commented that they were scared to go to the dog park. It’s quite dramatic when your dog gets attacked or chased by another dog or dogs and you have right to be upset but there are some things you can think about before entering a dog park with your dog, so that you are more prepared for whatever happens inside.
1, Before you step into the dog park take a look around to see what kind of dogs that are inside and watch how they play.
Dogs are not always magically suited to play with each outer. Think for a moment if it would be a fun group of dogs for your dog to play with. Willes first encounter with a group of dogs that knew each other well was three grown Irish setters. I had him in my arms when I opened the gate, took off his leash and put him down and stood there with him like a shield so he knew where he could hide if he wanted to. It went swimmingly. I was prepared to ask the setters to leave us or pick him up but Wille was a tough little man and did not need any assistance from me.
2, You need to be the one that is in charge of the situation and not leave it to your dog to fend for itself.
Talk to the owner that probably is standing there. Pick up your dog and go talk to them so that everyone can get along. I never did let Wille approach a dog I did not know or if the owner was not near us. I just picked him up and asked the dog to leave us alone or waited for the owner to approach us and talked to them before I let Wille play with the dog. There was no way I was letting my little man play with a dog I did not know. He is my responsibility!
3, Pay attention when your dog is playing with other dogs and be prepared to butt in if it gets too rough.
I don’t know how many times I have told dogs to go away or leave Wille alone. Said “I´m sorry” to the owner and just dived in with my head first into the group of dogs and pushed them away from Wille. One puppy when Wille was twelve weeks old did not want Wille to play with the other puppies so she stood over him and made him lay on his back. I watch for a few seconds, the owner did not do anything so I said “sorry but no” and pushes the puppy of him. Did not pick him up but the little bitch needed to move away from him.
4, Pick a good time for you and your dog to be at the park.
When is it probably going to be a lot of dogs and people in a dog park? Around twelve o’clock, after five and on the weekends. I always picked a time when I knew that there were not so many dogs in the park and we ended up having a lovely walk with other puppies and their owner. We were always at the park around seven or eight o´clock in the morning or evening.
I am sorry to hear that people are afraid to go to the dog park because of things that might happen. The dog park can be a fun place for both you and your dog but if you are nervous, or your dog is, you might be better of having playdates instead and not entering a dog park with dogs you do not know. It should be fun and playful to be there!
With that said, yes, it still can happen things but it can also happen right outside your front door so you need to be prepared.