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Dog Parks: Are You A Fan?

I’m not, well sort of not.

The main reason is that you don’t know the environment you’re stepping into once you walk through the gate. Are there aggressive dogs there? Don’t know. Is each person there a responsible dog owner? Don’t know and perhaps not. Please don’t misunderstand… I know there are very responsible dog owners who venture out to the dog parks. And at any time they all might be responsible. But there are “less than responsible” owners, and aggressive dogs as well. I have seen people totally focused on their cell phone conversation and oblivious to where their dog is and what he is doing. So, I would avoid going into a dog park, but there is one excellent use for them: distraction training.

Take your dog to the dog park (around it), but not in the dog park and run him through training exercises. But you say, “Jeff, my dog needs exercise!” I understand, but you can run with your dog, bike with him, put him on a treadmill, or ideally train him for reliable off leash control. With off leash control you can take him to a big field, play fetch or let him run around, knowing that you won’t end up stapling his picture on telephone poles in the area.

Dog parks for fun and socialization – NO. Dog parks for distraction training – YES. (but around the park, not in it)

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