Safety at the Dog Park | Warning Signs you Need to Watch Out For

Dog Parks! They sound like a great place to bring your pup for a fun outing, meet new doggy friends and eliminate built up energy! As great as this fun outing sounds, not all dogs are suited to the dog park. Here are some helpful tips that will help you decide whether a dog park is right for you and your pup.

Know your dog, yes I know it sounds like I’m stating the obvious here but this is the most important aspect in setting your dog up for success at the dog park. 

Constant Humper

I’m sure we are all very aware of the ‘humping’ dog at the park. Puppies and adult dogs will hump. Humping at the dog park can be caused by the dog being over stimulated in the environment. 
The danger of a dog humping at the park is in essence that the dog the ‘humpee’ could attack and bite the dog the ‘humper’. Dogs will generally give a warning(s) before hand to the ‘humper’ to stop and if the dog does not stop and is being persistent and humping it is your responsibility to keep your dog safe and remove him from the situation. You will hear people at the park say ‘it’s fine let the dog tell him it’s not OK to hump’ but if your dog is not listening to the warning signals then be prepared for the outcome. It is proven that the odds of the ‘humpee’ initiating the attack is high. If your dog humps at the park be aware the danger your dog is in, they can get badly hurt. 
Likewise the ‘humpee’ dog should be removed from the situation if the owner of the dog does nothing to help the situation. It’s best to avoid incidences that can lead to emergency vet visits and very expensive vet bills (you could end up paying both!).

Dogs on Leashes

You may notice dogs who are at the park with their leash left on to drag across the ground; also known as a ‘drag leash’. What you need to be aware of is why people use a drag leash on their dog. People use drag leashes for a couple of different reasons; such as the dog is in training and it’s a safety net for recall purposes as the dog may not come back to them when its time to go home and secondly because the dog cannot be trusted; 9/10 times it’s the latter. They are used in case the dog engages in a confrontation with another dog. Dogs who cannot be trusted should NOT be at the dog park, problem is you have no say in the matter. Be wary of this dog and watch how he engages with other dogs, if you see anything that doesn’t look OK trust your gut and remove yourself and your dog from the situation. Dogs can become reactive from being put in bad situations and having bad experiences.

Body Language

This is the most important aspect of attending a dog park. Knowing your own dogs body language as well as others. A wagging tail doesn’t always mean a happy dog. 
While at the dog park what should you watch out for? Theses are common signs that your dog is stressed, nervous and general discomfort, they are not content and should not be at the dog park.

  • Tucked Tails
  • Yawning
  • Licking Lips
  • Body Freezing
  • Panting
  • Shaking
  • Drooling

People at the Park

There are so many people at the park that are just not paying attention to their dog, they are busy talking to other people, using their phone or just straight up not paying attention to their dog. It is so important while other dogs aren’t paying attention to their dog that you are paying attention to your dog. Set up nice safe environment for your dog, know what he’s saying with his body (dogs speak so loudly with their body language if you listen) know when to leave if you have too! 

For more information on dogs body language visit positively.com

Don’t let your dog be a statistic for another dog park attack. Keep you and your pup safe, be vigilant at the dog park!