How to Handle Your Dog in the Dog Park

When your dog is approached by a dog that looks like it may be aggressive YOU (not your dog) needs to take the aggressors role.When your dog is approached by a dog that looks like it may be aggressive YOU (not your dog) needs to take the aggressors role.

Dogs that have the potential to be aggressive are going to have a stiff body. Their legs will be stiff, often their tail will be straight up in the air or straight back (never tucked under the stomach – that’s a submissive posture). When another dog does this it’s to make itself look bigger and stronger.Dominant dogs will T-OFF on your dog. That means to stand at your dog’s shoulder and put their muzzle over the shoulders of your dog.

This is a dominant display. When you see this:

Tell the dogs owner that he or she needs to get control of their dog. If this does not work, then it’s time to leave the park. If there was any aggression you may want to file a complaint or police report. Make sure you indicate that you were concerned for your personal safety and your dog. If the situation has moved beyond the point where you can leave then you need to take things into your own hands. Verbally tell the dog in a deep voice to get out of there.

Usually (not always) this is enough to make the dog back off. When that happens you need to determine if you have solved the problem or if you need to leave. Always err on the side of safety. I would not go to a dog park without a walking stick or a can of pepper gas. If you are not familiar with how to safely break up a dog fight without getting hurt you need to familiarize yourself with what to do. (Read the article or listen to the podcast I have done on this).

What I do may not be possible for many people with less experience. But if a stray dog were to get aggressive with my dog and I could not verbally threaten the dog to make it move on I would attack the dog with the stick. I can hear all the PETA PUKE rolling their eyes as they read this, but the fact is by this point retreat is not an option and I would not allow my dog to be hurt. Often times one good HARD HARD hit right between the ears will deter most dogs.

If you don’t have the confidence to do this, call the authorities because this dog does not belong in the park. If another dog attacks your dog you need to do what I explain in my article on Breaking Up A Dog Fight. If I were to walk a dog in the city, I would not do it without a can of pepper gas to use on any dog that even looks cross-eyed at my puppy.

I would not hesitate to physically go after a dog that approaches my pup. The only ones that would be allowed to come close would be dogs I know for a fact are well-mannered, friendly soles that will be tolerant and play with my puppy.