Gamechaser Labradors

Dog Parks: Yay or Nay?

When dog parks were first built, we all thought "What a great idea! A place to run your dog to exhaustion while he can make friends too".
Unfortunately, it quickly became very clear just how many people cannot read dog behaviour or supervise their dogs and intervene to stop potential fights/problems.
It's also clear that many dogs should not be allowed to run offlead with other dogs as they have limited social skills, are unstable/aggressive/anxious, insecure/reactive, or genetically dog aggressive. But many dog owners feel entitled to let these dogs off lead anyway at dog parks or beaches without any regard to their fellow dog owners and this is how tragedy happens on a daily/weekly occurance. 
Off Leash Parks are Not Socialisation  (from

Ever wondered why your dog gets hectic in off leash areas and why when back on leash he or she is a bit reactive to other dogs.

The cause is too much uncontrolled off leash exposure and not just to dogs.

Most people are conditioned to take their dogs to off leash parks all innocently in the name of socialisation.

Sadly this is not the way to go.

The meaning of Socialisation is "learning to be social within constraints". There is nothing controlled about an off leash park.

Off leash parks are a breeding ground for impulsive behaviour that in the vast majority of cases is detrimental to teaching dogs how to interact.

If you have ever attended off leash parks I am sure you can identify with the following;

The Bully - This is the dog that runs around smashing into other dogs and being a nuisance,
The Herder - This is the frustrated herding dog that is continuously running around trying to herd all the dogs and sometimes kids,
The Ball Thief - This is the ball obsessed dog that just wants every ball being thrown,
The Unsure Dog - This is the dog that never leaves the owner's side and is not at all comfortable.

While dogs enjoy playing and get to expel some energy, the potential for problems to occur is very high.

In my role as an Expert Witness for court, by far the majority of assessments I have to do are from dog to dog and dog to human incidents in off leash parks.

The best place to take your dog to learn how to be social is a well run professional dog training center which allows on and off leash interaction under guidance and control.

Dogs need to play and run but they also need to have their behaviours directed and made socially appropriate.



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Mid North Coast/ Newcastle, NSW, Australia
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