This is a great article by Dr. Sophia Lin on dog park etiquette and the importance of socializing puppies and adult dogs well.


Dog Park Etiquette

By Dr. Sophia Lin


You've owned dogs for ages, you have pets galore.
You know all the stories, they're now just a bore.
But have you heard the one about Dennis? Dennis, the Dog Park Menace?
Rumor has it he's at every park. He comes in many disguises making him easy to miss.
Here's how he might appear.
The dogs are playing, each a brown or black blur
When off in the distance appears a mass of white fur.
The ball of white bounces, looming larger and clear
Then Splat! A squashed Scottie dog yelps out in fear.
He's friendly," calls the owner, but Scottie must disagree.
Her friends play nicely. They don't squish her like a flea.
Or maybe he looks like so:
A dog named Fetch is playing alone
He's chasing a tennis ball and a red rubber bone.
The Menace decides to stick to him like glue,
He never gets farther than a sock from a shoe.
Fetch tells him with body language to please go away,
But Dennis ignores him; he wants to stay.
Finally Fetch shouts in a growl meant to scare,
Which Dennis ignores then takes as a dare.
A scuffle breaks out, luckily no one is hurt,
Of course Dennis's owner says Fetch started it first.

"If owners were watching, they might notice something surprising: poor social skills. Unbeknownst to some owners, dogs don't instinctively know how to behave in groups any more than kids know how to act at fancy dinner parties. They learn their code of conduct through interactions when young. Unfortunately, many miss the early lessons and have trouble catching up. While other dogs their age know when a look means back off, these naive newbies think everything is fair game. They tail terriers who want their own space and harass hounds by getting in their face."

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