Updated: Nov 24, 2020
Dog parks- is the risk worth the reward?
Many of my behavior modification clients will come to me with a story that goes something like this “ ....well we got this puppy and we took him to the dog park then something happened, and now he is exhibiting unwanted behaviors when he is around other dogs”. The first thing I will tell those people is to STOP taking Fido to the park. The risks of taking your dog to the dog park severely outweigh the benefits mostly because dog parks are unregulated, meaning anyone can take their dog there. Not only is there the risk of encountering an aggressive or under socialized dog that may hurt or scare your pup but you are also risking potential illness caused by shared water sources and inability to properly prevent the spread of disease. There are much better ways to socialize your dog that are low risk. My recommendation is to find an obedience class that fits your dogs needs, that way you will have access to a small group of dogs that you will grow to know and trust during the duration of class. This will also give you access to a knowledgable professional who you can contact with any questions regarding socialization.