I have been a dog owner for many years and used to love taking my furry friend to the dog park. But recently, I’ve had a change of heart. After experiencing some unpleasant encounters with off-leash dogs and irresponsible owners, I have decided to stop going to dog parks and engaging in on-leash greetings. In this post, I want to share my reasoning behind this difficult decision and why I believe it’s important for all dog owners to consider the safety of their pets and others’.
Why I STOPPED Dog Parks & On Leash Greetings! 😫
Hey, dog lovers! This is Rachel Fusaro, and I recently made a video about why I stopped taking my dogs to dog parks and stopped allowing on-leash greetings. I received quite a bit of feedback on this video, so I wanted to take some time to explain my reasoning further and answer some frequently asked questions.
Why I Stopped Taking My Dogs To Dog Parks
I used to take my dogs to dog parks to socialize, and it was a great way to get them some exercise. However, as time went on, I started to notice some concerning behaviors from other dogs and owners.
Bullying Behavior & Aggressive Dogs
Some dogs would bully others, and owners would justify the behavior, saying things like “oh, that’s just how he plays.” But playing should be fun for all dogs involved, not just one. I also noticed some dogs displaying aggressive behaviors, and owners would be too far away or too distracted to intervene.
I also started to worry about my dogs’ health while at the dog park. There’s always a risk of injury from rough play or accidents, and the potential for my dogs to contract illnesses such as kennel cough or parvo.
Given these concerns, I decided to find alternative ways to exercise and socialize my dogs. We go on walks, hikes, and playdates with dogs that we know and trust.
Why I Stopped Allowing On Leash Greetings
Another behavior that concerned me was letting my dogs interact with other dogs while on-leash. While it may seem like a friendly gesture, it can actually cause more harm than good.
Some dogs can become leash-reactive when they’re on a leash, meaning they may bark, lunge, or become aggressive towards other dogs. This can be dangerous for both dogs and their owners.
Dogs also have a natural tendency to protect their territory, and when they’re on a leash, they can feel even more protective of their space. This can lead to boundary issues and potential conflicts with other dogs.
Instead of allowing on-leash greetings, I focus on positive reinforcement training with my dogs to improve their behavior around other dogs.
Q1: What if my dog needs the exercise that a dog park provides?
A1: There are still plenty of ways to exercise your dog without going to a dog park. You can take your dog on walks, hikes, or playdates with dogs that you know and trust.
Q2: What if my dog is well-behaved around other dogs at the dog park?
A2: Even if your dog is well-behaved, there’s always a risk that another dog at the park won’t be. It’s better to err on the side of caution and find alternative ways to socialize and exercise your dog.
Q3: What if my dog is aggressive towards other dogs?
A3: If your dog displays aggressive behaviors towards other dogs, dog parks and on-leash greetings are not appropriate for them. You should consider working with a professional dog trainer to address the behavior.
Q4: What if I live in an apartment or have limited space for my dog to exercise?
A4: If you have limited space, you can still exercise your dog by taking them on walks or finding an enclosed area for them to run around in.
Q5: What if I still want to socialize my dog with other dogs?
A5: If you still want to socialize your dog with other dogs, consider setting up playdates with dogs that you know and trust. You can also enroll your dog in obedience classes or training sessions where they can interact with other dogs in a controlled environment.
While it may seem counterintuitive to avoid dog parks and on-leash greetings, it’s important to prioritize your dog’s safety and well-being. There are plenty of alternative ways to exercise and socialize your dog that don’t come with the same risks. Remember to always prioritize positive reinforcement training and seek professional help if necessary. Thanks for reading, and happy dog parenting!