Dog ownership is something like being a parent--one screaming kid on a plane can be just like one dog-aggressive dog in the park: It creates resentment, hostility, and frustration!   Dogs are complex animals and different breeds can have stronger tendencies towards behaviors like being protective, chasing prey, fearful reactions, etc.   I firmly believe that a dog need not be the model of perfection in every area as long as the owner is aware of his/her dogs limitations and is educated on how to avoid or manage a variety of situations.   

Enroll in a group class....sign up for a few private sessions with a certified up about dog body language, development, and breed specifics.

                                                                                                            EDUCATE YOURSELF

DOG PARKS:   After the age of 6months, a dog begins adolescence and it is not uncommon for UNFRIENDLY dog-dog behaviors to arise during this period.  Please do not take a newly adolescent dog to a dog park if you are not very experienced in dog body language AND unless you have good knowledge of the other dogs frequenting the park.   If you own a Bully breed, then you must accept that any dog scuffle that happens will likely be blamed on YOU so you owe it to your dogs and your neighbors to enroll in a class or consult with a professional to ensure your dogs social skills are acceptable for an off-leash environment.

 If you do not have a good recall for your dog.......don't go to an off-leash dog park but spend the time TRAINING a reliable recall with positive methods!

If you want to text, talk on the phone or be otherwise occupied......don't go to an off-leash dog park.  

If you have young children with you.....don't go to an off-leash dog park.

If your dog is in-heat/intact.....don't go to an off-leash dog park.  (The hormones are not detected by us but are well noted by other dogs).

If you just got your rescue dog a few weeks ago....don't go to an off-leash dog park.  Create a bond first and get to know one another.

If you have a tiny dog.......only go to off-leash environments where it is small dog ONLY.   Bones can break even with the best intending big dog.

KIDS:   I have them and will tell you they are unpredictable and dogs absolutely know the difference between adult-kid.   I remain on the cautious side and educate all kids that come in my house HOW to properly interact with a dog, keep dogs away from kids when I see they are uncomfortable with the noise/activity, and never leave an infant alone with a dog period!   An playful nip, fearful bite, resource guarding warning, protective lunge have NO place around children and yet all of these are considered "normal" dog behaviors.....ones a professional can help assess and ideally get rid of.   Always be careful, be smart about watching how kids are interacting with your dog and even a dog who was "raised" with kids can get cranky and less tolerant with age.      

Some great sites to learn: Bullyproject  .....ASPCA

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