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  • Gemma Johnston

Is Your Dog Aggressive at Dog Parks & Beaches?

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

This is a common one I hear & not many people like my solution. Our ideas of what dogs should do & how they should behave is the actual problem. Our inability to read dog body language is also a major problem.

Majority of dog trainers will not step foot in a dog park or beach, as these are dangerous & unpredictable places. I certainly would not put my dog in such a situation.

Yes, you may have a dog that is “Fine” at these places.

  1. Your dog may be fine until something happens.

  2. Your dog actually isn’t fine & you are missing all the cues it’s giving you

Removing your dog from the dog parks or beaches will fix your problem of any aggression at dog park. You may find it fixes a lot of problems in other areas you may be having to.

But why do dog fights happen in these places?

  • Dogs are not meant to get a long with every dog they see, I can say the same for us people. I know you do not like every person you know. Yet we still know we should act civil around the people we don’t like & if that isn’t possible, we avoid the person, otherwise it might end up in an argument or fight.

  • In a dog park your dog can not act civil or avoid that dog it doesn’t like if its stuck at a park with it., so its only option to defend itself.

  • Theft is a common occurrence, where one dog will steal another dogs toy, resulting in a fight

  • Bulling happens when a dog feels insecure & feels it must push other dogs around in order to stay safe. You might know these as Dominant Dogs - They are actually insecure. This insecure bullying leads to fights where other dogs who don’t tolerate this behaviour will defend themselves. This bullying & aggressive behaviour can then be displayed on walks, in other public places or in the home. This is when I get calls from people to fix their reactive dog & don’t know what happened as he always used to play well at parks but was always the “dominant”

  • The dogs who don’t tolerate the bully then feel unsafe & feel they need to defend themselves all the time or more frequently. They may lash out at bullies sooner, rather than later, making owners think there where no signs of a fight about to happen. When really the tension & stress has been building over time. Or they become aggressive in general being constantly placed in the same unsafe situation.

  • I’ve seen so many dogs hide behind their owners while they are trying to encourage them to go play. I also see many dogs rolling over while another dog stands over top of it. Insecure dogs who will opt to retreat or roll over then become more shy & lose even more confidence being bullied by the other dogs or jumped on by the rough dogs. This declining confidence will be affected in all areas, in the home, out on walks & other public places. Place this submissive insecure dog under enough pressure & it can still lash out in defence.

  • The rough & boisterous dogs who yes, are having a blast do also have problems. They will go around harassing everyone else dogs (Not realising it & causing issues for all these other dogs & owners) until they get bitten one day (or on multiple occasions) as a dog will no longer tolerate their rough and rude behaviour, & things will change for them. Where they become one of the above dogs.

  • The friendly yet boisterous dogs can also develop leash frustration reactivity. As the owner has never taught the dog any obedience or impulse control around other dog. Now when it sees a dog on a walk or in a café & its not allowed to go play for hours & jump all over it, it gets frustrated. The tension & pulling on the leash (from both ends) builds this frustration even more, turning into anger. Owners can become concerned with their dogs frustration as it looks & sounds menacing. Combine this with a anxious owner who doesn’t know what’s going on or what to do & you have a recipe for disaster.

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