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A new series about Dogs in Public... Dog Parks

I’m a certified professional dog trainer. I am not a Dr. or a certified behaviorist. Below is my opinion and ideas I’ve “borrowed” from dog professionals smarter than me and through 10,000+ hours of working with dogs and my thousands of mistakes. Those professionals and you may completely disagree with me and that’s OK. Below is just things I’ve said a thousand times in conversations about dogs beginning with my last conversation about… dog parks.

 


 

                                           I… don’t like dog parks.


I mean, I really, really don’t like dog parks. I know, I know. I own a freaking “dog park”. It’s called BrightDogs DOG PARK. There’s a lit sign on the building that says, “DOG PARK”. I bought a street sign from the city of New York that says DOG PARK and stuck it in the window. ” Dog Park” is just a generic term now, like Kleenex, Coke and ESPN. We began as an indoor play place for you and your dog to come play before transitioning to Day Care. It was difficult to find a balance. Which is why I don’t like public dog parks. It’s too complicated: a mix of dogs, adults and children. Yes, children can be very different beings entirely in the eyes of a dog.

 

                                           The complicated mix is that of energy, of vibration. A lot of dog parks separate dogs into

Large and Small groups. That’s good when it comes to avoiding trampling people or smaller dogs and may be comforting to dogs who may be timid of larger dogs but in the general dog universe, separating by size makes as much sense as separating by color. And dogs generally aren’t rude or go plowing through other dogs or bully one another because. Some might do that because they’re not cool and they’re not being taught to NOT be a jerk, but being a jerk is more a human trait than canine trait. For dogs it's about energy. Vibe man! Here’s where I can drop my “Dogs are Jazz” lecture but that seems like a good title for a future blog so I’ll save that. 

 

                                           It would be best overall if parks decided the park in threes; high energy, medium energy, low energy. Size schmize! Dogs are generally polite, well-mannered and stay in their proverbial lanes. They group together like we do based on similar interest and energy. Not everyone clicks and some may even dislike each other but they can still co-exist at the dog park. If I was a dog at a dog park, I’d probably look for dogs like me who love to play ball, chase sticks and watch long documentaries. I probably wouldn’t vibe well with a rat-a-tat barking chihuahua or a Malinois-mix that can’t step telling me, “and then…. and then… and then….” stories . Ugh, enough! It’s exhausting. Disclaimer: I own both examples so don’t come at me.

 

                                           Overall, I love the concept of public dog parks. I just wish they were supervised by trained handlers and that the dogs be assessed before receiving a park pass. If a dog can’t handle socialization yet and is reactive or snappy, it can go to a section of the park where dogs stay leashed at a safe distance around other dogs until they can be desensitized or taught proper manners before diving into a pack. Dog parks should have a

 

  1. A leashed section

  2. A high energy section

  3. A medium/ low energy/ geriatric/ handicap section.

 

                                           If you love the dog park, great. I don’t judge. I just can’t relax at one and clutch my pearls the whole time. I just implore you to stay close to your dog and never believe when someone says, “Oh, he’s OK. He’s friendly”



- Kyle Bright, MBA CPDT

1 Kommentar


suzannederrick
06. Juni

Thank for sharing this, Kyle. I learn so much from you. I foster dogs for a local rescue and you teaching me about matching energy has helped me so much with managing my resident dogs with new fosters and in placing fosters in their forever homes. Thank you for sharing your insights and experience to help so many others with their pets.

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