dog parks - two labradors

Dog Parks and Socialization Classes Can Go Horribly Wrong…

Dog Parks and Socialization Can Have Adverse Effects

Dog parks are sort of a newer craze among pet owners.  The general thought here is to let dogs interact off leash, play, and socialize.  This concept SEEMS great.  Here’s the problem though…

Luna and Mila- Endless Mt. Labradors

Often I’ve seen and heard of incidents at dog parks where playing turns into bullying… And too often, the owner of said bully is not right there to intervene, or worse, chooses not to.  Have you ever heard these excuses?

“Oh they’ll be fine!  That’s what dogs do!”

“Your pup’s gotta toughen up!”

“They’re just playing…”

“They’re establishing their roles…”

Yadda, yadda, yadda…

Molly and Megan at dog parks - Endless Mt. Labradorsmolly and megan at dog parks- Endless Mt. Labradors

Here’s the problem with all of that nonsense logic… The pup who’s roughed around can have long term behavioral effects of his or her own.  Aggressive behavior can stem from these exact situations.  Think about it.  The victim here is being bullied, ganged up on by multiple dogs sometimes, and nobody’s intervening.  He learns that MAYBE if he gets to other dog first, if HE plays the bully role, he won’t get picked on.

The biggest thing to take away, is knowing the difference between playing and bullying. Bullying should absolutely not be acceptable!  If one dog is showing submissive signs and the other isn’t backing down, it’s bullying. 

And I have to tell you, an aggressive LABRADOR is RARE.  It makes me wonder if some of those cases had bad “socialization” incidents themselves…

Mia, Emmy, and Doc at dog parks- Endless Mt. Labradors

Happy Labby Play!

Bottom Line: Socialization IS important, and dogs NEED other dogs… but make sure it’s SUPERVISED socialization, and never be afraid to be protective of your dog.

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