Back in June, Eric Goebelbecker posted a very controversial post at Dogstar Daily in which he argued that dogs don’t need to play with other dogs to be happy. And, since dog parks can be volatile situations, you might be better off finding other ways for your dog to play with others if you do think it’s necessary.
I’ve met too many dogs injured at dog parks to think of them as innocuous locations. And two of my previous dogs were reactive and would never have wanted to go to a dog park.
But Honey is much more social. She really likes to play with another dog or two so I decided to try the local dog park–with a few precautions.
- We went early. 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning has a handful of dogs, not the pack of 40 you might find on a sunny, weekend afternoon.
- I checked out the activity in the park before deciding to go in with Honey.
- I exercised Honey first so she wasn’t all wound up and hyper when we got there.
We’ve had mixed results.
One time she got to play with a very sweet 4 month old Golden Retriever puppy with a very attentive dog mom. Once she saw her boy was getting tired, she took him home for a rest (yay dog mom!)
I also encountered a man who hoped Honey would teach his dog to be less of a resource guarder. I’m sorry but I think that’s something the dog should know before coming to a dog park and I’m not willing to have Honey serve as a practice puppy.
Over all, I think our experiences with one-on-one play with dogs we know has been much more successful. It’s much easier to supervise two dogs and to break in if you think they’re getting too aroused. And you know how the people are going to react since they aren’t strangers to you.
I’m not going to give up entirely on the dog park. But I think I’ll make more efforts to plan playtimes with friends and neighbors in the future.