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Why Dog Parks Are Unnatural & How To Properly Socialize Your Dog


The last time I posted this it went viral 🤯


It rubbed some the right way and some the wrong way with lots of different opinions about my opinion ... and I still say the same 💁‍♀️


It seems that the ultimate goal for dog owners is to have a dog they can bring to a dog park because that must mean their dog can tolerate and deal with anything 🧐


And I wonder why that's so important?


I understand that many owners with this as their goal in mind, doing it with the best intentions, assuming they’re doing the right thing and are improving the quality of their dog’s life. And for a small amount of dogs, it can be a great experience.


But…


If you have a dog that doesn't really enjoy other dogs, you don't do your dog any favor trying to get him to a point where he can "tolerate" being at the dog park...usually it's quite the opposite and you'll lose your dogs trust that you got his back.


Or if you have a dog that enjoys playing really rough, why is it so important that he can "play" with the miniature doodle at the park rather than finding him a personal play mate that is on his level?


There's many reasons why I don't bring my dog to a dog park regardless of how well tempered and balanced my dog would be...the environment is just way too uncontrolled.


It's like going to a night club, you never know what to expect LOL


The fact that the majority of dogs are dog selective, meaning they prefer a more social circle than having to hug and kiss every stranger they come in contact with, is just another one.


But one of the big reasons I don't bring any dogs there is, because it really is a very unnatural environment for dogs and if you'd like to understand more about this, go on and read my full article on that topic: Why Dog Parks Are Unnatural & How To Properly Socialize Your Dog We all know the importance of socializing our dogs but often this is mistaken by the thought of “My dog has to play with as many other dogs as possible”! So most people think the dog park is a great place for socialization. Trust us, we do think dog parks are a great idea for some dogs and owners but not really for socialization. In many dog parks we witness dogs with very poor social skills and owners who do not understand or underestimate their dog’s communication. Dog park discussion aside for now though as there are other important factors when we talk about socialization. What is a “properly” socialized dog? People: A well socialized dog is used to all kinds of people of different shapes and sizes and doesn’t feel the urge to go say hi and jump on everybody. But rather he is simply comfortable mingling between people and is able to ignore them unless somebody is asking for interaction and he is confident enough to do so. Different Environments: A well socialized dog is comfortable and confident in different environments such as close to a busy road, a large gathering of people, different surfaces such as gravel or unsteady ground and so on. Dogs: A well socialized dog is comfortable around different temperaments of dogs and trusts in his handler that they will protect and guide him to the right decisions no matter what. Therefor the dog doesn’t feel the need to react to other dogs in any way, negative or positive. He doesn’t get up and stick his nose deep into every dogs butt he doesn’t know and then tries to force them to “play”. A well socialized dog understands and respects the space and boundaries of other dogs and simply ignores most of other dogs when walking along. He also speaks dog very well and can communicate his wishes in a respectful manner and also will accept the same from another dog. Back to the dog park... Why are dog parks unnatural, I thought they are the best thing ever for my dog? We all know that dogs are not wolves but there are still some similarities. When you look at an established wolf pack, most of the time the pack consist of close relatives and maybe a couple outsiders that were integrated into the pack for breeding purposes. Wolves and dogs are both social animals and enjoy interaction with trusted companions. When you observe street dogs, you will notice that they are usually forming packs to serve a purpose such as hunting. It is however very normal that these packs split up randomly and each dog goes its own way again. New packs might form on a regular basis and split up again, some dogs might stay together longer than others and some might form a bonded pair/small pack. Even then, dogs do only closely interact (or play) with other dogs they trust and know. It is unnatural to adult dogs to just go and play with another dog they have never met before. The reason for this is simply because dogs that haven’t been a part of the pack are strangers! Imagine if you were sitting in a café, enjoying a cup of coffee and a stranger walks up to you gives you a hug, possibly a kiss on the cheek, sits down and tells you his life story! A little awkward OR even threatening don’t you think? Why? Because he’s a stranger! On the other hand, if they person would approach you and say “Hi, min name is Randal, would you mind if I have a seat?” he is being polite and you actually have a choice to say yes or no. If you say no, he should respect that and go away and if you say yes and he’s polite, he may sit down and you can slowly get to know each other. … This is how a normal dog interaction should go...polite and slowly getting to know each other. So in the dog park, when you do think “let’s go and socialize my dog by playing with strange dogs”, you put them into a situation that is kind of awkward for them. Some dogs are happy go lucky and do enjoy those interactions and play fine with everybody but be aware of your own dog’s limitations and who you might meet there. In my personal observation I find that often times dogs that want to play right away with any given dog, have very poor socialization or dog to dog communication skills and most of the times interact inappropriate and rude. What is proper dog to dog socialization: In the “wild” dogs don’t run around like maniacs with each other but rather they just mingle…they just hang out.


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