The Truth About Dog Parks
Chako Pit Bull Rescue
Many people take their dogs to dog parks because it is a convenient
way to socialize and exercise their companion. Indeed, many dogs love
going to dog parks. However, taking any dog to a dog park that is occupied by many unfamiliar dogs
isnít a good idea for several reasons, and itís an even worse idea if you own a Pit Bull.
When you take your dog to a dog park, you know nothing about the other dogs at the park or their
owners. You donít know if all the dogs play nicely with others or have triggers (such as toys or food).
Donít assume that only ďfriendly" dogs go to dog parks. In fact, many owners bring dogs to dog parks
that are not appropriate for such an environment, mistakenly believing that dogs will ďwork out"
their differences through normal social interactions. Some owners just donít care whether their dog
plays nicely and consider dog parks an easy way to
exercise their dogs.
Even ďdog friendly" dogs can get into fights at dog
parks. The fact is, if you take your dog to a dog park
on a regular basis, odds are youíve seen a dog fight.
Even if you haven't yet seen a fight, frequently going
to a dog park is like playing Russian Roulette. It only
takes one bad incident to leave your dog with serious
injuries and/or a lifetime of dog reactivity issues.
The issue with dog parks is heightened for Pit Bulls,
not because they canít play nicely with other dogs,
but because of both their terrier nature and the
misconceptions others have about them. Pit Bulls are
part terrier, and most terrier breeds are somewhat
reactive toward other dogs. Thatís not to say that all Pit Bulls are dog-reactive (in fact, many love
other dogs). However, what it does mean is that a negative experience can have a lasting impact on
your dog, and that impact may be heightened due to your dog's terrier nature.
Pit Bulls donít mature until about 3 years of age. During that time, it is extremely important to make
sure they have positive, supervised interactions with other dogs. If a young, impressionable dog has a
very bad experience, such as a serious dog fight, it can color his attitude about other dogs for the rest
of his life--whereas before all dogs were friends, now dogs may be a threat.
Two real-life examples show the problem with dog parks.
The first example happened in northern California. One dog, a nine-month old Pit Bull, was romping
around the dog park chasing after his ball. A much larger golden-colored animal with a medium coat
(the owner called it a Redbone Coonhound-Mastiff mix) charged across the dog park and attacked the
Pit Bull.