Ask The Hairy Dogfathers: Bad Manners At The Dog Park

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Dear Hairy Dogfathers,

Talk about dog park DRAMA! We have all seen it, but I never expected to write to you about it. At our local dog park, we are a pretty tight knit group. We meet every day after work, and most weekends as well. The dogs are like a family, a big happy pack. Recently a new guy has been coming by, and just has his eyes glued to his phone the entire time. His dog is no angel, and needs some supervision. He’s always getting into trouble and starting drama (the dog, not the human). How do I get this guy to put down his phone and deal with his dog?

Dog Park Drama

Related: The Emily Post Guide To Proper Dog Park Etiquette

Sounds like the new dog and the new person is having problems fitting into the pack. Normally I let people make their own stupid decisions but I refuse to let that negatively affect my pack. If the other members of your group feel the same way, I suggest that a few of you approach him individually and talk to him one on one. If he gets the message from a few different people he should either man up and become a better dog owner, or stop showing up. If he ignores this warning, I recommend you use the power of the happy (human) pack to confront him as a group, that will surely wake him up or send him running away with is tail between his legs.

Related: Is Poop Getting In The Way Of Picking Up?

Okay, I am not a big fan of dog parks, and I am not a big fan of cliques either. So here it goes. You go to the dog park every day, and just stand around in a group? Take some control here and be a better leader for your dog. Standing around yacking with your friends is not much different than standing around and texting. Go to the dog park and walk with your dog.  Play. Engage him. Praise him for appropriate play, practice recall and reward good behaviors. Dog parks are great for people and dogs to socialize, but that is only a small part of the equation. Don’t take the easy way out by standing around the park every day, patting yourself on the back for being such a great owner.

Your dogs have formed a pack, and some the behaviors you blame on the other dog may be reactions to aggression from the rest of the pack. The dogs have formed a tightly knit pack, and may have hung a “No new members allowed” sign out. Sounds like the humans have done the same.


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