Who Let the Dogs Out?! Understanding Dog Park OWNERS

Signs at local dog parks indicate proper etiquette and responsibilities for pet owners. Clean up after your pet, you’re responsible, and assure your pet is properly vaccinated. There is often more to the dog park dynamic from the owner perspective than a sign can portray. Here are a few tips to managing the different pet owner personalities and pet interaction and training styles.

Think Pre-school. You’re not just dealing with dogs, you’re dealing with dog OWNERS. As with toddlers & parents, there’s a whole gamut of personalities & “parenting” styles that translate to how owners behave with their dogs:

  1. Over-protective helicopter owners: Any running or wrestling is NOT acceptable and they either leave quickly, or chastise other dogs/owners for not “minding their dogs.” These poor dogs will probably never be socialized and always have issues.
  2. Pragmatic, “let ‘em be dogs” owners: Attentive, but not hovering. The dogs sniff and figure each other out. The dogs act like dogs, with the understanding that barking and running and wrestling is going to happen. However, if their dog gets out of line, they react with appropriate discipline.
  3. Distracted owners: The dog park is a chore. Owner is on their cell phone and not paying attention. The dog is causing problems and they are either in denial or don’t care. Doesn’t interact with other dog owners.

Finding or building a like-minded group of dog owners that communicate well, understand each others’ dogs and support each others’ training and pet relationship styles will aid in better friendships and well socialized, happy pets.

Dedicated to:

  • Pima
  • Toby
  • Tip
  • Daisy
  • Claire
  • Max
  • Barron
  • Frodo
  • Ruby
  • Ollie
  • Copper
  • Milo
  • Norma
  • Toby 2
  • Oreo
  • Mamacita
  • Margo

by Shelly Zollman

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