Three Dogs Who Shouldn’t Be at the Dog Park or Daycare

Dog parks and daycares can provide an excellent energy outlet for dogs.  Off-leash play environments can help reduce a dog’s stress and boredom, and give dogs a fun way to meet new people and other dogs. I’m a big fan of off-leash play when it’s done for the right reasons with the right dogs.  But there are three dogs that shouldn’t be at the dog park or the dog daycare. 

Not all dogs enjoy the company of other dogs

  1. The adult dog that needs socialization.  Socialization is vital for dogs.  It’s an important part of how puppies learn about their world. I talked about some misunderstandings with socialization in this post.  But if an adult dog needs socialization, the dog park or local dog daycare is probably not the best environment.  Normally owners are told their adult dog needs socialization because the dog is not getting along well with other dogs (often these dogs are fearful or showing some for of growling or snapping at other dogs).  Some believe that exposure to more dogs will solve these problems.  However, exposure to more dogs is rarely the solution.  The solution more likely involves very controlled exposure to a specific group of carefully selected dogs.  This type of control and selection is not usually available in the average dog park or daycare.  The dogs that don’t do well with other dogs may need behavior modification, not just exposure to large numbers of random dogs in a dog park or dog daycare.
  2. The dog that pins, rolls, or knocks over other dogs all the time.  Part of the fun of off-leash play is watching the crazy antics of the dogs.  Dogs have different playstyles and it’s important to match them with appropriate playmates. However, any dog that consistently rams other dogs, forcefully slams other dogs onto the ground, or repeatedly pins dogs on the ground is being a bully.  It might look like fun play to the average owner, but these dogs should not be allowed to practice this kind of bad behavior.  Good dog play is fun for all the dogs interacting. Good play is loose and wiggly, and the dogs take turns chasing or rolling around on the ground.  If this isn’t happening, then there is a good chance at least one of the playmates isn’t having fun.
  3. The dog that hides.  The dog that hides under a rock, under the bench, behind the owner’s legs or under the playground equipment, is saying, “I don’t really like it here.”  You might also see dogs jumping up on people or on the gate.  This is often a sign that the dog is asking for help.  If the dog isn’t having fun, he shouldn’t be at the dog park.

If you have one of these three dogs, then perhaps it would be more fun to find another energy outlet for your dog. These are many great dogs that just prefer a different environment. Take a hike alone, go to the park when no other dogs are around, do some training (agility, flyball, nosework, rally, etc) or just hang out at home with your best friend.  There is no reason every dog needs to go to the dog park or dog daycare.  Choose the best activity for your individual dog.

Do you encounter any of these dogs at your dog park or daycare?

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126 thoughts on “Three Dogs Who Shouldn’t Be at the Dog Park or Daycare

  1. I find that some dogs do not like going to dog parks, but they do absolutely fine in day care. Many of my customers ask how their dog is while with us, and while they report the dogs don’t want to play or do much at the dog park, often they are some of our BEST players and socialites. Any insight on this type of phenomenon? (usually these would be the type 3’s at the dog park)

    • Hi Portia, That usually means your daycare is operating better than a dog park!!! Which is how things should be really! Sometimes the layout of the dog park causes some dogs to be overwhelmed which is why they don’t enjoy the play. If you can make the environment more fun, AND you screen the dogs so that only appropriate dogs playing are involved (something often not done well in dog parks), you can find dogs that do well in daycare even though they might not like the dog park. It’s all about finding the right fit for the right dogs! Good point to bring up though!

    • I agree with Portia . We run a boarding and day care , have more than one yard fenced in , so we can place dogs by personality . Most of them dogs behave different without the owners !

    • I agree with this, although I do not take my dog to a day care she is clearly a 3. anytime any dog at the dog park runs near her wants to smell her she freaks out and runs for our legs even though shes 55lbs. However in a smaller group of some neighborhood dogs she is fine, however this being said she doesn’t play with them but she doesn’t freak out having them around. (I have a dog that would rather play fetch or say hi to a human then say hi to a dog)

    • I see this phenomenon frequently and Robin already answered, but I thought I would chime in anyway.

      I think there are at least two ingredients that might be contributing to the phenomenon you describe.

      One is that a well-run daycare facility with a highly educated staff provides supervision to manage arousal and teach good play skills which provides a healthy environment for successful play. A facility like this also, hopefully, has different areas/rooms for different play-groups based on size, temperament, etc.

      Second, in such a daycare, that evaluates the temperament and social skills of each dog applying, you develop stable play-groups in which the dog develops relationships over time with the majority of the dogs he encounters. A dog who knows and accepts his status within in a playgroup can relax and enjoy himself, whether playing or just hanging out with his or her pals, human and canine.

      These factors are in contrast to the public dog park which lacks skilled supervision of play and, while your dog may encounter dog-pals he enjoys, the dynamics of the public play-group are not only different each time you go there, but they are changing frequently throughout one’s visiting interval.

      I am lucky enough to be affiliated with a gem of a daycare facility here in Seattle. My own dog is very dog social across a wide spectrum of types and personalities and her regular attendance in her amazing daycare (on average, 1x per week since she was about 6 months old) has definitely contributed to her pawsome social skills.

  2. My staff and I were JUST talking 5 minutes ago about a dog we want to video and send over to you. He stares and then runs and body slams. There is no aggression with him, just over the top high energy behavior. He is a 3 year old Shepherd Mix. I was just in the yard with him and intervened with a body block. That may not be the safest practice, because then I could get hurt. Is there a way to correct this, or should he be dismissed? His owner is a police officer and takes him running often. He did take some rests today. I don’t usually feel uncomfortable with him and his play style but the staff does. He only comes once a week.

    • Gray, I think that behavior (stare and subsequent body slam) IS a form of aggression, just not in the sense that we usually think of aggression. He is being a bully (and what playgroup circles call a “pusher”), and he will eventually encounter a dog who doesn’t back down, and a dog fight will ensue. I’ve seen that exact behavior. Obviously, this is not your job to teach this dog how to play, but when he stares at the other dog (before slamming), can you redirect his focus? If so, then I would do so and praise him for that. If you cannot redirect his focus and he ignores you/refuses to deescalate his behavior, it may be time for socialization classes, not daycare. Good luck!

      • A “bully” denotes intentional intimidation, which is perhaps possible, but that behavior is more commonly a skills deficit, where this is all he knows. There are a number of other similar maladaptive behaviors that can be slowly changed by first establishing sufficient control over to dog to verbally interrupt this behavior, then introducing him to selected dogs while guiding his behavior with them. This is much more structured and efficient than simple redirection.

        • I absolutely agree that ths behaviour is a ‘skills deficience’ rather than aggression.

          I have a large Male Shepherd, who just ‘LOVES” to play with other dogs. by grabbing ther collar and haulinh them around. it started as a puppy, where his sister thought that it was a fun game to be hauled around by her collar. but she has grown up, and now keeps telling him she doesn’t like it. he won’t listen to her, and unfortunately tries the same thing with new dogs.

          I would love to know how the teach “The Klutz” how to play politely. He is a completely benign dog, has never fought and backs off if threatened by another dog. But I simply cannot let him play with other dogs unless they are part of our family.

      • I rescued a dog who likes to slam into other dogs, but if the dog he slams into doesn’t take offense, and the play starts, then my dog has been described as playing affectionately, and it’s not really rough, after all.

        I have a hard time reading him.. Some dogs have taken offense at the slam, and bit him, drawing blood. But he didn’t bite them back. However, after about 5-6 instances of this, he started growling at other dogs for what seems no reason, when they come close to him.

        Maybe I should clarify that he was a rescue who was found severely emaciated and covered in cigarette burns.

        • Hi Sue, If it seems like the dog on the receiving end is having fun then I would not be too worried about it. However, you still need to monitor because too much hard play like that can cause the arousal level of the dogs to go up and then a potential for problems might arise. The biggest issue is usually what you are seeing…that type of play only works with certain other dogs. If he does it to the wrong dog he is likely to get into a fight. It may be better to plan playdates with dogs that enjoy the rougher play.

    • Hi Gray, I would love to see the video, but it does sound like this might be inappropriate play. Based on what you described it sounds like the beginning of stalking followed by too much arousal and body slamming. Based on my experience, Shepherds can be notorious for their love of “scaring” other dogs. In other words, they are like a sibling that likes to jump out of the dark and yell “BOO” to scare a younger sibling! haha Shepherds love that! They get a big kick out of it. haha I would really watch the response of the other dog. That dog on the other end of the behavior is going to give you the clue to whether or not the Shepherd’s behavior is appropriate. I would think the Shepherd is probably having fun but the other dog isn’t. I think the only way to intervene would be to call the dog when he is in the stalking point.

      • Ah, yes. Poor German Shepherds 🙁 When they play with each other most people think that they are fighting.
        Body slamming is, of course, a joy for them.
        They’d probably make good Rugby/American Football players if they were human 😉

  3. People forget that the time for socialization is in early puppy hood. That’s the most opportune time to “pad” puppies against negative experiences by making sure they meet lots and lots of other puppies and *safe* doggy playmates.
    Once a dog reaches adulthood, it’s less likely that you will be able to change a fearful dog’s attitude about other dogs, without some remedial desensitization and counter-conditioning (and, that fear sometimes presents itself as aggressive display). If your dog is an adult and is hiding, then the dog park isn’t any fun. You can either find a suitable playmate for one on one fun, or simply avoid other dogs and use games and toys to keep your dog exercised. Don’t force interactions your dog doesn’t seem to want, and if you aren’t sure what to do, find a good force free trainer to help you. (Pet Professional Guild has listings)

    • Ann, I don’t know that is is *just* siocialisation.

      I took my Kelpie Pup to puppy classes — he and a little Can used t hide under the chars during ‘free play’ time. It might have been a badly run class — there was a Jack Russell pup there who used to play Jack Russell way, by attacking the other pups 🙁
      But my Kelpie ended up quite ‘dog aggressive’ as did the only other dog who I took to puppy classes 🙁 I’d prefer a shy dog anyday, to a dog-aggressive dog.
      I don’t take my pups to puppy classes any more, nor give them. I feel that at 12 weeks a pup is old enough to join in a mixed age class, where all dogs are on lead, and mass free-time off lead NEVER happens.
      I would also, by the way, always mix sizes. my Klutz the other day freaked out at Club when he saw a half-grown shining white Maltese pup. He didn’t know what to make of it at all, at first.
      If you don’t let big dog pups get to know small dogs, then they will most likely respond to a small dog as they would to prey/vermin. I’f MUCH prefer a dog that hides behang my legs when he sees a Chihuahua, than one thinks it is a rat and wants to kill it!

  4. Great points! It’s so sad when you see number three in action. How on earth do owners not realize that they’re making their animal miserable??

    • A lot of them do realise their dog is unhappy but believe it just needs to “man up and not be such a wuss” sadly.

    • My dog is a 3, but I have found that after meeting dogs several times she is okay with them… I try to take her to the dog park and the first 5 mins she is freaked out because all the attention is on her but after 15mins or something she will play fetch by herself or sometimes with another dog. Overall we try to go once a week and I believe she is doing better (she is starting to learn the dogs), we do have play groups at home with neighbors and she is fine with them cause she knows them.

    • I’ll give you my example. My pom is almost 4, her bday is this week :). I consider her pretty well socialized. She’s really chill and kinda lazy. I take her everywhere except work. I’ve taken her to a couple dog parks, but they either had too many rambunctious big dogs (she can handle one, but a crowd of them scares her) or there are a-hole dogs, like one who kept peeing on her. Because i take her everywhere she’s met a lot of animals and always got along with all sorts of dogs and cats. I’ve always wanted to put her in daycare cause i feel guilty leaving her alone all day. Finally one opened up right on the way to work! I took her in there last week for the evaluation and she seemed excited to go in, until they took her from me. Then she sorta just sat there and sniffed a bit while other dogs barked at her. Ok, so like I knew, she’s super attached to me and can probably still smell me in the building… So I leave and go to work. During the day I periodically watch on the web cam, but every time I check-in she’s still just kinda hanging out. I notice that when the dog watcher leans down to play with the dogs she loves that and runs over to them. When she comes home she sleeps the whole night, i’ve tried to play with her, but she seems too tired to bother very much. I’ve taken her back both days this week and still the same thing when i check in on her, just sitting there and not doing much, although I noticed a tiny bit of change today. She’s still really tired at night though, so maybe i’m missing something. I’m really unsure if she hates it or is just missing me. I’m certain if i was in the daycare with her that she would be having the time of her life with the dogs. And I don’t think she likes being home alone because i’ll give her a treat before I leave for work and she will wait until I get home to eat it. I don’t normally leash her and the daycare makes her wear one, so the past couple of mornings I’ve grabbed the collar and she acted excited (but again that just might be that she’s being allowed to go with me). She picks up on commands pretty quick. I taught her “paw” in 3 minutes, so I try to say daycare a lot so she associates it. But she doesn’t give me a response either way.

      I really don’t know what option she prefers. Short of winning the lottery or marrying rich I’m at a loss. Is she miserable? I don’t know. I suspect she’s picking the less of two evils but I guess I need more time to see what her behavior pattern is. I might just get her a kitten and be done with it.

      And that long story is how a concerned owner doesn’t know if her dog is miserable. 😉

    • We take our two greyhounds – one a happy-go-lucky goober and the other very shy – to a small dog park not far from home. The shy girl trembled at first and stuck by us. Each time we went, she got better, and now she gets so excited when we get out their harnesses and leashes, she prances around the living room! And when we get to the park, as soon as we get in the gate, she takes off running with her head held high and tail wagging.

      She was so shy when we got her, she stayed plastered to the back of her crate for weeks. She seemed miserable with each new experience but each new experience brought her more and more out of her shell. We did take it slowly, trying not to push her, but we did have to take her out of her comfort zone.

      I’m sure the first trip or two to the dog park, people might have wondered why we were subjecting her to that . . . And if she was miserable time after time, we would have stopped going, of course. But by then (which was probably a year after we got her), we knew what she was like and felt like it was time to take that step.

      She’s still no social butterfly, and we don’t expect her ever to be, but she enjoys the time at the park as well as in other environments outside the comfort of home.

    • Once again, I disagree.

      Regardless of Sue Sternberg, bady slamming is normal social behaviour on wolf packs. It establishes the pecking order, and in that way avoids in-group fighting.
      With dogs, think of it as boys in the play ground. Boys who like to play wrestling, games, games where they compare strength, races to determine who is fastest, games where they compare other physical skills. They are fun for boys and fun for dogs.
      Body slamming would only count as ‘aggression’ IF the winner them proceeded to attack to loser. in my experience the loser gets up and shakes himself while the winner looks on, and then both dogs are off again across the paddock, side by side trying to knock each other over.
      Sure it is a game for the rough boys, the wimpy and or intelligent boys are inside having computer/beard game challenges.

      With dogs of course size matters and it is up to we humans who have created these discrepancies to be sure that we don’t let our German Shepherds try to body slam an Australian Terrier 🙂

      • ‘Board games’ of course — we’ll leave the ‘beard games” for turbaned Muslims and Sikhs 🙂

      • I agree that body slamming is a play style which some dogs use. That play style in and of itself is not the problem. The problem occurs when a dog with that play style plays with a dog who doesn’t enjoy it. It’s not that one dog is good and one is bad…or one is aggressive and one is not…it’s just that they don’t have compatible play styles and should be separated and put with appropriate playmates.

      • Most of the body slamming I see at the dog park is bullying. All anyone has to do is actively observe the other dog. Does the dog getting body slammed look like it is enjoying it? Is the dog that is getting body slammed trying to get away or is it getting up and going back for more? Are the dogs switching roles? People have to understand that not all dogs have the same play-style. Both dogs have to be enjoying the play otherwise the dogs should be separated. It’s too bad people go to dogs parks with the free-for-all attitude. It takes a village for a dog park to be successful and enjoyable. You have to care about all the dogs leaving happy not just your dog.

  5. Annie & I rescued one another one year ago. She was a feral dog, rescued & somewhat rehabilitated. When I got her, she was very much afraid of people and unfamiliar areas (i.e. everything), do a dogpark, if my town had one, wouldn’t be a good idea for her. She’d love the interaction with other dogs but she’d be too terrified of their owners to play. My hobby is documenting cemeteries so I would take her with me – company for me, great exercise for her. One day I visited one that was completely fenced in so I let her run off-leash. That started a trend. I have since adopted a sister for her and at least once a week, we visit the “playground”.

  6. I use to work at a doggie day care,some dogs loved it some dogs hated it the owner of this place would tell all the owners how much their dogs loved it employees told the truth all’s the owner cared about was the money

    • That is the type of daycare that really bothers me, Kelly. It should be about the dogs and doing what is in the best interest of each dog.

  7. I agree!! hear hear. – My boy dog, loves to ram other dogs and plays really rough – despite being heavily socialized and trained, he just plays too rough!! He is not a good candidate for the park, but does well at daycare, because they actually know what they are doing, and allow him to play with carefully selected dogs. My job as a good owner is to manage my dog well, even with a “bully” personality
    Great article.

    • Excellent, Jacky! In a well run daycare they should be able to match your dog’s play style with other dogs that enjoy the rough play. And many times these dogs can have fun as long as they take turns with one another and aren’t allowed to get too revved up. It’s great that you found a good solution for you and your dog.

  8. Another type of dog that shouldn’t be in a dog park is the one with the idiot owners who think they can control their dogs with spray bottles of water. Yes, I have seen this. One of theirs went after mine, and they kept trying to spray the dog to get it off mine. Really, if you can’t control your dog with verbal/visual commands you shouldn’t be at the dog park.
    At a different dog park there was one male that kept trying to hump my dog (mine female is fixed, but not sure he was). The owner thought it was funny. I told him several times to get the dog off mine or I would have to remove it by any force necessary. Well, a golden reteiver came up and rammed into the male dog while it was trying to ride mine. I though that was the greatest thing ever.

  9. I went to the dog park 3 times, and saw all of these dogs. The first time, My little Basset found another basset hound and strolled around with her. Time 2 and 3 she was dog number 3, she was very overwhelmed and we never went again. Very wise observations in this article.

  10. I have a dog that you are referring to. He is a rescue that was awesome at dog play when we got him. The perfect mix of submission and dominance. A few unforeseen circumstances at a park and he became a bully. He has quite a few friends that he can tackle, chase, bite at, and just roll on the ground and be a dog with. Then he has the dogs he first meets and snaps at. I can usually tell which dogs will set him off. He now thinks he should snap first then maybe get to know them. We still walk around our neighborhood park. He looks inside the park like he really wants to take part. But get him in there and he gets nervous and defensive. Basically we take him on walks with any dog we want him to get along with. It appears that after being cool and on leashes and taking a stroll with there people, the dogs have a much better chance of getting along. Slowly we introduce off leash play. If these dogs that don’t belong in the parks would have owners that understand, the dogs may have a chance at normal play someday. But under a controlled setting. Ours is a Mastiff mix so we do think there are a few guarding traits built into him. Our “Doof” has come along way.

    • Sounds like you found a great solution, Lori. Sometimes going for a calm walk with another dog is great way to introduce dogs without all the excitement. That can really help the introduction go more smoothly. Some dogs also just prefer smaller groups to bigger groups. I think you’re doing a great job!

  11. I could really use some advice, we live near a very large Off-Leash dog park and have been bringing our de-sexed 3/4 Rotti, 1/4 Doberman (we think!) there since she was young enough to do it safely. For the first year we had no problems at all, she is a healthy, happy and fit girl who loves nothing more than to play tip and chase the other dogs around, combined with good natured wrestling.
    Then about a year ago it started to change. Any running smaller dogs became a target to be chased then knocked over, quite often she would dominate them when they were down putting her front paws and a lot of weight on them to stop them from getting back up. it was like she was treating them as prey (no biting but a lot of dominant behaviour and growling) Larger older dogs she would hassle, if they didn’t want to play she would keep annoying them till they snapped at her. Dogs of a similar size and energy level she can still play with, but that perfect combination is few and far between.
    We still take her to the dog park regularly, but for the little dogs safety we will not let her off the lead anymore. We have given her a chance many times, and i hoped that if we kept putting her on the lead and letting her know she had been naughty that the behaviour would stop, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference, she is just too excited by the sight of other dogs running.
    She is walked once if not twice daily, she comes with me to work every second day and we have two kids who love and adore her. She is an inside dog who is never left out or forgotten about outside, She is either with us or there is someone home. Her behaviour with human is excellent, and has never caused us a moments concern even with younger, tail pulling nieces and nephews trying it on.
    We are just upset on her behalf that we can’t help to teach her some dog park manners. She loves playing with other dogs so much, she just can’t seem to stop asserting herself over them.
    Any suggestions or help would be appreciated, we are willing to put in the work to solve this. She will turn 2 on Australia Day.

    • Hi Richard, I don’t think all dogs need to play with other dogs and sometimes the best solution is to find the right playmates that work out well. Since it sounds like your dog does have some dogs that play well with him, you might try to schedule times when you can all be at the park together. Often it’s not as much good dogs versus bad dogs as much as it can be about matching the right play styles together. It sounds like you understand your dog’s play style and just need to match him with the right other dogs. Also I always recommend separating dogs by size so that big and little dogs don’t play together because it can be risky for the little dogs who can get hurt unintentionally. Hope that helps.

  12. Where I live we have an off-leash dog park that is separated for large dogs, small dogs & an area for older and handicapped dogs and an area with a pond. Most often there are not problems but the times when people with large young dogs take them into the areas for the smaller or older dogs it can become a problem. There are signs posted to ask if its okay to bring their dog into an area not designated for their size etc. but most people don’t ask…they just come in and often then a problem of one sort or other occurs. Some owners just don’t watch their dogs. They stand around and socialize and let the dogs run wild. Then there are the people who THINK there dog is social because they get along with the other dogs in their household. That doesn’t mean they are socialized. I think the owners are a large part of the problem with dog parks. People really need to be aware that others bring their pets to the park to have fun and not to be bullied or chased by dogs who have inattentive owners.

    • Hi Evie, I do think it’s a problem for big and little dogs together and love to see dog parks that have separate areas. Your park sounds great with an area for older dogs too! Unfortunately, I think there is still much education to be done for owners to help them learn how to keep their dogs safe and be their dogs advocate because many just haven’t learned about canine body language.

  13. My dog did great at the dog park for the first year I had him. But in the past year, he’s started chasing and mounting other dogs at the park. Is this too aggressive for dog parks? He doesn’t push, knock over, growl, or snap at the other dogs at all – he just tries to mount them sometimes. I was thinking about bringing a spray bottle with me next time and trying to correct the behavior. Not sure if I should though.

    • Hi Kendall, It could be that your dog is just getting too revved up and sometimes calling him to you and giving him some down time (just standing with you or going for a brief walk outside the park) might help. I would recommend trying to interrupt his behavior by calling him to you and/or having him to a few simple obedience commands to keep him from doing too much chasing and mounting. You might also exercise him by playing ball or going for a walk before he goes into the dog park to help take the edge off a bit. I think ultimately, you should watch the other dogs to see if they seem upset by your dog’s behavior. Hope that helps.

  14. My parents adopted a dog from a shelter a few years ago when the dog was 1.5. He wasn’t socialized, didn’t even know how to play. They have worked with him, but, he still isn’t great with other dogs. However, another local shelter offers “doggie socials” split by the size of the dog. So, the owners can take the dog into a secure area to run around with other dogs with supervision. The dogs have a great time, they’ve been going for almost a year now and there have been no incidents.

    • That’s great, Jen! I’m glad your community has this kind of service that can help your dog get used to other dogs.

  15. I have 3 dogs, one of them loves to play,and does play well with other dogs, however, she is extremely protective of me and is not friendly with other people, she may be the 4th type of dog that is not right for the dog park. (she doesnt go the dog park anymore)

    • It’s great that you understand your dog, Kelly and I’m sure you find great things to do to let her have fun!

    • Cheers to you! As long as no one is being harmed, I fully agree with working your hardest to help your dog achieve happiness. I personally rescued a dog from death when she was 3 and have dedicated years to making her a well-adjusted dog. It is not ok for those poor dogs to have to suffer and be isolated because some owners (Know-It-Alls) have a problem with them not being the perfect pet every second of every day. It is a slow process, but I educate all people that are in the dog-park or are entering the dog-park that my dog is being socialized. When she gets to be too over-stimulated, we leave. Until I can tell that the other dogs in the park are uncomfortable, I allow them to associate. Dogs are very social and receptive, so with training and exposure to good behavior (along with reprimands or encouragement from me), they can make strides.

      Just because we gave a dog a second chance at life and didn’t all go to breeders and get designer dogs doesn’t mean that we, and our dogs, shouldn’t enjoy life to the fullest. She likes to play, she is learning to play better, and everyone that we come into contact with is educated about our efforts, so they choose whether or not to participate. Aggression does not always mean danger, but rather a lack of understanding proper behavior. As good dog owners, it is our responsibility to give them the tools they need to be happy and learn to approach their surroundings in an appropriate way. Forgive me for refusing to give up on my dog and isolating her from the world of her kind. Talk about being unhappy…

      • It’s great that you can work with your dog in a safe and controlled way, Rachel. And you are educating other owners too which is great.

  16. As an owner of a pet containment system company, owner of three rescues and trainer, I totally agree with this assessment. The hardest part for an owner of a dog is the ability to read the signs their dog is displaying.

    Not all dogs belong in a social setting. It is imperative that the owner expose their dogs at an early age. Some dogs, although seems very social at that young age, may display shy, aggressive or bad behavior later in life. If this happens it could be a number of issues. From needing to be spade or neutered to having separation anxiety. Again, read the signs your dog is showing you and by all means contact a professional dog trainer for helpful hints!!

    Dogs want and live for the respect and love of their owners. Now we as owners, need to reciprocate!! Have a great holiday!! MJ

  17. I have an anatolian she was socialized well as a pup but at abt 2 she changed she will pick at the dogs that are scared at the park. She harasses them, if a dog stands their ground she’s fine. I don’t bring her anymore to dog park. Some people think she’s a bully. It makes me sad.

  18. I agree that Day Care is not for all dogs. And they should have a screening process before accepting the dogs to see how they interact with each other. My dog is a rescue and goes to one and they have an evaluation period where you have to leave the dog with them for a 4 hour minimum in order to assess how he behaves without you around. It has helped my dog be a bit more confident around new people, where as, when I first got him he would cling to me and growl at everyone.

    Raising Fido
    http://www.raising-fido.com

  19. My dog comes under exactly this category, since he doesn’t enjoy fun time at parks. I take him for long drives these days, and it seems he really enjoys! But, on the other hand, I’m bit worried about the less physical activities he is involved.

    • I think as long as he gets some exercise and isn’t overweight you are probably fine. And I also think mental stimulation is just as important as physical stimulation and he is getting lots of mental energy outlets in your long drives! New sights, smells, sounds, etc are good for dogs!

  20. item #2 – while I agree that dogs that play this way shouldn’t be running loose in a dog park or day care, there are breeds of dogs whose breed specific behavior is to play with body checks and crashing into each other – it’s definitely play, not aggression, and is acceptable within those breeds – like any other type of play, as long as it doesn’t lead to fights, it’s harmless if both dogs like to play that way

  21. I would also like to add to the list really old/geriatric dogs that may have arthritic problems. Just today, a woman threatened to kick my dog, a young Harrier Hound, because he ran up super fast to her old Newfie and knocked him down (he never pins, rolls, or knocks over other dogs) and did the humpty dance. I, of course, yelled his named and clapped and quickly stopped. I simply cannot believe she threatened to kick my dog if humped her again. I had a Great Pyrenees/St. Bernard mix that lived to 14 years old. In his last years the dog park was too much for him. We had many wonderful long walks along the Mississippi River (I’m from Minnesota), and I think that’s the next phase for an old dog after dog parks. But of course I’m second guessing myself. What about dogs that can be Sir Humps A Lot?

  22. I have a 2 year old border collie who for or the most part is excellent with people she knows and the two dogs that are part of her pack. She is fearful of people she doesnt know and sometimes dogs that are out on the street, she as never attacked another dog, but barks and growls but stops.

    I am wondering what type of classes you offer in training and maybe agility or fly ball maybe??

    Also when do your classes start and the prices to please.

    Thanks

    Steve Windebank

    • Hi Steve, if you are in the Northern Virginia area I would recommend All About Dogs at http://www.allaboutdogsinc.com They do basic obedience. Flyball and agility can be fun…you could try Pup N Iron in Spotsylvania for some of the dog sports.

  23. Pingback: Dog Park Safety
  24. Finally an article that doesn’t ban a breed of dog.. all depends on the dog himself…. and how the owner rasied them any dog can be a bully, and any dog can be social. Know your animal before going to a dog park, or day care I agree.

  25. So maybe I’m wrong, and I don’t want to be perceived as an “idiot dog owner” who doesn’t care about her dog. I have a Whippet mixed with some kind of a terrier. She’s almost 2, and she is our only dog. Sometimes my husband has another dog (a Pomeranian who is 14) spend the weekends (joint custody from a previous marriage), but he is old and doesn’t really want to play with my dog, Cassie.

    I know Cassie wants to play with other dogs. She goes to the edges of the fences in our backyard to run around with the pitbull next door and the Puggle across the way. When they aren’t out, she’ll hang out by their part of the fence as if she’s waiting for them to come out and play. When she hears them bark and she’s inside, she immediately perks up and goes to the door and then runs outside along the fence with her playful bounding.

    Today, my friend invited us to go to the dog park with him and his dog. I was nervous. This might have contributed to her being nervous. He told me to keep her on the leash until she got a feel of the perimeter of the park. Immediately, dogs were running up to her to sniff and play.

    Initially she acted like dog 1: She growled and snapped at some of the dogs. She would freeze up and let them sniff her and then if they didn’t go away she would growl and snap.

    Another dog owner told me that she might actually do better being off the leash because she was probably feeling too connected with me. I let her off the leash and she ran about introducing herself to all the PEOPLE in the park, but generally avoided the other dogs. She actually didn’t really pay much attention to me at all (which is good. I want her to socialize), but she turned into dog 3: she spent a lot of time under the picnic benches and hanging out with the humans instead of the dogs. She got more comfortable letting other dogs sniff her and sniffing other dogs, but she wouldn’t play with them. She would jump back in fear when a dog would come running at her, and she started snapping at the bigger dogs if they were too close to her face.

    I want to say it was her first time and she just needs to get used to it, but now I’m worried that based on your description of dog 1 and dog 3, how do I know if she’s actually NOT meant to be at the dog park. She seemed like she wanted to have fun and enjoy herself, but she was also fearful and snapped at other dogs.

    • Hi JD, It’s great that you are trying to make the best decisions for your dog based on the behavior you are seeing. It does sound like she might be a little overwhelmed. It may be that trying her at the park when it’s less busy might help. If she is still showing some of the behaviors then she probably would prefer doing something less stressful than the dog park. That doesn’t mean she is a bad dog..just that she prefers other activities. Hope that helps.

  26. Where have you been all of my life?
    THANK YOU!
    You are saying consistently what we keep sharing on our Facebook pages.
    Not every dog belongs in dog parks; watch your dogs body language; listen to them, they are trying to communicate with you; licking of the licks does NOT mean he’s hungry!; excitement CAN cause a fight among even best friends; watch for redirected negative energy; and yes, ANY dog can bite!
    THANK YOU for your effort and for helping to save the lives of pets and people. Yes, people, because the more parents are educated, the more they will know what to watch for.
    THANK YOU!
    Jo, founder

    • Thanks so much for your encouragement, Jo. I’m glad you found this helpful and am glad there are others out there trying to keep everyone safe!

    • Hi Regina, I think all dogs are trainable at any age, but it depends on what you are trying to teach them. Basically, you can teach certain behaviors to any dog but you can’t typically change their overall temperament. Hope that helps.

  27. Having tun a dog business in RI for many years I have developed an aversion to dig parks because of the small number if dog owners who are dangerously irresponsible:
    1. Dogs who have not been spayed or neutered. These dogs are unusually aggressive and frequently create hostile confrontations.
    2. Dogs in heat. These dogs should NEVER be brought to a dog park for obvious reasons.
    3. Dogs who are antisocial and continually start fights.
    4. Dogs who continually scratch and likely have communicable diseases or likely fleas.
    And then there are the owners who are frequently problems themselves:
    1. The owner who deposits his dog in the park and then leaves. Owners should NEVER be permitted to leave, you are responsible for your dog and for what your dog does .
    2. The owner with too many dogs. The max shoukd probably be three. Any more and it is not possible to control what they are doing.
    3. The owner who refuses to pick up their dog’s poop. Enough said.this is a basic responsibility.
    4. The owner who believes their dogs can do no wrong. You must be vigilant and keep your eyes on what your dogs are doing. Disciplining them when necessary is always appropriate.
    5. The owner with small children. Small children (toddlers and younger) should NEVER be in a dog park. They can be seriously hurt by dogs acting on pack instincts who can confuse them with small dogs.
    Finally: although this may seem obvious (it never seems obvious to the owner) NO aggressive dog should ever be in a dog park. Instances if one aggressive dog seriously injuring or killing other dogs are more common than anyone wants to admit.
    Off leash play is a wonderful thing. Here in South Carolina we are fortunate to bring our dogs off leash to the beach (during stated hours) virtually all year. There is nothing more joyful than watching mutiple dogs in rollicking play in and out of the water. And they almost always get along!

  28. It was actually a dog that liked to bump and roll that gave my dog a fear of other dogs. It just took one irresponsible pet owner at a dog park to make my dog lose out on a great experience. It’s a shame really. I have always loved watching huskies run at the park. 🙁

  29. I actually think this is a rather fatalistic and wrong headed attitude. It suggests that dogs in those three categories are stuck in that mode of behaviour and will always be that way. The article would have been much more helpful if it included practical tips on what to so if you have such a dog. Unsocialized dogs need “behaviour modification” – sounds like they have a disease that needs a lot of expensive treatment. Not everyone can access “very controlled exposure to a specific group of carefully selected dogs.” Having had a greyhound sanctuary for 10+ years where there are no kennels and dogs lived in groups and then ran loose a good part of the day, there are many many ways in which you can socialize your dog quickly and easily. The same goes for dogs who pin other dogs or who don’t like highly social situations. Anyone writing an article about this problem who purports to be an expert should know this.

    • Thanks for your input. The point of this article was to keep dogs safe in dog parks. Another blog idea would be to talk about how to do some behavior modification. However, as a trainer I would recommend doing that type of process under controlled circumstances and with dog owners who have given you permission to work with a dog that has some issues. Neither of these conditions usually exist in the average dog park. I have written many articles on things to do instead of dog parks so hopefully you will find them helpful. Thats for the comment.

  30. When we first got our Staffie he would play with a German Shepard and a malamute mix and the Shepard used to do alot of ‘body slamming’ on both the other dogs (all three fairly young) the Shepard went from body slamming to more aggressive where she actually succeeded in drawing blood from out Staffie whole he was on his lead. The owners got told to keep their dog away from us and they proceeded to put her through training but she was still very aggressive with other dogs. Our staffie is now easy to intimidate by other dogs and will not accept any dog sniffing his willie (the Shepard used to roll him over and nip at it. When we got our second dog (English bull terrier lab mix) she saw the Shepard pouncing on a very small dog and ran over and stopped her hurting the little one.

    • When we first got our Staffie he would play with a German Shepard and a malamute mix and the Shepard used to do alot of ‘body slamming’ on both the other dogs (all three fairly young) the Shepard went from body slamming to more aggressive where she actually succeeded in drawing blood from out Staffie whole he was on his lead. The owners got told to keep their dog away from us and they proceeded to put her through training but she was still very aggressive with other dogs. Our staffie is now easy to intimidate by other dogs and will not accept any dog sniffing his willie (the Shepard used to roll him over and nip at it. When we got our second dog (English bull terrier lab mix) she saw the Shepard pouncing on a very small dog and ran over and stopped her hurting the little one. Also should add that the bull terrier mix stops any fighting she comes across pushing the dog that started it back and getting between them.

  31. My dog is number 3 the hideing dog his name is Foxie and he is two years old and is only a small dog I can’t take him to the dog park at all because he dose all of the above and even when he is walking and someone or dog come along or in the distance he get worried I just Talk to him and try to take his Mind off the matter on Saturday we do walk with a large group of dog walkers which I think he enjoys he seem he want to be there only if the other larger dogs don’t come near him and we do have another dog that he love to hang out. With which he is great with but she is quite but she loves other dogs

  32. Excellent post! Dog park etiquette is so important to keep everyone safe and to not do more damage to a shy or defensive dog. We just talked about the sane thing with approaching leashed dogs. Not every animal or owner appreciates it. We have to be considerate of all personality types. Thanks!

  33. The dog that stands up for herself, unfortunately. My female will tell off a dog who is being inappropriate – usually trying to hump her – and though it is just teeth snapping and noise, she is invariably labeled as aggressive.

  34. I have a four pound chihuahua who is very timid around other dogs, initially. BUT if I keep taking her to the same play groups/classes than after about three times she warms up to the other dogs in the group and then goes off on her own. Is it okay to keep taking her for those first few times or am I just making her miserable?

  35. My one and a half-year-old female great Dane does become a bully at times. Primarily towards my one-year-old male Great Dane. They play fine at home but it seems that when she gets free space in the momentum she takes it to the extreme. It’s not always predictable but it does seem to be if we are at the dog park and she doesn’t have other dogs to play with, she becomes bored and acts up. Occasionally she does pick on other dogs, but it’s not every time. I am taking her for continuing obedience classes starting in a couple of weeks, and was going to ask the trainers about this behavior, but I was wondering if there was any thing I could do in the meantime to try and correct this behavior when it does occur. She has grown up going to the dog park and daycare, which we’ve never been asked not to bring her nor has any staff member expressed concern but I hate when she chases down my other great Dane, grabs him by the collar and tackles him.

    • It’s great that you are trying to figure out how to solve the issue, Justine. I would look at making sure you have a solid recall commands so that you can intervene as soon as you see the problem starting to build up. If you know that getting free space makes things worse then working with her more frequently at the dog park to reinforce her commands and remind her that she is there with you and it’s not a free for all might help too! Good luck!

  36. I have a very cordial Gordon setter. As soon as my dog enters a dog park she is pinned, rolled and chased. Every time the owner of the bully dog tells me “Oh don’t worry that is how my dog plays.” and every time I have to respond with a snarky “Oh really, does it look my dog is having to you?” She goes in to the dog park happy, tail wagging, ready to play ball or frisbee, never shy.

    I feel the problem starts with dogs that crowd the entry gate- That right there sets the stage for problems. Dogs should be engaged in ball, frisbee, running with other dogs etc. instead of standing around especially at the entry gate.

  37. I took my dog to the dog park for the first time today and he didn’t play with the other dogs. He has a lot of energy and ways wants to play at home or when we see dogs in our neighborhood. When the other dogs sniffed him his tail was down. I don’t know what’s wrong.

  38. I take my GSD to Daycare and was told that they keep my GSD only with a select group of Dogs she get’s along with.

    I have never taken her to the Dog park and probably never will. A man had a concealed gun permit and took a gun to the Dog park and shot a dog 3 times and was acquitted. This was down here in Houston.

  39. I want to socialize my 2 Boxers more, but don’t know how.
    Is there a place to start interactions with other dogs so they can learn
    not to run over others or knock other dogs down.
    My female runs like a deer and needs interaction with other dogs.
    She is not agressive but just bolts and runs over anyone in her way.

    • If your dogs are older, then most likely what you are seeing is not going to change too much. So it will be a bigger issue of trying to find the best playmates for them that enjoy the type of play style they have rather than trying to modify the way they actually play. Most boxers are very physical when they play and need to be with other dogs (often the sporting breeds like labs, pointers, weims) that like that kind of physical play. Hope that helps.

  40. This is a very interesting article. However, I’m not sure if my dog completely embodies any of these styles. I have two Whippet puppies, 11 and 9 months. The 9 month pup is the most subdued, laid back little thing who loves to fetch and will only wrestle with his older brother. Big brother however can be a challenge. He’s much more dominant than little bro and either does great at the dog park or it’s a nightmare. While he’s never shown aggression or attacked another dog, he likes to play rough, chase, bite, and tackle. For the most part, he does great with other dogs who are confident and share his play style. If a dog growls or snaps at him, he backs off. However, we run into problems when he will try to play with another dog and doesn’t understand that the dog is running, tucking his butt, and whining because he doesn’t want to play, not because he want’s to continue being chased. This has resulted in a lot of pissed off owners who scream and claim my dog is attacking theirs and even a swift kick to the side once which resulted in 2 fractured ribs. Tonight was one of those nights.

    I have no idea why he never learned the signs of play or not wanting to play as he’s been well socialized and has been going to the park almost every night after receiving his puppy shots. Also, I’m curious how much is just too much energy puppy play or even breed play. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • Lauren, I’d suggest your dog is not fully socialized. He’s able to play with dogs who accommodate him, and will accept corrections from others, but is poor with scared dogs. A friend has a year old Rottie who closely matches your description, and if a shy dog backed away he’d engage in play-prodding to try and get him to interact. A very small amount of this is allowed, to see if the other dog does respond, but no further. His owner understood, and several people worked together with him to correct his dog each time this started. The dog was strongly taught commands that would stop this behavior without anybody having to grab him, and he was then channeled into acceptable behavior.

      While this type of behavior typically does not begin as an attack, as the other dog fails to respond or correct, some dogs will continue to increase their intensity to a level that may cause serious injury. If this issue continues as he ages, you are likely to have a more severe problem. I suggest getting strong verbal control first at home, then at the park when he is playing rough with friends he likes, then applying it as soon as he approaches a scared dog.

      The social skills dogs learn as puppies depends both on the particular dog, and the variety of other dog personalities that he meets.

  41. Thank you for your informed article. I have a adopted x maltese who is about 5 years now. I got him when he was about 2 and half fromSPCA South Africa, so do not know much of his background. He is devoted to me and follows me everywhere and is a bit of a soppy sensitive dog. I take him out for walk twice a day and go to the local park. He has never been comfortable with other dogs and shies away from them or snaps which can cause the other dogs to pick on him. Now Im more scared to take him which I know is the worst thing for him if he picks up on it. He doesnt run around much other than when I play with him so your article has made me think that the park with other unknown dogs is not such a good idea. I just want him to have fun and some exercise. Do you think that I should meet with a good Dog Behaviourist that can help him (and me). Many thanks Jackie

  42. I worked at a very busy pet resort for some time, I was an attendant in the two daycares (Large dog and small dog) and I finally had to stop. It is HORRIFIC that none of the daycares tell owners if their dogs HATE being there, if they huddle by the door drooling and shaking and miserable the ENTIRE time they are there and no, the attendants can not fix that, if we focus on a scared dog they become a target to the more outgoing and pushy dogs and that just makes the poor things experience that much worse. I was told to just put that they were quiet and reserved on their report cards even when some of them were so miserable they would soak their chests and faces in drool from being too petrified to even swallow. Happened every single day in both daycares, there was always at least one and we even had “regulars” that just suffered every minute they were out there.

  43. Great article! Daycare owners need to better identify these three dogs as bad candidates for their services. One of my dogs is often used by a behaviorist as a friendly/calm/neutral dog for undersocialized adult dogs. She’s great. So I’ve gotten to see how this problem is addressed about a half dozen times. It’s much more gradual than the “implosion” of throwing a fearful, undersocialized dog to the wolves so to speak.

  44. I have a retired racing greyhound and she freezes around other dogs. When they come up to her to smell her reach her rear, she snaps. Anytime I take her anywhere I am terrified that an unleashed dog (on the beach or a walk) is going to run up to her and get her snapping. Any tips on how to keep her calm and prevent the snapping so I can bring her in public and she can just relax while the dog sniffs her?
    Note I keep her leashed always and muzzled in public. I don’t want her biting other dogs and I realize that this could be make her defenceless.

    • Hi Alex, Its great that you recognize that your dog isn’t comfortable in some situations and are trying to help her adjust.I would say the best way to help her is to start with rewarding her anytime she can successfully let a dog sniff her. The secret is keeping the sniffs to less than 3 seconds and having only polite, well-mannered dogs doing the sniffing. This will take some time since you can’t always set her us for success that way. If you don’t know the owner or the other dog it might be best to keep your distance just to be sure your dog doesn’t get overwhelmed. If you have time to work on it I would let a dog sniff just for 1-3 seconds and then move away and reward your dog for calm behavior. The goal is to have her look for you for reinforcement rather than be worried about the other dog. But she may never love the interaction so if she doesn’t have to do it, I think avoidance is fine!

  45. I work at a daycare and boarding place. We have some dogs that are jumping that the fence for the first couple of visits. After a couple of visits they are interacting with us or other dogs. Is there anything that we can do as the playtime person?

    • Hi Mary, I think the best option is to try to get those dogs to engage in other activities as much as possible. You might even have to put them in smaller groups initially because they may be at the door because they are feeling overwhelmed.

  46. Hi, I’m currently having a problem with my 9 month old German Shepherd & Chow mix, picking on shy, timid, and younger puppies. There’s currently two puppies that are 4 and 5 months, that come to our local dog park. From what I’ve always known, is that my dog has always been friendly. He’s a bit nosy and might irritate the older dogs who don’t like this high-energy levels, but he’s always been good with puppies. I currently baby-sit a 4 month old puppy, and they play together all the time. However, they do play a bit rough.

    So what’s been happening is that they’ll come face to face, my dog will begin growling, chase the puppy, and it looks like he’s trying to grab a hold of their neck by the side, the puppy will lay on his back, and begin yelping. And then there’s my dog with his paw on top of the puppy. 

    Every time this happens, I’ll move my dog away from the puppy and make him sit with me for a few minutes. And then I’ll let him go again. He’ll either go after the puppies again or he’ll walk by them a few times before doing it again.

    I’m extremely frustrated and unsure what to do. It seems like he’s only targeting young, shy, and timid puppies. We go into the large play area of the dog park. We do have chihuahuas, pugs, and a few other small dogs that come in, but he doesn’t do it to them. It’s only the new puppies.

    • Hi Ann
      German Shepherds often like to scare other dogs…it’s sort of the equivalent of jumping out behind a door and saying “BOO” to a small child (as my brothers did to me when i was little. LOL) However, even though your dog has not hurt the other dog, it can be very scary to the puppies. The problem is it’s a self-reinforcing behavior for your dog. I would recommend having your dog out of the dog park is the puppies one in so he doesn’t learn its a fun behavior to continue. The other option is to call him to you when the puppies get there and see if you can distract him, but it may be easier just to have him away during times when puppies are close by.

  47. Hi we resecued a Staffy x Boxer Rio three years ago, we have to put him on a lead when we see another dog as he will stare at them do a crouching tiger then body slam them, very odd occasions he will play. What can we do, sometime its too late to put on lead and his there at the dog body slamming. So worried one day a dog is going to retaliate. He doesnt bite just pushes them. Help! We also have a rescue Jack Russel x Pattadale Bruno who is not interested in playing his a grumpy dog, when out over common Rio will wind Bruno up it sounds terribly aggressive,

    • Hi Anne, It might be best to work on having the dog look to you and get rewards for good manners before he is allowed to meet other dogs. That way he can learn that every dog he sees isn’t a potential playmate. if it is rare that he does play, then I wouldn’t really worry about having him greet the other dogs. Instead i would teach him that when dogs are around he should pay lots of attention to you and get heavily rewarded for making that choice.

  48. My question is a more general one…I would like to know if anyone has a theory on why dogs don’t really play much with each other at the dog park. I’ve noticed this particularly with the small dogs. They get along fine and greet each other and everything goes fine, but then they kind of ignore each other and go around sniffing and peeing or just standing around or sitting down. It’s only occasionally that two or more dogs will actually start playing with each other. I have a 3 year old chihuahua mix who is full of energy and loves to play, and I keep taking her to the dog park hoping she’ll find a playmate, but it almost never happens. Sometimes she’ll try to initiate play and the other dog is not into it and other times another dog will try to get her to play and she’s just not into it. I don’t get it. Sometimes I or another dog owner there will get a toy and try to get the dogs playing but it usually doesn’t work. As soon as I bring my dog back home she starts running around and wanting to play with me or my cat. As if we were never at the park at all. Is there a way to get dogs to play with each other at the park?

    • Hi Jennifer, Generally speaking as dogs get older they want to play less (just like people, I suppose!). So its not uncommon for them to just want to explore their new environment rather than play with each other. Also, many dogs don’t always want to play with dogs they don’t know and can prefer their friends that they have known for a while. Hope that helps.

  49. I have a mini Aussie male whose a year and a half old. He’s an amazing dog very smart, respects me, and overall I think he’s pretty well balanced dog except for one thing. Whenever we go to the dog park I think he gets overwhelmed, cuz as soon as I open the gate to come in the dogs come to greet him. I think he gets scared because sometimes he will lash out type of thing were he lunges at the dog but I don’t think it’s in an aggressive way it’s probley telli g other dogs back off I’m not comfortable here and don’t wanna play. And while at the dog park he follows me literally everywhere and when dogs go running to sniff him he either runs away or comes by me and tries to hide behind me or tells other dogs to back off. But when I’m just walkIng my dog at a lake or go hiking he does a lot better wen he meets other dogs. Also he is very either scared/ standoffish when introducing him to new people and strangers. Overall just a little skidding submissive calm dog but also people have said that this is part of the mini Aussies temperament. I’m just a little confused as to if my mini Aussie just isn’t socialized enough or he just doesn’t care, or he needs to be socialized in a structured environment like meeting one dog at a time at a friends house
    or Something to get him comfortable. Any advice would be awesome thank you!

    • Hi Sheldon, It sounds like your dog just isn’t a huge fan of playing with other dogs he doesn’t know and would prefer to just hang out with you. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I would recommend taking him to the dog park when it’s not very busy and he can just hang out with you…or better yet, you can just find other ways for him to play and burn up his energy doing something other than going to the dog park. Hope that helps.

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