Reasons to Avoid the Dog Park & Alternatives

People love taking their fur kid to the dog park, especially during the spring and summer. Dog parks seem like a great way to introduce your pup to new friends and work on their socialization skills. But did you know that taking your pup to a dog park isn’t the best idea? Below are some reasons why you might want to consider some other options.


You Don’t Know How Other Dogs Will Behave At The Dog Park

Not all dogs have been fully trained or adequately socialized. It’s hard to know how a dog will react to your pup or if they will respect their boundaries. You can get a general idea of a dog’s temperament based on the breed. Still, a pet’s environment largely affects their behavior. Because there is little structure at the dog park, dogs are left to run free and do as they please. Your pup has too much space to run up and greet any dog they want when playing at the dog park. Too much-unstructured play increases your pup’s chances of experiencing leash frustration(leash reactivity).

You don’t know which dogs have a history of aggression. Many dog parents will push their dogs to be social without understanding if they want to be social and are comfortable in this environment. They may not notice that their pup is giving off signals of discomfort. If the pup’s person doesn’t advocate for them, they will be forced to act in their best interest leading to conflict and fights. Harmful interactions like dog fights could create more fear in your pup and impact the trust you have built with each other.

Also, older pets who didn’t have the chance to learn socialization skills during puppyhood could lack the skills needed at a dog park. Equally important to consider is not every pet parent will be fully present and engaged in monitoring their pup’s play


Other Dogs May Have Health Issues 

Some diseases and illnesses can quickly spread between dogs. At a dog park, you don’t know which dogs are fully vaccinated and which ones aren’t. You run the risk of your pet contracting illnesses such as kennel cough, canine influenza, fleas or giardia, to name a few. These illnesses are easy to pick up when pets share drinking water or your dog comes into contact with another pet’s infected feces. 


Some Parks Don’t Have Separate Spaces

Most dog parks have ample open space and don’t have separate places for big and small dogs. Small dogs can be scared of bigger dogs, putting them at a higher risk for injury.

Even if a park has size limits or separate areas, you can’t rely on everyone to follow the rules. It opens up the chances of altercations, especially if the larger dog has a play style that is more intense than the smaller dog.


Some Dogs Don’t Have Reliable Recall

A recall is one of the most important commands to teach your pup. Letting your dog off leash when they haven’t learned recall yet opens them up to getting hurt or running away from you. The dog park is one place you need to be able to get your dog to respond to you reliably and without hesitation.

Are you struggling to teach your dog recall? Contact Brea today for a consultation and to set up dog training in Seattle! 

Reasons to Avoid the Dog Park


Alternatives to the Dog Park:

Small Structured Dog Walks

Similar to humans, dogs don’t like every dog they meet. Some do better being around a handful of fur friends. Structured group walks are an excellent way for your pup to learn socialization skills with the same group of dogs. It also is a better environment for shy dogs to build confidence with dogs they know who match their energy level. Group walks are also a good way for your dog to exercise their body and mind. If you’re looking for your pup to join a group dog walk in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle, check out our offerings here.


Meet With Friends Whose Dogs You Know

You can always arrange a playdate with dogs you and your pup are familiar with! It’s safer to be around pets whose behavior you know well, and you can get some much-needed socialization! Setting up playdates with dogs that you know allows you better control over your dogs’ environment. You can keep the playdates one-on-one or invite a couple of other four-legged friends you know well! 


Take More Walks With Your Dog

Going on walks with your pup is an excellent way to strengthen your bond and have fun playing together! Going for walks after a long day at work will help you decompress. What better way to do that than to spend quality time with your dog? 

Taking more walks with your pup when you have extra time during the week or on the weekends will allow them to do what they do best: sniff everything in sight and relieve themselves! 


There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to dog parks and things you will want to consider. Dog parks seem like a great idea on the surface, but they do come with their limitations. A lot of dogs equals different training levels and temperaments. You can’t be sure other pet parents are fully present and paying attention (hello, cellphone) or that shy and smaller dogs won’t get overwhelmed. Dog parks also leave your fur kid vulnerable to illness and injury. Safe alternatives are out there that will deepen your pup’s socialization skills and help them get some energy out. Feel free to contact us with any questions.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *