I had to unfortunately visit the vets last week with one of my dogs (Archie) and as I was at reception there was a petition against having to have your dog on a lead in a town park. This shocked me as although I love my dogs to run off the lead there are certain areas I will keep my dogs on leads for their own safety. Archie’s best friend is a rescued Patterdale Terrier called Frank, he is a lovely dog with people but can be very dog-aggressive, especially with larger dogs.
We have worked hard to introduce Archie to Frank and they have now been firm friends for 6 years, but it is very stressful out walking when people let their dogs run up to Frank, shouting “don’t worry my dog is fine”. I then start shouting “this one isn’t” while my friend is doing her best to control Frank and quite often the other dog then leaps in to attack back.
This is very dangerous for the people involved, Frank and the other owner’s dog. What makes it worse is Frank doesn’t have great social skills as he was rescued. We don’t know his background but we think he either wasn’t socialised in his previous home or had a very bad experience. We have built the skills slowly with him but often he still says the wrong thing to other dogs in his body language sometimes.
Luckily we have places to walk Frank off the lead without meeting other dogs but what about those owners that aren’t so lucky. I believe dogs, like all animals, need their own space to unwind and let off a bit of steam. Could dog parks be the answer? They would allow dogs to be let off the lead giving them the freedom to play and unwind in a safely fenced area. It also is an area where they could learn social skills by meeting other dogs of all shapes and sizes. Plus, it would give like-minded owners a place to meet on a regular basis and allow dogs to enjoy each other’s company. I also found a dog park in the UK that has agility equipment provided.
However, my belief is dog parks will not prevent dog on dog attacks, you could potentially still get an irresponsible owner take their dog into the park. Many people walk dogs at the same time every day, if they form groups will the dogs also form groups creating a pack mentality? Could the dogs become aggressive to a new dog being walked at that time?
There is also the issue of funding, county council budgets can only stretch so far with much demand for financial support and land for skate parks and playgrounds, can they afford to find the funds for dog parks?
We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comments box below. How effective do you think dog parks could be and why?