This Weeks Medical Alert Dog Monday Youtube Video question comes from a Ohio based Narcolepsy Alert Dog Student who attended one of my medical alert dog training classes in Seattle. In class his dog was super dog obsessed (and not in a bad way, just a very excited young dog who wanted to play with the other dogs in the class). Seeing that his dog was overly social, he asked me whether or not he should continue taking his dog to his local dog park. Boy did he get the shock of his life when he heard my very long winded rant on service dogs in dog parks. See what my answer is to this fascinating question in this weeks Medical Alert Dog Monday Youtube Video.
So, what’s your opinion now that you have been educated about what really goes on at dog parks across the country? Do you think its a good idea to take your very expensive, highly trained narcolepsy alert dog or medical alert dog in training to a dog park for ANY reason what so ever? Leave a comment below, Id love to hear your opinion.
Amen, thank you! No one ever believes me when I tell them to stay away from dog parks. Hopefully people will believe you!
As an owner of a DAD who did not pay the outrageous price of $25000 for my girl – that is what raised my hackles. Most diabetics I know could not afford that or have an insurance that would approve a DAD for a DM II. I am a retired nurse clinician and have trained dogs for decades. My girl is a carefully selected Chocolate Lab I adopted at a year old and I have trained her myself with a lot of help from other trainers like you as, admittedly, she is my first DAD I have ever trained.
I have seen what you see at dog parks and it really does bother me, esp the owners attitudes and how they ignore their dogs’ behaviors. Bailey loves the dog park, she always seems to engage with other well adjusted dogs but I also noticed that those who are well adjusted love interacting with other owners of well adjusted dogs and I usually find myself surrounded by happy, soft bodied dogs who want my attention. I am sure you know why. Every time I have been at the dog park I break up a fight and find myself asking aloud “whose dog is this” and usually the owner is at the far end of the park talking with others or nose stuck in their phone. Bailey is rarely out of my sight or too far away unless she and I are tossing a ball. Recently a very meek man was at the park with his two dogs, one was a well adjusted sweetheart, the other was a bully who started a fight with a well adjusted young GSD who simply went submissive. As I asked the crowd whose dog is this, the owner didn’t open is mouth while he attempted to get his dog, seemingly afraid of it himself. When I realized he was the owner of this dog as well he told me he brought the dog to be socialized and that his dog growls and dominates other dogs but doesn’t bite. I wanted to fly into him but besides telling him he needs to take better control of that dog and that the dogs growling is aggressive and it does NOT belong in a dog park then I suggested he get a trainer. I really worried about the young GSD, I am hoping he is ok, his owner oblivious and didn’t have his dog in sight. Knowing Bailey from interaction with our rescue, she would not back down and although I think the other dogs sense she is not a pushover, I do not want to risk her getting into a fight. Let me tie this together to explain why other dogs’ behaviors can affect your service dog. We rescued a sweet, gentle Staffy who lived his first two years with a chain wrapped around his neck and tied to a tree – he would get food and water when his former owner thought of it. He was untrained although potty trained, wanting constant attention, inhaling food so quickly he would choke, stealing food and food aggressive with a high value treat such as a raw bone. He is no longer food aggressive at all, I or my grandson can stick our hands in his bowl and he’ll continue eating, body soft and tail wagging and he has adjusted well and learned manners in his year with us, and calmed down immensely. But during this time Bailey regressed and did things she never did before. Jumping on people when they came in, not leaving them alone and begging for petting and just being a little wild. So I had to reinforce her training as well. While her obedience helped in training Zeus, it also went the other way as well.
I had decided I’ll just take Bailey to the dog park just after sunrise to toss a ball with her when there are no to just a few dogs but with this virulent dog flu there is yet another reason not to take your dog to the dog park.
I have a fenced yard and I am thinking of a play date for her occasionally with pre-screened dogs and she’ll still have walks in the park but dog parks will be out in the foreseeable future.
Living in the city, a dog park is the only place I know of that you can legally take your dog to exercise him off leash. My dog, a Labrador, needs to run and loves to swim in order to burn off excess energy. I understand your concerns about dog parks, and I’ve seen most of the behavior you mention. I do always try to go early in the morning when there are few if any other dogs around, but am wondering what you suggest as an alternative to dog parks for getting a good, hearty exercise for your dogs.
Great video. Thanks. I never take my service dog to a dog park and on the rare occasion we have to kennel her “group play” is not allowed. She is kenneled in a private area and does not interact with other dogs. The techs at the kennel as well are instructed on what “play” is appropriate and they are not allowed to “use their own discretion” using commands that can be confusing or damage training.
Thank you again for emphasizing how serious this issue is. I’ve seen the same “bad actor” owners/dogs at dog parks or kennels.
You should develop a checklist for service dog owners who kennel their dogs occasionally how to instruct kennel staff to care for your dog.
I totally agree and am thrilled to have an expert state these views of dog parks! My dog isn’t a service dog, but after only 2 visits to a dog park she now barks every time she sees a dog, something she never did before.
w?hat would be the solution to socialize your dog with other dogs, without taking them to a dog parK?
Your best video so far!!! I could not agree more!! I tell the same to all my clients all the time.
Thanks for posting 🙂
Thank you so much for letting people know why dog parks are not a good idea (for any dog.) Most people don’t realize just how fast bad things can happen. Also, most people tend to minimize their dogs “shortcomings” which just amplifies the peoblems. I run a sucessful Dog Daycare and Boarding facitlity and our dogs are “eyes on” at all times. If any dog shows any sign of agression, they are propmtly removed. Thank you again for your wonderful video!