What happens in the dog park stays in the dog parkOur favourite thing is people bring social dogs to dog parks to play, and rescue dogs (that are not aggressive) learning to be social. Most of the time that works out great.
Recently I have noted the occasional owner flare up/ tension/ anxiety that is best left out of the dog park.
The best way to approach walking dogs in your dog park are to do a little bit of zen mediation before you turn up. People who are naturally relaxed, but attentive, and most seasoned dog walkers don't need to do this, because they are familiar with their pack and not panicky.
Ideally people should not be judgmental, but we are people right?
The point here, is that whatever anxiety an owner has about their dog or a dog park, they bring into the environment and make their own dog much more anxious. At all costs avoid picking a dog up (unless it is actually being attacked by another dog), because again you will destabilise it and make an anxious dog more fearful of dogs below it, and often want to protect the owner and start barking and making threats to other dogs, that will only excite the dogs on the ground.
A lot of people seem to also be missing common courtesy these days, and its not age or gender related.
If a dog starts wandering off from another owner and wants to join your pack I usually recommend turning around and helping the dog back to its guardian. There is no reward for this, but I notice a few people think they have earned the right to give ridiculous free advice for this 'favour' they have done another person. For me its about getting the best outcome for a dog, and dogs will usually stray away from a pack at some stage of their life.
Being vigilant is very different from being self righteous. I always recommend owners be off the phone and have their ear pieces out while walking around the park, because it takes away the bond with their dog and their ability to spot potential trouble.
When a dog park works best, it has people walking their dogs, not just standing around in one section having a chat for the entire time they are there. The owners recognise what is acceptable play and they show tolerance to all dogs. They protect dogs as needed and they move on with their own dogs if necessary. They don't use negative reinforcement on owners or dogs.
The experience of the dog owner and the chilled but PRESENT behaviour is best for dogs and owner alike. Being in a dog park should be a pleasant experience. Every day I walk dogs, I learn new things about dogs and humans. I try and keep positive, happy and present to what I am doing. Many different owners and dogs are at different levels of experience and socialisation, and I keep this in mind to enhance the enjoyment of my pack.
Their safety, mental and physical exercise and socialisation is always of paramount importance, and as much as I can I take my intrusion out of the equation. Social dogs work things out with other social dogs, and if not walking away without blaming others is the ideal solution.