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Why people fear dog parks, and why they are needed by your dog

lovely-melbourne-dog-parksI find it horrendous and disgusting that actual dog owners (apparently) are putting out there about dog parks in Melbourne.

If you don't believe it, please enjoy some quotes I found online from a well known (massively self promoting) dog "trainer" looking to stir up some controversy about dog parks.  Essentially their premise was to ask an innocuous question like :

Dog parks - love them, or  hate them. Tell us your experiences?

Of course this cult of personality has trained minions that jump at every word they commit to digital blogs, not unlike trained monkeys salivating for praise.  The premise seems simple, do you like dog parks, but the background is far more insidious.

Some unscrupulous dog trainers have been recently promoting owning the biggest, most powerful dog breeds, even those banned in other countries, under some kind of nationalism clause. The kind of dog that most people will never effectively control. They are promoting this as some kind of self empowerment (own a killer dog for protection) or be a libertarian (the needs of the one outweigh the safety of society).

The propaganda is actually there to ensure they have a steady stream of customers. Because if you have a huge powerful dog, untrained with the propensity for killing any animal (not a lot of decimation), then of course training seems like a good idea.

The problem with their system is that they either know that its impractical for many of their clients to control these big beasts in dog parks, or they purposely want to have these owners NOT socialise their dogs, so out of fear of what their dogs might do, they keep coming back as clients.

DOG TRAINING IS NOT A SUBSTITURE FOR DOG SOCIALISATION.

It might seem that dog training is harder than dog walking. It might seem that its the only step that you need to do with your dog, because surely once it is trained, it won't bite people right? Unfortunately this is FAR from the truth.  By training up a lot of big powerful dogs, and coercing owners to stay away from dog parks, the dogs do not have a chance to learn to be social.  And let's face it, walking a dog daily off lead, any dog is a big commitment. 

And after all, if you are trying to breed a killer dog, one that protects your property day and night, just like a pig dog owner who uses their dogs mostly for hunting, you might be mislead into thinking that its best practice to keep a guard type dog mean and lean - vicious for the attack.

The problem of course is that these dogs can't be taken to the parks and be let loose, or even to the cafe on a Saturday morning.  You have a single purpose dog, of your making.

WHY PEOPLE OF smaller or anxious dogs don't like dog parks

And of course if enough social media propaganda gets into the general public's heads about dog parks being a bad place for dogs, they will begin to believe it, even without visiting their dog park.

For me, my dog being precious means it gets two off lead dog walks per day for exercise and socialisation, to be balanced in the head and satisfied with life. It does not mean looking them up like some precious jewel just in case there is conflict in the park.

The most dog conflict we see, and it is rare, is either with people with big powerful unsocial dogs on leads (without muzzles usually) or small white fluffy dogs, who are unsocial because they haven't been to parks, and who have an anxious owner who picks their dogs up. The dog then tries to protect the owner by biting any dog that wants to visit them, and the owner is vindicated about a bad experience.

All of this is of course avoidable, and from my DAILY experience, rarely happens. But it is usually these kinds of repeat offenders who give dog parks a bad name, not the regulars.

If you go looking for a bad experience you will find one or create one.

Having a highly trained dog, with no social skills is asking for trouble. They obey commands through reinforcement and fear, not through mutual compliance or want. A social dog should still have recall, but if it doesn't come immediately it isn't going to start a fight.  BECAUSE IT IS SOCIAL.

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