How Do I Handle Other Dogs At The Dog Park?

Dear Cesar,

I follow your advice on being a strong pack leader at the dog park. On the rare occasions that I take my dogs to the dog park, I notice humans not applying dog training discipline if their dogs get in a dog fight or potential dog fight.

If I apply dog training discipline to one of my dogs, but the other human doesn’t, that makes it look like it was totally my fault. I’ve never said anything to the other person, but it seems unfair that my dog gets a training correction or consequence, and the other dog doesn’t.

That’s one reason why I don’t go to the dog park often, and when I do, I monitor my dogs closely to prevent problems. We try to find responsible dog owners with their dogs to hang around with. A few weeks ago, I prevented a dog fight by doing a body block and faced the offending dog and firmly said, “Hey!” and the other dog backed off. That owner only scolded her dog as we walked away.

Would you correct/discipline both dogs if the other owner is being passive or ineffective at that moment, or just deal with your own dog?

Patricia L. Williams
Seattle, WA.

Read below for Cesar’s advice

Dear Patricia,

You are doing everything a responsible dog owner can do! Of course, it would be great if both owners whose dogs are involved in a dog fight participated in understanding what the rules are at the park, but your dog is getting the benefit of having a consistent pack leader. If the other dog isn’t getting the dog training discipline he needs, it will only harm that dog–not yours! Your dog will feel secure that you will take care of any situation.

When you discipline a dog, you help him get back to a calm-submissive, balanced state. Unfortunately, the other owners are not going to accomplish that for their dog.

One suggestion I have is to create a sign and put it in your bedroom as a goal for humanity: “I wish all dog owners understood balance.” And that’s it. We can at least pray for that change to happen.

Just know that you are doing the right thing! I am very proud of you. And remember that by dog training and disciplining your dog, you are serving as a role model to other dog owners. Just because the other dog owner involved in the dog fight didn’t discipline their dog, it doesn’t mean that other people are not watching you. If out of a hundred people your actions can influence one, you are doing your job!

Stay calm and assertive,
Cesar Millan

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