Why Dog Parks Are Not a Good Idea

Adrienne Farricelli

Dog parks are not a good idea when rules are not followed and dogs are at the mercy of rude behaviors from other dogs.

Dog parks are not a good idea as they may seem, and this explains why may dog trainers and behavior professionals tend to frown upon them. In a perfect, Disney-like world, all dogs would get perfectly along, people would follow rules and regulations, and everybody would have a wonderful time without any worries. Reality is sadly different. Of course, not everything about dog parks is bad, the concept per se' is quite ingenious and many dogs who frequent them have a blast. There are also many dedicated owners who follow rules and ensure everything goes smoothly. So why are dog parks not a good idea? Are dog parks bad for dogs? Are dog parks safe? And are dog parks good for socialization? Let's take a critical look at dog parks and place them under scrutiny.

4 Reasons Why Dog Parks Are a Bad Idea

Dog parks seem to be all the rage as of lately. With busy dog owners having little time or desire to walk their dogs and exercise them, a romp at the dog park may seem like an ideal solution. Dogs get to mingle with other doggy friends and have an opportunity to stretch their legs after being enclosed by four walls, dog owners get to relax, watching their dogs play and socialize.

1) Presence of Unruly Dogs

One may imagine that dogs parks are mostly frequented by social, happy dogs who are unlikely to be troublemakers, but that's not always the case. The presence of unruly and under socialized dogs may wreck havoc on the other dogs, leading to potential physical and emotional scars. Such dogs should be discouraged from visiting dog parks, but not always park users are able to recognize specimens who may display troublesome behaviors.

2) Presence of Dogs With No Training

Dogs frequenting dog parks should ideally be under good voice control. Being able to call a dog quickly away from another dog is important in case a play session may be deteriorating such as dog playing too rough. Yelling "get your dog!" won't help much at a time where every second counts and where getting in the middle of fighting dogs may lead to a redirected bite.

3) Risks for Diseases

When several dogs mingle in an enclosed space, there are always risks for communicable diseases. Kennel cough is condition known for producing a hacking cough and is a concern in places where several dogs congregate. Indeed, when veterinarians stumble upon a coughing patient, they'll often question the owners whether their dogs were recently at a dog park, boarding kennel or dog show.

The parvo virus is a life-threatening disease of puppies and can be easily transmitted through exposure to feces deposited by infected dogs. Puppies who haven't received their whole vaccination series should not frequent dog parks until the veterinarian says it's fine to do so. Other transmissible diseases include canine distemper, canine influenza and ringworm.

On top of diseases, dog parks may cause dogs to pass intestinal parasites and protozoans from one to another, not to mention fleas and ticks.

4) Lack of Supervision

Often, dog owners seem to enjoy more socializing with other dog owners or talking on the phone rather than supervising their dogs. This lack of supervision is concerning because it's imperative that dogs are carefully monitored when playing in groups.

Did you know? According to a study conducted by Tami and Gallagher in 2009, raised hackles led only to aggression 40 percent of the time; whereas, excess mounting led to aggression 85 percent of the time. More on this here: why do dogs fight at dog parks?