Why Your Dog Misbehaves at the Dog Park and What To Do About It

misbehaving at the dog park

It’s not uncommon to see dogs misbehaving at the dog park. Perhaps it might have even happened to you a few times already.

Dog tantrums and bad behavior should never be encouraged or ignored. Part of your responsibility as a pet owner is to make sure your dog learns proper behavior no matter where you both are.

But before you can curve your dog’s bad habits, you first need to identify which of his behaviors are not acceptable at the park or anywhere else, for that matter.

Common dog behavior problems

1) Excessive barking

If your dog barks, howls, and whines, too much, it can be considered a behavioral problem.

According to the Fetch by WebMD website, dogs bark when they’re protecting their territory or expressing alarm, fear, boredom, and loneliness.

It becomes problematic when they do it excessively to get attention. For example, in some cases, dogs excessively bark because they want to hear the sound of their voices.

2) Digging

It’s normal for dogs to want to dig and check out what’s under the ground. Certain dog breeds are more prone to digging, too.

Apart from being part of their instinct, digging can also signify comfort-seeking.

Dogs who dig also want to hide their toys or food, or they’re following their instinct to hunt.

3) Begging

It’s tough to resist when your dog asks you for food while you’re sitting down at dinner. But it’s a bad habit because your dog may also do it while you have guests over.

Your dog should not get used to getting table scraps. Fido should know when and where he should have his food.

4) Jumping up

Dogs usually jump up and down when they’re greeting people. Don’t encourage this behavior as it can be inconvenient for guests and dangerous for children.

5) Biting

Aggression and hostility can lead to biting, which can be very dangerous for you, your family, and friends. You may find it challenging to take your dog to the park, too, if he bites.

Chewing, scratching, pulling on the leash, and not coming when called are other dog behavior problems, apart from the first five listed above.

What can I do about my dog’s behavior problems?

There’s still a lot you can do to curve your dog’s behavior problems. All it takes is a lot of patience and consistency. If your dog’s bad behavior is getting out of hand, you can ask for help from professional dog trainers.

Here are some of the things you can do to start building good dog habits:

1) Teach your dog to be quiet or bark on demand

The Spruce Pets website lists a few ways to teach your dog to bark only when necessary.

The goal is not to stop your dog from barking entirely; instead, you want him to learn to stop barking when you say so.

All you need is your dog’s favorite treats and a regular schedule.

2) Give your dog more exercise

Extra exercise can help your dog shed that extra energy which can be why he’s digging around in the yard or chewing things he shouldn’t be chewing.

Apart from more exercise, you can also assign a spot in your yard where your dog is free to dig as much as he wants.

You can also get more chew toys, so he doesn’t end up destroying things around your home.

3) Send your dog to a room when he begs for food

Ask your dog to sit or stay in a specific area during mealtime so he doesn’t end up begging while you’re eating.

If he stays where you ask him to until you finish your meal, give him a treat. Keep doing this until he understands that he’s not allowed to beg.

4) Turn around when your dog jumps on you

It’s okay to let your dog jump on you for a bit when he sees you, but after a while, you have to turn around to tell him that he can’t jump anymore.

Do the same when he jumps on you for attention.

If none of these tips work, consult with a professional dog trainer immediately. Otherwise, you won’t be able to bring your dog to the park.

Why is my dog misbehaving at the dog park?

There are several possible reasons why your dog misbehaves at the dog park. However, it’s not entirely your fault, and there’s still a lot you can do to prevent it from happening.

1) He feels afraid

Dogs may become aggressive if they feel threatened and cornered, which can often happen at the dog park.

Not all dogs would be able to handle the energy of all the other dogs at the park. For one, temperament varies from one dog to another.

When your dog starts misbehaving at the dog park, it could be because he’s getting too overwhelmed by everything that’s happening around him.

2) He’s protecting his territory

Sometimes, what looks like misbehaving at the dog park is just your dog trying to protect his territory or his things.

Fido could be protecting his ball or a stick he found, or he could even be thinking that he’s protecting you.

3) He’s asserting his dominance

Dogs only recognize one pack leader, and it can be hard to know who’s the leader at the dog park.

If your dog is not properly socialized and trained, he will end up asserting his dominance at the dog park by growling or snapping at other dogs.

It can look like he’s misbehaving at the dog park, but it could be that he’s asserting that he’s the leader of the pack.

How do I stop my dog from misbehaving at the dog park?

1) Start training young

Start teaching your puppy basic commands as early as when he’s four months old. He should be able to understand at least “sit,” “stay,” and “no.”

Train your dog under different situations and circumstances so no matter where you two are, your dog will be able to follow you.

Don’t take leash training for granted, too. Fido should be able to walk beside you while he’s on the leash. There should be no tugging and no attempts to escape.

2) Socialize and exercise your dog enough

You need to know how much exercise your dog needs because it varies depending on dog size and breed.

It’s important to socialize your dog regularly, too, so he gets used to being surrounded by other canines and people.

Don’t start at huge dog parks. You can stop by indoor dog parks first or go to dog daycares instead.

Going on long walks and hikes can also help.

3) Join obedience classes

Enroll Fido in an obedience class if you don’t know how to train and socialize him.

According to the American Kennel Club website, there are different obedience training and trainers.

There are ones for puppy handling and socialization, and there are ones for control and many more.

You have to make sure you choose the right one according to your needs.

Dogs misbehaving at the dog park are not bad

Don’t immediately think that your dog is bad just because he misbehaves at the dog park.

Find the underlying reasons first to address them with the help of professionals.

Don’t blame yourself, too. You are not a bad fur parent just because your dog misbehaves.

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