Aggressive Dogs

“Aggressive dogs must be removed immediately.” – dog park sign

What does this mean for me?

First and foremost, if your dog is being aggressive, leave immediately. If your dog is being especially rough in play, immediately call your dog out of the situation. Call them away if other dog owners voice their concern, even if you think they are just playing rough. If your dog does not calm down, it is time to leave the dog park.

Be a responsible dog owner

1. If someone has a dog that is displaying unruly behavior, tell them to get their dog under control. Move to another section of the park with your dog and ask them to keep a distance if necessary. “Hey, our dogs aren’t getting along too well right now. Why don’t we let them have some space? We’ll go over here and you and your dog can go over there for a while.” It’s a big park. There’s a lot of space.

2. If someone has a dog that is behaving aggressively, it is time to leave the park. It may seem unfair that their bad behavior cuts your time short, but your first responsibility is to your own dog’s health and positive dog-dog experience. If you have a name of the owner and description of the dog or other identifying information, you can file a report with Newton Animal Control. Be aware that without a full name or other information such as a license plate, followup by Animal Control is nearly impossible.

3. If a dog has harmed another animal or a human or if you are fearful of your safety, call 911 to report the incident as soon as possible for assistance.

Aggressive behavior at the dog park is completely unacceptable.
The level of “roughness” in play that a dog will tolerate differs from dog to dog. It is up to the humans watching them to judge when play becomes too much for a dog and to call them out of the situation before the play changes.
While certain noises are normal during play, excessive barking and growling can elicit negative responses from other dogs or signal that the play is no longer just play. Be mindful that your pet is not being overly vocal and negatively influencing the space for the dogs at the park.

No matter if your dog is the aggressor or not, you should be ready to intervene at a moment’s notice. If other dog park users are alerting to your dog’s behavior, do not sit idly by. While most instances of dog-dog introductions and play go well or can be smoothed over (or there would be NO dog parks), it sometimes requires human intervention for that to happen and is wise to be aware of your dog at all times.

Be aware of your surroundings and your fellow park users. Everyone is there to have an enjoyable experience with their dogs. I have heard so many positive stories from the dog park and this is an informative post to let people know what they can do should the need arise.

Thank you!

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Ashley Klein

Director, Newton Dog Park Project
Seasoned animal lover, local pet care business owner
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There are 4 comments

By Joe Robb | November 19, 2016 at 8:06 am

Great blog post. I think owners are doing a good job of taking care of each other and their dogs and as play gets a little rough people are stepping up nicely. Wonderful techniques you suggest and reminders for all of us as to our responsibility. We are lucky to have this awesome community amenity!

By Ashley Klein | November 19, 2016 at 8:22 am

Thank you, Joe! Yes, owners are doing a great job. It’s amazing seeing dogs running, playing together, and having a good time.

I fielded some questions about “what do I do if XYZ happened,” which is why this one got posted. We are lucky to have this amenity AND such responsible dog owners like you out there enjoying it! Thanks!

By Shannon Rudman Reinert | November 19, 2016 at 10:41 am

I’ll admit I like dog parks, but don’t go often because I’m afraid of aggressive dogs. I have big dogs and you think that would scare other dogs off but it doesn’t. More of the opposite. I think the other dogs feel like they have to prove themselves. We have been attacked/approached by many dogs even out for a walk, so I’m always iffy about dog parks.

By Ashley Klein | November 19, 2016 at 11:13 am

I understand the concern and I wouldn’t push someone very uncomfortable with the idea to go. There are a lot of people enjoying the experience, though.

This has been handled very responsibly at the park. I think most people with dogs that wouldn’t do well in groups don’t bring them at all or are wise to bring them to run when the park is empty and vacate if someone arrives. There are enough park users that there is a culture of responsibility within the group.

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