Top 10 things to consider for keeping your dog safe and happy:
1. Know your dog. Not all dogs enjoy meeting new dogs and it can be very stressful and overwhelming for them to be forced into this situation.
2. Keep your dog healthy. Be sure your dog isn’t vulnerable to disease or picking up infections.
3. Observe. Before deciding to bring your dog into to the park, spend a few minutes watching the other dogs and how they interact.
4. Let your dog off leash. A leashed dog cannot make the choice his natural instinct tells him of ‘fight or flight’—if he cannot run, he may have to fight.
5. Closely supervise your dog. Your dog will let you know how she is feeling about situations. If you understand her body language you can act and avoid any trouble before it begins.
6. Leave children at home. Dogs and children both frighten and excite easily—and react differently—creating a dangerous atmosphere.
7. Leave small puppies at home. Puppies less than 4 months old aren’t fully immunized yet and are at higher risk for contracting diseases. They are also very vulnerable to being traumatized by another dog.
8. Do not physically intervene in a dog fight. Throw a jacket, water, or towel over them or distract them by throwing something loud near them.
9. Prevent injuries. Be aware of the signs of a possible dog fight before it might happen. Educate yourself about dog body language and communication signals so you can tell the difference between vulnerability, dominance, and play.
10. Know when to leave. Remove your dog from the park if she is: being threatened or bullied and seems fearful; begins to display dominant behaviour and acts threatening to other dogs, is panting heavily; or seems overly tired.