Dog Dominance Behavior – Dog Park Havoc

Dog Dominance Behavior – Dog Park Havoc

By Rena Murray

Dog parks should be delightful places where dogs and their owners can socialize, relax, and play games that their species enjoy, not hotbeds of aggression dog dominance and other bad dog instinctive behavior. Instead, though, the dog park becomes a war zone for many dogs and their owners, an apparent show of the machismo of dog dominance behavior. Dog walkers bring anxious, over-excited, and nervous dogs to the park, usually full of pent-up energy and without prior exercise. Then they let them off leash to run and mix with other dogs at the park. They usually do not know or consider the attitude the dog brings there, if he will cause or attract trouble. Then they often become preoccupied chatting with people they see or on the cell phone… until trouble erupts!

The problem is that the doggie newcomer to the park is now left with the responsibility of finding both psychological challenge and physical release for himself. His choice ways are not always good …

A mentally unchallenged or unstable animal will walk into a group of dogs and try to challenge himself psychologically by asserting himself forcefully over other dogs. That is to be expected, because that is dog instinctive behavior that you will find in the wild in dog packs. Bored, unchallenged dogs determine that they want the same ball, the same frisbee, the same toy …. So they will start fights, frequently among several dogs, and it is hard for inexperienced people to break them up.

So, to avoid dog aggression or dog dominance behavior in a dog park, be sure your dog has had a forty-five minute walk under disciplined circumstances (on a heel) FIRST. That will have satisfied much of his need for physical and psychological challenge. The park should not be his first “release!”

Bring him in the park’s gate or entrance behind you on a heel, so it is apparent to the rest of the dogs that the newcomer is under control and does not need to be shown the rules of the house by THEM. Realize that if your dog is not under control when he comes in, the other dogs will sense this and will seek to control him for you!

What happens? One dog will pin yours down, and everyone else will want to be sure they have made the “cut it out!” point clear to him. They will nip him and beat him up. Dogs do not put up with instability among the pack. The excited, fearful, and aggressive dogs are the likely ones to be taught a lesson.

I have broken up many a dog fight and will continue to do this when needed. I am reluctant, however, to release HOW in an article or newsletter, because a mistake on your part can lead to nasty results. Meet with a dog behavior modification professional to be shown this.

However, should you be confronted suddenly with a situation of a mass attack, then move toward the group quickly but calmly, firmly -NOT SHOUTING – with authority saying, “Hey, hey, break it up” (can be any words). The tone is what is important. Shouting will escalate it, and may even cause the mass to turn on you! Done properly, the dogs will either scatter or remain somewhat as a group, but calmed down.

Then the two instigators can be dealt with properly, as the rest just followed along. How to do that is outside the scope of this article but is discussed in “Dog Dominance Behavior – Dog Park Ruckus.”

Use your common sense, work with your dog before taking him to a park, and avoid the pain and struggle of aggression dog dominance and other dog dominance behavior. Pay attention and exude authority and control as your dog’s pack leader.

GET HELP from Rena Murray at the Dog Obedience Training website. An accomplished Dog Behavior Modification expert, Dog Obedience Trainer, and Platinum Expert Author, Rena provides self-help Articles and free “Best Ezines”-recognized newsletter: PAW PERSUASION POINTERS to help you better understand communication and control of your dogs, debunk dog training myths, explore right and wrong dog training techniques for specific situations, address destructive dog behavior, excessive and obsessive dog behavior, and other canine issues, from new puppy to old dog. Subscribe for free at, visit Rena’s BLOG – , find the dog products, crates, and gifts you need at, and Contact Rena for Coaching .

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