How to Handle Aggressive Dogs at the Dog Park

Brown Boston Terrier puppy in the park

When you live in an apartment with a dog, you have to make a special effort to find places for your furry friend to run around and get to know other dogs. Dog parks are often a great solution: your pup gets to expend his energy and you both get to enjoy time outdoors.

I personally like to take my Boston Terrier, Sancho, to the dog park every weekend. True to his breed, Sancho is a friendly and enthusiastic puppy who has never met a stranger. But the feeling isn’t always mutual. He has found a nemesis in a Chinese Crested with a fierce bark and an inclination to aggressively chase other males on occasion.

Should you find yourself in a similar scenario at your local dog park, consider the following:

Keep an eye on your pup at all times.

While you may be tempted to chat with other dog owners at the park or browse social media postings on your phone, be sure to watch your dog the entire time you’re at the park. He can easily get into tough situations with other dogs or people, so you have to stay vigilant.

Don’t hesitate to intervene.

When you see another dog exhibiting aggressive behavior towards your own (snarling, growling, snapping, showing teeth, etc.) intervene right away. As the pack leader, your dog will be looking for you to protect him, and you’ll want to avoid any potentially expensive vet visits. Clap or shout “hey!” to startle the other dog before you pick your dog up.

Remove your dog from the situation.

If the park is big enough, take your pup to the opposite end to give him a break from the drama. If the aggressor isn’t relenting, know that it’s time to leave. You have to do what’s best for your dog, even if he isn’t the aggressor. And if he ever is the aggressor, the same rules apply.

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