Socializing dogs with other dogs and other people is one perk that dog parks have. However, if a dog is not accustomed to being around other dogs and people, it might be a good idea to try socializing them with another dog that the owner is familiar with. It is possible for a dog to do well around a couple of other dogs but then feel very overwhelmed in a dog park setting with 20 other dogs.
“The most critical period for socializing a dog occurs within the first 8 to 12 weeks of their life, this is a good time to expose them to different people and types of animals in order to help avoid any anxiety or behavior problems in the future,” said Stickney.
Stickney explains that this is almost a double-edged sword because it is good to socialize a dog at a young age; however, this is also when their immune systems are not the strongest and owners want to be careful to whom they expose them.
“I like to take my puppy everywhere with me, and to go visit my neighbors friendly dog often, but I am not going to turn him loose at a park with many different dogs that I do not know,” said Stickney.
Also, some dogs simply are not social creatures and are not comfortable around a lot of attention. If a dog appears skittish or afraid in unfamiliar settings or frequently rolls over in a submissive position when other dogs approach it, then chances are it will not enjoy a trip to the dog park.
When dogs interact with each other for the first time in a park, it can be a stressful moment if one is unsure of the response that will occur. It is important not to bring a female dog that is in heat to a dog park, this will result in having to deal with the constant bother of male dogs, and even worse an unexpected litter of puppies!