How to Clear Out a Dog Park

One of our Latest Ribbons

One of our Latest Ribbons

I have really gotten into competing lately!  I like the level of control and obedience I need to be able to take my dog to a dog show and be successful.

We were shocked to be invited to the AKC National Rally competition in Oklahoma!  I guess that means we are doing something right!

And, for the most part I don’t go to obedience school, so my dog isn’t use to being in a class full of dogs.

So I learned as I practiced for our last obedience program that I needed to teach my dog to listen under all kinds of crazy dog distractions.

My ultimate goal was to be able to get her to listen to me in the middle of a dog park with other dogs running around and poking at her.

I figured if she could listen to me under this kind of distraction she would be able to listen while we were at a dog show and/or dog obedience competition.

Always Make Your Training More Difficult Than Your Goal

Dog Park Training

Dog Park Training

If I am training for a 2 minute down stay; I train for a 10 minute down stay.

If the stay is under minimal distractions then I want to train and practice in a crazy, busy environment.

If my dog has to withstand two shots of gunfire, I want to train with a dozen or more.

So when it comes time for trial, competition or whatever event, I know my dog can easily be successful.

Need help with the basics?  Click here for our training programs.

I Hate Pattern Training

Most dog competitions or whatever  you are training for has a set goal or a set pattern and although I want to be able to conquer and know the pattern, I hate pattern training.

I think pattern training is boring, not only for me but also for the dog.

And, I think if anything happens and you miss a cue or your dog does something wrong your whole pattern or ritual will fail.

Instead I like to mix it up and make things fun and I want my dog to listen to any command no matter where it falls within a pattern.

If true obedience is the key then pattern training goes against that basic goal.

Patterns and rituals get boring to me and my dog.

I like to throw in anything that makes training fun!

I often throw some agility into my obedience routines to spice them up a bit.  This is good for both my agility training and my obedience training!

I also like to lay down on my stomach or skip while giving a command, this makes it more difficult for my dog and teaches her to listen to my commands and not my body language.

Body language, if you are anything like me, changes when you compete.  You get stiff and nervous and your dog can’t understand why.  So if you teach your dog to pay attention to your commands and not your body then it is easier for you both on the day of the trial.

But Be Prepared…

Obedience can and should be Preformed Anywhere!

Obedience can and should be Preformed Anywhere!

I swear I have about 20 minutes from the time I enter any given dog park until I have completely cleared it out.

It’s funny really…

Although my dog is not overly friendly to other dogs, she is also not aggressive.  The most she will do is get a little stiff when another dog comes to engage her in play while she is training.  And, this body language simply tells the other dogs that she isn’t interested without her having to get verbally nasty.

But, the owners of the dogs at the dog park find my doing obedience completely irritating.

I’m not quite sure whether they think she is aggressive, whether they don’t want to interfere, or whether they are completely horrified that a dog is doing obedience in a dog park.

So, I have timed it and the longest it has taken was about 20 minutes to completely clear a dog park out at prime time.

It seems no one wants to stay long with someone doing dog obedience in the middle of a dog park.

I Don’t Let it Stop Me

I Keep My Goals in Mind

I Keep My Goals in Mind

Some people think it is abusive to train a dog in the dog park, I personally think it is good obedience!

I have developed tough skin, and I am use to being judged harshly so I don’t let it bother me anymore.  I just know that after a short time we will be on our own with a large fenced area to train!

And, I keep going back.

I mix up which park we visit and the times we frequent so that she gets exposure to many dogs and situations.

The key to successful dog obedience is mixing it up, having fun, and training past your goals!

As always fun between me and my girl is the most important thing!

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  1. Diana says:

    Why would people think that training at a dog park is abusive? What is happening?


  2. Dave says:

    Training a dog in a park is ideal, especially if you want the distractions. Weekends are best 🙂


  3. Margo says:

    OA dog park is ideal for obedience training both for dogs but especially kids and their parents. We should make them mandatory for everyone. Perhaps we might have some more polite humans and kids.


    Lena Meyerov Reply:

    Polite humans and kids?!
    Impossible! It’s easier to find polite dogs.


  4. Jack says:

    I don’t understand why other people would leave the park, as long as your dog is not aggressive. I know you’re not supposed to bring treats to the park, as that good cause a problem but other than that I don’t get it?


    Minette Reply:

    No treats only a ball 🙂 She’d rather play with her ball than treats any day.

    She is certainly not aggressive in anyway, she is off leash several times per week in various classes, goes to dog shows, and is accosted by loose dogs often while we walk or run 🙂

    People like to judge, but that is none of my business.

    I simply do what is best for me and my dogs, and training in a dog park is a great way to achieve higher, and almost flawless obedience in other environments.


  5. Curtis says:

    It is easy to know why! A lot of dog owners DON”T take the time to train they’er dogs and is ashamed of there dogs lack of training. I’ve seen this many times before myself it also seems the bigger the dog the faster the guys leave


    Minette Reply:

    haha… she is about 45 pounds and she has a lush furry coat… so I am pretty sure it is not that! 😉

    She’d much rather play ball, do obedience and listen to me than randomly play with other dogs and most of the time we find a fairly secluded corner of the park to work.


  6. Kevin says:

    I think the reason people think its abusive is because they forget that their dog is a dog. They go to the park to let their fur baby run and play not to be trained. Unfortunately as a society we are more likely to have a dog than a child and then we start treating them as such.


    Minette Reply:

    I’d let her play if she wanted to… but she would prefer playing ball so I just have to do a little obedience before we engage in a good game of ball 🙂


  7. Cathy McKeown says:

    OK…ordered the video special and no confirmation number was furnished nor an email sent to me…Please advise…


    Laurie Reply:

    Nice that all the other comments were replied to BUT this one. Did you get it?


  8. Helen says:

    I wish you would come to my dog park! I could use some tips (in person) on training with distractions.


    Minette Reply:

    We love a new dog park 😉 I’d love to come out and chat!


  9. Minette says:

    I train my dog for my amusement and since we are doing nothing wrong there is no reason for any one to leave.

    She doesn’t growl, snap, hackle, bark, show teeth or do anything that is unacceptable behavior.

    There is no reason that my being there keeps any working folk or anyone else from enjoying the park.

    Her desire is to stick with me, do heeling patterns and obedience and play ball.

    I don’t even correct or tell her she is wrong if she breaks a command engages with another dog.

    So I would have to disagree that I do anything sick or rude.

    In fact this kind of training keeps her safe in other environments (like when we walk and another dog runs up to us) and also shows people what a dog is capable of even under the toughest distractions.

    I personally am quite proud of her! And, if she wanted to play I would let her… it is just not something she is interested in!


  10. Linda says:

    I would have to agree with Curtis. My husband and I see it all the time at our local dog park. Most of the people at our dog park sit on their butts and expect their dogs to entertain themselves. My husband and I walk or run around the park with our dogs to keep them moving, call them back to us and release them to go play, play fetch, etc. Other dogs see this as interesting and want to come “play” with us and of course the other owners call their dogs back to the huddle right away and sooner or later there ends up being a fight because all the dogs are sitting around together in a small area bored out of their minds. Too many people get dogs without bothering to find out just how much physical exercise and mental stimulation dogs need to be happy and healthy. They probably think that you are showing off or they feel embarassed that their dog isn’t as well trained or well behaved as yours. I say good for you! My husband and I don’t let the poor behavior of other owners keep us from enjoying the park with our dogs either.


    Teresa Juliano Reply:

    Linda you are so right. If more people would make sure there dogs are getting the right training and exercise we would have less problem dogs. So lets make sure we have fun in dog parks or where ever we walk our dogs and have respect for all. Keep up the good work Minette.


    Carole Reply:

    wow – our dog park, when there are dogs there, instead of just us or a few stragglers, tends to be a hub of activity, ruled by mostly the larger dogs and gently monitored by a majority of dog owners. I have a 15lb chi mix (where he got those long legs, we may never know…)who loves every human and dog he ever met and runs like a greyhound. We never fail to receive comments and compliments on how fast, energetic and cute he is and nobody ever makes me feel like a failure because he’s not obedient yet. We don’t see a lot of small breeds at the park and he appreciates smaller friends, but rarely shies from the big guys. If I could get his attention, I would attempt some training there, but once we get through the gates, I barely exist to him. He returns to me if a dog scares him, if he gets overwhelmed by too many giant dogs and when he’s finally run himself out of energy. By that time, he’s ready to leave and gratefully allows me to pick him up and clip his leash back on. Before that, I’m just home base and a shelter in a storm.


  11. John says:

    Here In Auburn, Calif, there is a really good dog training that works with the (K-9,101)the Auburn Park District, and he uses the dog park (just outside its boundaries) at the training area. It works great. We had excellent training sessions with all the “other” dogs inside the fenced dog park creating distractions. Worked very well!


  12. Merrill says:

    Ummmm, we always practice obedience at the dog park (after some free running). I never thought about it being unkind? I don’t think we’ve bothered other people . . . Will pay more attention. I just always viewed it as THE best place to practice. Merrill


    Minette Reply:

    Mostly I was teasing 😉 it makes for a funner title.


  13. mary Beth says:

    I think either you are missing something or leaving something out. seriously, people have trained their dogs in my dog park and no one has minded a bit. only admiration.


    Minette Reply:

    Mostly it is tongue and cheek and the title is intriguing.

    People come and go, as is normal for any dog park.

    Some people do get irritated because they think a dog park should be just for play, (these are the ones I am referring to) but as long as my dog is well behaved that is all I care about 🙂


  14. Minette says:

    I use the park so that she will have dogs come and interact with her! Otherwise I would train outside of the dog park.


  15. mary says:

    I get that…I had an experience when another dog was seriously stalking my (smaller) dog because he was jealous. And other dags started to form a pack about this. Tried to make suggestions to his owner re how to redirect this behavior so they could bre at the same end of the park…she said it was his “fun time” and she didn’t want to interfere with that. How is allowing a dog to do whatever he wants “fun” for him?
    Only people I really get irritated with are the ones that think they are traing their dogs and are actually being mean or abusive.


    Minette Reply:

    A lot of people at dog parks have no control over their dogs and they are misguided in thinking that control at the dog park is a bad thing.

    Control gives me the ability to call my dogs and leave whenever I want and to stop my dog from playing with a dog I feel is high risk.

    I wouldn’t go to a dog park and turn a dog that I didn’t have this kind of control over lose, that can lead to my dog getting attacked.

    We only go to the dog park when we have great off leash obedience and attention and my dog wants to work for reward or toys.


    Susie Clark Reply:

    I have a 1@1/2 old husky, I get asked 10 x a day about what he is. At 95lb. And 30 in tall. He is now in school and he has been raised for social reasons at our local dog park. I got him at 5 weeks and have using your suggestions to train at home after running and playing! Bleu loves kids! Lays immediately upon seeing any baby in a cart (@petsmart) or at the park! He grew knowing his pack and their owners ! Now a new development has brought an amazing amount of large dogs and owners who have been rescued . The older dogs have not been coming at the same and he wants to be pack leader and keep everyone in line ! He is vocal and warns them with a howl! Folks r offended when he is in his space the table he warns the puppies with a howl , he has never been vicious or bitten anyone! He will protect the pack leader and come between the dogs to protect his leader or a child there ! We took him on recent doggie vaca and he was an angel ! I’m 58 and 120lb and ta. I do not know what to make of this ???? Help


    Minette Reply:

    When he shows a behavior you don’t like, make him leave immediately. If he howls and puts himself in between take him away.

    He will learn that that behavior results in his having to leave and he will likely stop the behavior in order to stay.

  16. Merrill says:

    I have learned so much from your columns–I appreciate your sharing your knowledge tremendously.

    I have a dog park question-probably one you’ve answered many times. How best to deal with another dog that’s out of control and seriously going after my dog? I have a happy go lucky Irish Setter who is always friendly and well behaved. This evening a little terrier of some kind zeroed in on her the moment we got in the gate and was relentless, snapping, growling, seriously trying to bite my dog (who was just trying to get away). The other dog ‘s owner appeared helpless. So I yelled no and leave it at her dog (which did nothing). Ended up throwing water at the dog and making a dash for the open field. I was getting a lot of shocked looks from people, I guess they thought I was over-reacting. But I was seriously concerned that my girl was going to get injured.
    How should I have handled this ? Thanks!


    Minette Reply:

    This is just another reason I like obedience at a dog park, because I can recall my dog (even if he/she is playing) and we can leave.

    You have no control over other owners or how they handle their dogs. Many of them have no control at all.

    When I see a dog I don’t trust, I leave. When I see a dog with a choke chain or a prong collar on (and my dog is playing with other dogs) I leave because I don’t want my dog to get caught in a choke chain.

    The thing with the dog park is that you only have control of your dog and if you are uncomfortable, leave and go for a walk or find another park, it is really the only thing you can do!


  17. Robert Ferman says:

    The dog park is not for training! it is for the dog to get exercise.

    Lets get a grip! what are you thinking, it is not for you, it is for the dog, and only the dog, Get a grip and train your dog at home not at play. RF


    Minette Reply:

    Oh she gets exercise too and plays ball! Dog training is for everywhere I go with her, that is what keeps her such a great dog!

    AND, that is why she is so stable in other environments where dogs are off leash!

    No one will diminish my excitement and joy at training in a dog park!


    Julie Roberts Reply:

    You must be leaving something out, because at my local dog park, some people walk their dogs on leashes, around the track along the fence. Others stay near one end and throw balls towards the other end, and the dogs retrieve the balls and come back to their owner. I don’t see why a person couldn’t take their dog over nearer one side, and practice the “down stay” or any of that.

    Maybe You are too loud and obnoxious. My little dog would “sit” if he heard you command “sit”, or he might “come” if you are calling “come”. So, maybe that is the objection.


    Minette Reply:

    Nope, very quiet person, my commands are only heard by my dog.

    Shouting commands is never the way.

    Charles Vance Reply:

    Hey Robert, if she and her dog prefer training at the dog park, that is between her and her dog. I see nothing wrong with it and do the same with my GSD. Mind your own business (and your dog’s behavior) unless she and her dog are doing something to endanger your dog. If done right, training IS a game to a dog, so is that not play?

    Do you not teach your kids to mind when out in public (say at a playground)? Same thing, to me.

    You’re the one who needs to get a grip.


    Sidney Reply:

    Hey Robert Ferman,Anywhere is for dog training,are there signs in a dog park that say no dog training? Our biggest problem is we don.t have enough trained dogs All dogs should be trained to a certain level just to be able to control them


    Robin Ruth Henderson Reply:

    Hi Robert, I am in Australia so things here may be a bit different. We have very strict dog laws. No unleashed dogs allowed in any public parks and no training either!

    Public Parks are for people first and dogs on leash next. If on leash dogs look like starting a fight the owners must leave the park with their dogs.

    I live in a small country town with great parks for people and for dogs and their people, and these parks are in conformity with our overall dog laws…some of which I think are overly strict but do understand why we have them.

    Country dogs are mainly working dogs on sheep and cattle stations. They are kept in packs and work in sync.The Blue dog and the Kelpie are usually the ones and these dogs are very energetic and friendly and highly trained by their owner/ breeders but some can really get excited and bite if they do not know a person….usually the ankles get it, and we call them “ankle biters” for that reason.
    People know not to try to befriend a working dog…and dogs know too.
    Others of these that have not been trained to round up livestock make such clever lovely home dogs….but they still have a propensity to “round up”…either the kids or the chooks or the visitors or the cats…its just their nature and its never nasty but these go in the Working Dogs’ Park…..and they have a good time all together.
    Its like watching an extended family meeting. Non desexed breeding dogs have a separate space. Owners leave their dogs in the enclosure and usually sit around talking or catching up on news and gossip etc.

    We have hunting dogs to catch wild pigs…not dogs to put in a doggy park to play and not into a Teraining Park either! They get enough exercise and training on the job in the bush and on their own properties. people who have these dogs are encouraged to get together with their dogs. The local boarding kennel has a socialising park for all the dogs there too.
    Hunting dogs are traditionally trained by their owners and its a family skill that is handed down.
    Then we have the social dog parks where all the home doggies are allowed to run and play with their toys together and humans can join in.
    Again no training allowed, its simply too distracting from the fun and games and it has been seen to cause conflict…the “free” dogs wanting to befriend what they seem to percieve in doggie terms are the poor dogs under human command….somehow they seem to know that these dogs are not…well, Minette will wallop me for this, they seem to know that these dogs are not allowed to play and they do everything to try to entice them. I suppose thios is the situation Minette prefers…its tempting for the dog!

    This is where there can arise conflict and not necessarily caused by the owners.
    The owners of the playing dogs get upset for the training dogs and the training dogs seem to look as if they want to play and not train…and the trainer has to have an iron grip on their dog’s will to hold him in training mode when there’s a pack of excited happy pooches all wanting them to play.

    I can understand very well why ordinary dog owners would get upset at trainers in doggie play parks.

    Australians are dog mad especially in the country towns.
    NO TRAINING IN DOG PARKS is law here irrespective of who the trainer is. There have been some awful things happen in the situation where training and playing dogs were together.

    I can understand why the people left the park where Minette was training her dog and I can understand why the people were upset with her. I suppose its a matter of perception and of personal preference.

    Minette may be among the best trainers but imagine you are her dog having to obey a human all its life under strict command and never be a dog pretending that the whole world is only for dogs.

    Our dog “off leash” Parks are the dogs’ world for running and socialising with other dogs and for nothing else.
    Sometimes the owners join in, other times its just the dogs’ DOGS ONLY DAY.
    Trainers have their own training parks. Some are set up for specialised levels of training.
    We are fortunate that USA’s Butch Chappel has established K9 Pro Sport here so there’s that for the real professionals to train their dogs in protection work.
    We also have LAW DOGS Australia here where people can go and learn and watch dogs training for specialised work…and buy a pup and have it specially trained with them.
    There’s a lot of ‘dog contentiousness’ here.
    Dogs are not demonised, owners are encouraged to get together. We have fundraiser dog walks where usually all members of the Social Dog Training clubs particepate with their well accquainted dogs all on leash of course because walking the town.
    Owners are not allowed to leave their dogs tied to a post in the street whilst they go shopping.
    Owners are not allowed to leave their dogs in a car even if the windows are wound down and the dog is harnessed.
    Many country folk solve the problem by putting a canopy over their truck tray and installing an inverter and a house fan and drinking water = dogs’ day in town!

    There’s a town nearby where everyone uses the pedestrian crossing (which is a law many would not observe) because there’s a dog in every truck along the street! Police encourage people to bring their dogs to town!
    I am in favour of
    #Separate Training areas for training dogs and
    # “off leash” parks for rambling and socialising dogs.

    Distraction can happen anywhere if the trainer knows his stuff. Does not have to happen in a doggy play park.
    It might be good to condition the dog being trained but the playing doggies do not seem too happy and neither are their owners.
    I think it upsets people as well as dogs from what is observed by some who are purported to really understand dogs.
    We also have some privately owned Social -Dog-Training parks where the dogs have their training sessions first and are then allowed to play.

    Some of these are the best places to go. The land owners sometimes have all manner of cut price doggie goods for sale as well as home made healthy dog food even if you do not particepate in the training sessions.
    All the dogs get to know each other and its just a joy to watch them chase around and just be dogs…nothing else to worry about!

    I’m for separate training and play areas, don’t care what the professionals “in the know” say.

    I have a Neapolitan Mastiff which I train myself due to distance and the very stubborn nature of the breed….but Jupiter is eager to please…more eager than my previous two.
    I suppose its a question of rapport.
    I always go into the pen with all the pups when getting a new one and let the pup choose me.

    Here at home I have a special part of the yard for training at first then, when I think he’s ‘got it” we go to the street side of the land where there’s lots of noise and traffic = distraction training.
    Going in the tuck always means going to a doggy park to meet his doggy friends to play…we do this on a regular basis.
    Dog Park is a reward for a good training session.
    I’m with you Robert. Training has its own place and I’ve found that I get better results and although I’m by no means a crash hot dog expert I have one of the most difficult to train stubborn dogs that would give his life for me if needed…and I’ve had a practical demo from him at 7 mths…so must be doing something right.


    Belinda Reply:

    Robin Ruth Henderson – I’d prefer you didn’t put all of Australia into the same category. We don’t have the strict dog laws you are talking about. We have plenty of off leash public places for dogs and zero mention anywhere of NO TRAINING in them.


  18. Curtis says:

    Robert sounds like one of the guys I was talking about. The park is the place to train and yes your right to play And like said the perfect place to train with other dogs as a distraction and yes I would would prefer to train just outside the fence BUT I do not want to pay the ticket I would get for doing so (leash law) but we all can agree to disagree. Is this not why Minette put up this forum? So we all can give and get a little input from other ppl


  19. Merrill says:

    Thanks, Minette. My dog was trying desperately to get to me while the little out of control dog was terrorizing her. We basically did leave by heading rapidly to an open field area, once I threw enough ice water on the little beast to break its obsession for a moment. The owner just stood there and watched, didn’t try to intervene.
    Interesting comments and perspectives. My dog is high energy and needs to run, which I allow. But we also practice commands — come, wait, down stays. And she enjoys all of it, thrives on the attention and interaction. She’s friendly to all dogs, but prefers to chase birds, practice her pointing and hunting skills and just hang out with me.


  20. Susan Ramsay says:

    Did you mention you use a gun to keep your dog from being afraid of noises?
    I can see why people would leave if you do this all the time at the dog park.


    Minette Reply:

    I don’t shoot a gun at a dog park haha

    I do use a blank gun at home for training for competitions, however I would never expose any one else’s dog to that… plus I’m pretty sure that would be against most city ordinances and could land me in jail.. not exactly where I would like to go 😉

    All we do in a dog park is train, off leash using toys and rewards, that’s it nothing torrid or overly fancy


  21. joshua says:

    Thanks so much for your information it helps us beginners


  22. Annie says:

    Hey, I have read all of the posts and I must assume you all live in the USA. In the UK dogs run off leash most of the time in a park or open space and we all have a go at training. How else do you teach not to chase bikes, runners etc.
    I have a lot of family in the USA and am always surprised that I never see a dog enjoying himself off lead, ( maybe it’s just the areas where my family live).
    I’m off now to do some agility in the park!


  23. Vickie says:

    Excuse me but those people have a right to be in that park with their dogs enjoying the day. Why do you find it necessary to “clear the park” in 20 minutes so you can train your dog? Have a bit of respect for others, it goes a long way. You have no right to do what you do and annoy other people so much that they go elsewhere. What makes you think you have that right? They want to enjoy their time in the dog park with their dogs, that’s what it is there for. Not for people like you that think it’s fun and a challenge to see how long it takes to annoy enough people to clear the park for yourself. Greedy and disrespectful and I hope those people start to complain or get together and all have a nice long talk with you about how rude and disrespectful you are. You claim to be a dog lover? So why chase the poor dogs out from where they are having fun? You are something else and be thankful I’m not there with my dogs.


    mathgirrl Reply:

    Vickie, Minette does not say she “finds it necessary to clear the park”. She is not chasing anybody out. That is quite a distortion on your part. She has simply observed that it happens. The other people CHOOSE to go. Their CHOICE. The dog park is a perfectly acceptable place for training. If others are disturbed, that is their (very silly) problem. In what way is it rude? Minette is simply minding her own business and working on her relationship with her dog in her own way. She has every right to do that.


  24. Angie Sisco says:

    I completely agree with Minette. My problem WITH my dog is when there are distractions he doesn’t obey. He know the commands and when in the house alone he obeys, but the slightest distraction and he forgets everything.
    This, I have been told, is partially because he is a Lab, just turned 1 year old and is still very immature. And I can only do so much because I am still recovering from hip replacement surgery.
    Keep going Minette, don’t listen to the others!!!


  25. Megan says:

    Let me just say, this is what is wrong with the community of “pet parents.” My husband and I live in a pet friendly apartment complex, and every time we take our dog out, it’s like we’re at a dog park. I feel like there is more peer pressure coming from other dog owners today than I ever experienced in high school. We knew when our Golden was a puppy, she wouldn’t stay with us, or come when we called while off leash. One time at a dog beach in San Francisco we got pressured into letting her off leash, and she made a mad dash for a family on a blanket eating a bag of McDonalds… It was so much more humiliating than if we would have kept her on leash and had to deal with her excited pulling. So we tried to avoid it. We knew our limits, but that started bringing on judgement and dirty looks from the clan of dog owners that don’t care what their dogs do in public. I don’t think I could train in a dog park because I don’t trust other dog owners! I wish our dog knew a trick that would clear out our dog area so we could have let her be off leash to practice coming when called without distractions so at some point we could move on to doing it off leash with the crazies out:) They tell you yThis was a wonderful blog post, I just wish some of these dog owners who are making you out to be a bad dog owner would take a good look at themselves. They are probably the problem, and they’re most likely content with spoiled misbehaving dogs haha:)


  26. Megan says:

    Let me just say, this is what is wrong with the community of “pet parents.” My husband and I live in a pet friendly apartment complex, and every time we take our dog out, it’s like we’re at a dog park. I feel like there is more peer pressure coming from other dog owners today than I ever experienced in high school. We knew when our Golden was a puppy, she wouldn’t stay with us, or come when we called while off leash. One time at a dog beach in San Francisco we got pressured into letting her off leash, and she made a mad dash for a family on a blanket eating a bag of McDonalds… It was so much more humiliating than if we would have kept her on leash and had to deal with her excited pulling. So we tried to avoid it. We knew our limits, but that started bringing on judgement and dirty looks from the clan of dog owners that don’t care what their dogs do in public. I don’t think I could train in a dog park because I don’t trust other dog owners! I wish our dog knew a trick that would clear out our dog area so we could have let her be off leash to practice coming when called without distractions so at some point we could move on to doing it off leash with the crazies out:) They tell you their opinions on how you should train your dog. It iust gets really old these strangers telling us what to do when their dogs aren’t obedient. It’s so obnoxious! This was a wonderful blog post, I just wish some of these dog owners who are making you out to be a bad dog owner would take a good look at themselves. They are probably the problem, and they’re most likely content with spoiled misbehaving dogs haha:)


  27. I took my shi-tzu puppy to a doggie park and she came back loaded with ticks and fleas. In the area where we live our grasses are sprayed for those pests, so it isn’t necessary to put any of the “treatments” on her.The grasses are safe as long as the treatment is allowed to dry. MY first dog never had any pests on her and she only went where it was “safe”. We go to the pet stores where she trains with all kinds of distractions.people, other dogs and toys. It works well.


  28. Hi Minette,
    I also don’t think you should have explained yourself,I thought both of your articles were well-explained. I thought the first article was wonderful and informative. I can’t imagine there are some people out there who were offended and upset by it. I follow your’s & chet’s advice & blogs religiously. My Rusty,(Golden Retriever & Border Collie Mix,he was 3 months old when my husband & I adopted him from a shelter. The shelter told us Rusty was in very bad shape when they received him, As a puppy, he was used as bait for a dog fighting ring.(we lived in Alabama at the time) He is 2 years old now,and has been trained following your advice & info from the beginning. Everyone loves him and says how well behaved he is.Rusty and I have had a few huge stumbling blocks to climb.(1) His Human Daddy (age 71) died 4 months after we adopted him.It was very tramatic for both him & I. (2) I had to sell our house, which had a very large fenced back yard where Rusty & I could play in.(3) moved back to Illinois & lived with my mom for 7 months, who is 87 yrs old with a 14yr old Diva Westie. (4) Now finally could buy my own condo, with a small fenced area, which needs fixing.
    I am now trying to re-establish Rusty’s training while I get things unpacked & orginized. (I am 65) Minette, I believe in your expertise and advice as well as Chet’s. Keep up the good work!


    Minette Reply:

    Thank you Monica!! I appreciate that 🙂


  29. Ana says:

    Im fully agree with you, your dog should listen to you anywhere, under any circumstance. I can not understand why people get uncomfortable if you are training your dog there. probably what happened is that they are facing a big big lesson from you : lead (teach or train) your dog at all times.I believe on discipline,respect,trust= love, plus you understand that is NOT a human, its a DOG and they needs are different from ours . a lot of people treats their dogs like children (for me this is WRONG).
    So probably this people get jealous when they see that their best friends do not listen to them hahaha. here in Mexico the dog parks DO NOT exist so a lot of people and professional dog trainers, train the dogs on a regular park including me, and we all have different techniques and ways to do it, and some times i get a lot of tips of what i see there, so please keep doing what you are doing, master the obedience is fantastic and i think that can save your dogs life too.
    thanks for the article


  30. Monika says:

    I have 8 dogs, I know it’s a lot but I never trained my collies in the park and now I pay for it. They just can’t go there anymore since as a pack all they do is trying to herd others. I got smarter with my GSD (last dog I got) and trained him EVERYWHERE, so his performance is at 100% all the time. I can have him off-leash and his best friend passing by running full speed.. All I need to say is “stay”. I had learned that actual measurement of your dog’s training are the distractions. The more, the better. Having big (100 pounds) and powerful GSD male makes me believe that the only good way to keep him safe is to have him perform at 100% at all times. Like that one day when two dogs started fighting in dog’s park and ALL I needed to do was call him and ask him to “stay with me”. And.. HE JUST DID.


  31. Pat says:

    I have a pet therapy dog so I am used to distraction training–I guess all folks wanted to hear is that you let your dog go crazy and play and have fun either before or after or both–that is what I do.


    Minette Reply:

    She doesn’t want to, has no desire at all to play with other dogs, otherwise I would let her 🙂 I use to take my old dog to play all the time 🙂


  32. tricia says:

    You dont know how lucky you are
    We have no dog parks of any description,


  33. Carole says:

    The people who took your humor seriously are kind of entertaining. In my old age I’ve finally learned that people sometimes have little to no sense of humor, which requires a certain level of intelligence, spiced with irony and sometimes a dash of sarcasm. I’m sad that these people missed out on the joke, yet it is funny that it just goes right over their heads and we have to accept them as just part of the continuum of humanity – it takes all kinds.


    Minette Reply:

    Ahhhh Carole you are a breath of fresh air that I needed today 🙂 Thank you 🙂

    I agree, I like a good sense of humor and the ability to sarcasm and irony 🙂


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