In this video clip I talk about how to create a dog that is good with small critters whether it’s chickens, squirrels, rabbits or cats. If your dog has already established bad habits with these animals, the approach may vary.
In my opinion off-leash dog parks are not the best choice for toy play. Your dog may love their Frisbee or ball and both are excellent options to exercise your dog, however, the off-leash dog park is not the best place to bring out your bag of toys.
Even if your dog does not have guarding issues and is more then happy to share toys, other dogs may not. I have seen more than one dog fight break out over sticks, frisbees and the infamous orange Chuck it balls and frankly the risk is not worth it. The dogs on the field may be great playing and wrestling with other dogs and show no signs of aggression until….. toss a loose ball into the mix and all hell breaks loose. Even if you are lucky enough to be on the field with dogs that don’t have guarding issues there are always plenty of ball thieves at the park (Boomer is guilty as charged!) and you may find yourself chasing said thieves all over the field more then playing with your own dog.
Also worth mentioning, it has been my observation that many dogs don’t show any interest in socializing with other dogs when a toy is in their field of vision. So, if you head to the park in hopes to help socialize your dog and romp around with some doggie friends, your efforts may be foiled if you have a toy out on the field.
Right about now you might be thinking, why not bring my toys to the park? It’s a public park and I can use it as I see fit. Yes, it is a public park and by definition, YOU are not the only person using it. As members of the public it is our responsibility to use it in a respectful manner that is safe for all.
Personally, I like to leave the ball in the truck or in my jacket and will have a toss if dog friends are few and far between BUT if the dog park is teeming with dogs , the toys go away. It is a personal pet peeve of mine to find someone throwing toys right through a pack of playing dogs; it’s just an accident waiting to happen. Unless you are fortunate enough to know all the dogs and owners well enough to ensure you won’t have an issue, use your judgement, play it safe, and find a quiet end of the park to pull out your toys or just keep the toys under wraps.