TOPEKA (KSNT)- More people are coming forward about attacks in local dog parks and group dog settings. In April 2021, three different dogs were attacked by other canines at dog parks in Shawnee County alone.
Dog parks can be a positive experience, but not all dogs are friendly. Dr. Susan Nelson, an animal expert at the Veterinary Health Center at Kansas State University, said there are things pet owners can watch out for in a dog’s body language that may point to aggression.
“If the tail is straight up it might be a slow wag or barely wagging at all and that’s a dog who is very alert and intent at what it’s looking at,” Nelson said.
Pet owners should watch for behavior like this in order to remove their dog from the situation before it intensifies. Sometimes, it’s as simple as making sure your dog has basic obedience training.
“That they will come to you on command, they sit and they stay on command,” Nelson said. “If you have a dog that ignores your commands, that’s not going to be a good one to have at the dog park either because you’re not going to have any control.”
At Gage Park in Topeka, the dogs are broken up where small dogs are asked to play on one side and the other side is reserved for the larger dogs. That is essentially the only rule, according to Parks & Recreation. But if your dog was to attack another dog, Shawnee County Parks + Recreation staff said there could be consequences.
“Know that if you go to the dog park and your dog is aggressive and bites another dog, you could be sued,” Mike McLaughlin, Shawnee County Parks + Recreation, said.
Keeping your dog safe is important, but it’s also important to protect yourself.
“If you have to try and intervene grab the back leg of the aggressive dog and pull it off. Don’t try to intervene up front but be wary the dog could still turn around and bite you,” Nelson said.
This is why first and foremost experts say if you have an aggressive dog, just keep him or her out of the dog park.