We all love our furry four-legged best friends, but they may not always behave like we’d expect, especially around strangers or children.
Believe it or not, as their owner, you’re liable if your pet bites or injures another person, or even another animal.
You can take steps to ensure that your dog is socialized with people and other animals, thus minimizing the risk of an incident.
Group training classes offered at stores like PetSmart are great ways to get your dog used to being around other dogs, and while it’s best to start when your dog is young, there’s really no age limit.
Ask your vet or local pet supply store about classes in the area geared towards your dog’s age group and temperament.
Be honest with your vet and/or trainer about your dog’s attitude towards other dogs and people so they can provide you with options that will benefit you and your dog the most.
Off-Leash parks are a great place to take your well-socialized and mild-mannered dog, but they aren’t for everyone. If you’re unsure how your dog will react to so much activity, time your first visit when there are fewer dogs, and gradually work up to a sunny Saturday afternoon, which is sure to draw a crowd.
The Off-Leash park can be a family event too, so expect to see young children, who will inevitably find themselves eye-level with dogs they don’t know. Be sure you’re aware of any interactions your dog has with others (adults, children and other dogs) at all times.
If your dog shows any signs of aggressive behavior towards other dogs or people at the Off-Leash park, it's time to consider some professional training before you revisit the park to avoid an incident that will leave someone injured (possibly very seriously) and you with the liability.
Remember that dogs are still animals and can react in unpredictable ways when they’re scared, stressed out, or in an unfamiliar setting. Regardless how much training and socialization your dog has had, always be mindful of your dog and the safety of others.