Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Common Sense Should Be Guide at Off-Lead Parks

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Common Sense Should Be Guide at Off-Lead Parks

Article excerpt

Dogs and cats vary in the types of aggression they exhibit. Territory, food, dominance and sexual drive are all stimuli that can cause animals to bite and fight with each other.

Cats will fight at night over territory when a dominant animal challenges another cat in a neighborhood. Two house pets can have a disagreement over a choice morsel of food. Dominant dogs will react to each other even on leash at a veterinary clinic or at a dog show. Non-neutered dogs will fight if an intact female dog is in heat or just to prove who is the toughest one.

Aggression can also be a big issue when dogs are running at a park or in an off-leash area. Our office recently had an incident where a small dog was attacked by a larger dog at a city dog park and did not survive the attack. The dog was brought to us by the distraught owners. Concerned observers also witnessed the unfortunate event.

Off-lead areas can be dangerous places for a dog to get exercise. We also frequently see bite wounds from doggie day care or even from dogs who live together. There are no easy answers to the dog park problem. I visited a city off-lead area a few years ago with my large dog and left after a short time because of the muddy conditions and the rowdy atmosphere. I have not returned. The dogs and people all seemed to be familiar with each other, but aggressive dogs can quickly ruin an outdoor experience. At a dog park, dominance and pack behavior can be exhibited, and we see bite wounds from park outings frequently. All bite wounds should checked by a veterinarian quickly as some are much worse than initially thought.

I found some good common-sense suggestions online for making a dog park experience better for both dogs and people. Everyone should follow the rules for the park and especially the one about cleaning up after your dog. …

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