Concerns About Dog Parks

Some dog behavior and training professionals warn owners about dog parks.


Trish King, Director of Training and Behavior, Marin Humane Society, Novato, California, ( says potential dog park problems include:

Dogs who bully other dogs who are more cautious or reserved.

Dogs who form an impromptu pack, threatening incoming dogs.

The natural tendency of dogs to gather around gates and entrances, posing a threatening environment for dogs just arriving at the park.

The dogs’ instinct to protect themselves, particularly if the owner fails to.
(Source: Marin Independent Journal, August 14, 2006;

Eric Goebelbecker, CPDT and owner of, of Maywood, New Jersey, says, “The problem is most dog parks aren’t a safe place to play either. What dogs are going to be there today? Are they trustworthy? Did they come with responsible humans? Are they healthy? Are they fully vaccinated?”

Attorney Kenneth M. Phillips, owner and author of, Beverly Hills, California, warns owners about potential legal issues, including:

Dog owners not cleaning up after their dogs (resulting in possible fines, disease transmission, and municipal decisions to close parks).

Inappropriate dogs at parks, resulting in dog fights and bites/injuries.

Ambiguous waiver of rights/assumption of risk; if a sign says “Use park at your own risk,” what does that mean?

Inappropriate park locations, such as near playgrounds.

Canine professionals who bring as many as 6-10 dogs to a park at once.(Source:


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