How To Create A Dog Park For Your Community: Conflict Triggers

In our last post on “How To Create A Dog Park For Your Community”, we left off with the question of “What are the Conflict Triggers?”

In a classroom situation, we sometimes see dogs that are allowed to play together after class is over escalate their energy into some of the common conflict triggers. The owners can step in and call a time out. Often times, the dogs will learn to play nicely together once they have calmed down.

In a dog park environment, as an educated pet parent who recognizes a possible conflict situation you should politely ask the other pet parent to call their dog away because you feel that your dogs will not be able to play well together. This can be very difficult if egos of the pet parents are involved. Forget your ego. It’s not about whether your dog is the instigator or the other dog is. Just admit that they are not playing well together.

Conflict Triggers

  1. Bullying
  2. Mounting
  3. Full speed body-slams
  4. Predatory behavior
  5. Territorial behavior
  6. Charging/Ambushing

Bullies simply play too rough and don’t leave other dogs alone that are giving them the “I don’t want to play with you” body language.

Adolescent and mature dogs that mount other dogs are exhibiting dominant behavior that is embarrassing to the underdog’s pet parent. We have had to intervene ourselves by politely asking a young man to interrupt his dog’s repeated mounting behavior to end the tension between the pet parents.

Some dogs like to claim balls or sticks that other dogs are playing with. Skirmishes can occur when these toys are not shared nicely.

Pet parents do not like to see their dog pinned down and held down by another dog either since this behavior can cause a dog to become fearful.

Play Styles

Different breeds have different play styles. Boxers will stand on their hind legs and box with their front paws. Labrador Retrievers tend to body slam. The herding breeds such as Shetland Sheepdogs and Border Collies like to chase other dogs and bite at their necks, heels, or butts.

Some dogs love to be chased until they become too tired to outrun their chaser.

The key to safe play is to have dogs equally matched in their play behaviors and energy levels. Once a dog is tired, it is best to stop playing and go home.

In this  pet video, you will see educated dogs of various ages and sizes play well together:

Author Susyn Stechhi of DogParks USA ™ clarified these behaviors in her book So You Want to Build A Dog Park? This book served as a valuable resource in the planning of the Frostburg Dog Park.

Most of these behaviors can be seen in an obedience class where a limited amount of off-leash play is allowed at the end of class when the dogs are tired and less likely to behave “over the top” and exhibit conflict triggers. Once pet parents learn to recognize what is happening, they can interrupt the behavior of their own dog, call them back to them, reward them for coming back and then taking a break before letting their dog go back to playing with their new dog friends.

In the next chapter, we will cover the Introduction to Your Pet’s Obedience Class.  Be sure to subscribe to YourPetsView and our Your Pets View YouTube Channel to watch dogs play at the Frostburg Dog Park.

Living in the Moment,


Pet Companion to Animal Lover Amelia

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