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Aggressive Dogs

by Sam Mazzotta

Dear Paw’s Corner: I’ve had to change the time of day that I visit the local dog park, because a new neighbor brings his two huge, aggressive dogs each morning at the same time as I do. They charge other humans, chase and snarl at other dogs, and make it impossible for other dogs to socialize calmly. The neighbor does nothing to control them and tells other owners that it’s their fault that his dogs are acting aggressive. To prevent injury to my dog (or myself), I now wait until after work to go. This is inconvenient for everyone in the neighborhood. How do I address this problem?
—Dog Mom in New York

Dear Dog Mom: You’re doing the right thing by changing the time that you bring your dog to the park. It’s important to remove a dog from a situation you perceive as potentially dangerous or traumatic for them, and protecting them from harm.

That’s only the first step, however. The new dogs are terrorizing other dogs within the park, making life miserable for them and their owners. It’s not fair, nor is it right.
Dog parks within a city or town typically have rules of conduct posted at each entrance, but sometimes they’re vague. It’s up to each owner to properly train and socialize their dogs, and to keep them away from the park if they can’t control rough play, aggression, or reactivity.

Report the problem to the organization in charge of maintaining the dog park. This may be a community group or the municipal parks department. Contacting animal control is another option. Write down the dates and times that incidents have occurred. If there is no active community group for the dog park, consider starting one so that owners can air their grievances and work out problems as a group.

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