Will you visit the new fenced dog park?

AnchorageJuly 14, 2013 

Dog park users need to pay close attention to how their dogs are interacting with others.

MIKE LEWIS — adn.com/dogblog

Anchorage's first fenced dog park is one work party away from becoming a reality, so I thought a discussion on dog parks would be appropriate.

What do you think of dog parks in general and the Arctic Benson park in specific? Will you use the new park? Do you have any trepidations?

Some of the most knowledgeable dog people I know want nothing to do with dog parks. When I ask why, they usually say that dog parks are a crap shoot -- you never know who you're going to run into. There are often pushy or aggressive dogs and clueless owners who allow the behavior, and my friends don't want to take the chance of their dogs being injured or placed in a situation where they have to defend themselves against unwanted advances.

I can understand their point of view. But having frequented make-shift fenced dog parks for the past 6-7 years with dogs of different sizes and temperaments, I personally think the benefits can outweigh the risks. The most important way to make this happen, though, is to have educated dog owners who understand what's really going on when dogs interact. 

If Arctic Benson is going to be a success, it's going to depend on dog owners raising their game and learning about dog interactions. 

I consider this article by Suzanne Clothier to be required reading  for anyone who takes their dogs out in public. It's long and detailed, but it sheds light on why dogs react the way they do and points out that the dogs many people think are rude and aggressive for snarling and snapping are actually the ones who are best socialized and just reacting to ill-mannered interlopers.

If you're going to visit Arctic Benson, read the article. I'd be interested in your thoughts, pro or con.

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