Dear Sarah, Sept 16

Hi Sarah,

My dog was attacked by another dog on the off leash beach over the weekend. What can I do to prevent this from happening again?

Trevor P

Hi Trevor,

This is a tricky question to answer. Going to places like the off leash dog beach or the dog park carries with it an element of risk. Just like taking kids to a play ground, there’s always a risk that they will fall off the playground equipment and get hurt. We can minimise the risk by staying close to them (or not taking them at all), but it’s impossible to eliminate the risk altogether.

As dog owners, knowing our dogs and their behavioural tendencies is the first step to keeping them safe. For example, if you know that your dog becomes reactive when other dogs run straight up to them, doesn’t like puppies, has issues with a particular breed or likes to pick fights with other dogs wherever he/she goes, then avoiding those situations where possible is going to keep your dog and other dogs (along with any humans that might end up getting involved) safe.

A really good recall can also save your dog getting themselves into dangerous situations. If your dog is in a situation that you don’t like the look of, being able to call them away immediately can be a Godsend. Teaching your dog to come when they’re called takes time and lots of practice, but it’s most definitely worth it.

If your dog is the kind of dog that doesn’t play well with others, avoiding very populated off leash areas like the dog beach is definitely a good option. Perhaps find somewhere much less populated to allow your dog some off leash time – it will be much less stressful and much more enjoyable for you, and your dog.   

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