Dog parks can be a great place for your dog to get exercise and play with friends– IF your dog likes friends. And, if all the other dogs there like friends. Otherwise, it can be a tragedy waiting to happen.
Dog park fights almost always end in vet visits. Sometimes they end in hospital visits and even the tragic loss of a dog.
But do you know if your dog is really friendly? Are you sure your puppy is enjoying his time at the dog park as much as you think he he is? Misreading canine body language is easy to do. Luckily, a few free posters can help you translate how your dog feels and avoid problems at the dog park (or anywhere there are other dogs!)
The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), a professional association for the field of animal behavior consulting, has just launched their Dog Park Safety Project.
“Dr. Jessica Hekman approached the IAABC with the idea for a series of dog park posters promoting healthy interactions between dogs,” Marjie Alonso, executive director for the IAABC told iHeartDogs. “The idea was to have, with Lili Chin as the artist, extremely simple renderings of basic best practices and body language awareness. Simple is key so that people can get the message in a single, even subliminal glance.”
The IAABC wanted the posters to have a positive message.
“We wanted no judgement involved, no shaming or scolding,” Alonso added. “We’re simply trying to help animals and their owners have better experiences.”
The four posters, shown below, are available to members in high-definition PDFS, but they are delighted to share the jpegs free of charge to whomever might benefit them. The IAABC has many other posters pertaining to dog behavior on their site as well.
They are also available in Spanish, Norwegian, Japanese, and French.
If you have a dog with behavior issues, IAABC is a great resource to find professionals in your area whose approaches are “effective, ethical and science-based” explains Alonso.
We have run with the concept, and have horse, cat and parrot posters in the pipeline as well as more dog play and behavior ones.
“IAABC consultants are certified through an extremely rigorous application that assesses application of knowledge, as well as the theory. Our members adhere to LIMA guidelines (which can be found [here].”