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Chicago dog owners have   21  public park options  for letting their dogs run off -leash.  It’s a chance for the animals  to get exercise and socialize.  But what does a dog’s behavior at a dog park say about the dog?

Dog behavior expert Sue Sternberg says for  many people  watching   dogs  interact off-leash ,  anything short of  bloodshed   is  play.

But that is not always the case.

Sternberg has spent years  videotaping  and analyzing  dog interactions.  She says she  learned much of what many dogs are doing is  bullying, mobbing, pinning, body-slamming  each other –  in ways that are not friendly  and are  not  play.

She says dogs need  human  guidance to play  and interact  appropriately.

Sternberg says   multiple dogs together off-leash – can be especially dangerous when big dogs and tiny toy breeds  are  left  to interact   uninterrupted.

Sternberg says she often talks to dog owners who mistakenly think  some dog nipping and growling is just   “the pack”  correcting  each other.

Sternberg says dogs don’t reason the way people do.  They’re not moral creatures  and they can hurt  or kill  another dog  if play is allowed to escalate  uninterrupted.

Sternberg says the worst thing owners can do is ignore what their  dog is doing in off-leash settings.   Sternberg believes  each  dog park visit  either   enhances  or erodes  the   owner / dog  bond.

An out-of-control dog in the dog park – will likely be out of control in other settings.

Solid training can prove crucial – so your dog  always comes when called.

For more information on Sternberg, visit her websites:

Youtube Channel:  “Great Dog Productions”