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Ridgeback almost being social in off lead dog park

ridgeback dog

ridgeback dog I feel kind of funny writing this, because I know the person who walks this dog for her daughter, but it doesn’t excuse the dog’s behaviour. And this is not about the ridgeback breed, I have met many social ridges.

Its a familiar story. Someone gets a dog for someone, and it is never walk (or circumstances change), and the dog gets anti social.

Eventually someone takes the dog for walks, but the dog is too big to be handled on lead by them, so they let the dog off in the expectation that the dog will just become nicer.

The tricky part about this dogblog is that I advocate off lead dog walking, as a way to socialisation. And there is a strong camp out there who believe in not walking dogs off lead at all, or that you can bring any level of anti social dog to a park as long as they are on lead (no need to muzzle).

The dog in this photo is somewhere between all of this socialisation talk. The issue I have with pups at this level (and I have walked some similar myself) is that they should have a bite muzzle on them, if they can’t be fully trusted to be social with other dogs.

The on-lead brigade will give a ridiculous argument that no other dog should approach their dog unless they give approval and that all other owners should have 100% recall of their dogs.

They are missing the whole point of dog parks being off lead is for dogs to make up their own mind about how they want to play. Any dog should be able to interact with any dog as long as that dog is NOT AGGRESSIVE.  An anti social dog, or one that you are warned away from approaching, particularly if it is off lead or without muzzle, is a potential danger in the park.

I can see how there can be two sides of the argument, but I am after dogs playing safely, having fun and exercise off lead in parks, so they get balanced and the dog and owner are happy. No I don’t believe in every owner having the same rights, as in they can bring any level of socialised dog to the park (just because it is a public space) and everyone else should be aware or afraid.

People don’t go to off lead parks precisely for the aggressive almost social dog issues, and then their dogs don’t get to be social and the problem is passed on.

How does a dog such as this ridgeback get to be social then? They get to be walked on lead or off lead WITH a bite muzzle, until they are 100% trusted to be social. That means a puppy should be allowed to jump on them, they can tell the puppy off, but they cant bite the dog. If an owner cant walk a big dog on lead with another dog, then they need to walk the dogs separately.  Its a gradual process.  Some dogs are so anti social and walked so infrequently that they will never be fully trusted off lead, and while that is a shame, it should not make every other owner of dogs in the park scared of that dog.

A ps here is that the ridgeback wasn’t bad with my dogs, but the owner said I had to be careful of the puppy wanting to play with the ridgeback dog, because he might snap. That is aggression that can end up at a vets or in court. That is why just warning another person that your dog is aggressive (particularly without bite muzzle or on lead) is not a substitute to doing the hard yards of slowly getting that dog more social, the safe way for everyone.

I love that this dog is being rehabilitated, but not at the expense of my pack or other dogs that it might ‘not like’.

Article by Bruce Dwyer. If you wish to use any of this information please refer to the article as a reference and provide a link to

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