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Pros and Cons of Taking Your Dog to the Dog Park

While your dog may be a pro at not pulling and walking by your side, they may still chomp at the bit to go off-leash and run. Enclosed dog parks provide a way for them to do just that, and have the added benefit of strengthening their social skills by letting them interact with other dogs and people. Unfortunately, dog bites and attacks are a risk you need to consider. In addition to jeopardizing your four-legged friend’s safety, they can result in serious personal injuries to you.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Off-Leash Dog Parks

Portland is a dog-friendly place in general. In addition to the many stores, restaurants, and other public places where leashed dogs are permitted to accompany their owners, the Department of Parks and Recreation offers a variety of off-leash dog parks for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Unfortunately, it is not always smooth sailing when you get a mixed groups of dogs in one area and allow them to run free. It is common to hear complaints regarding dogs that dominate others or get picked on, and owners who fail to control their dogs and correct them for bad behavior. The Association of Professional Dog Trainers advises that while off-leash dog parks offer many advantages, there are also some serious disadvantages you need to consider before going:

Dog Park Advantages:

  • Provides socialization for your dog with other animals and people;
  • Allows you to mingle with other dog owners and get advice and tips;
  • Provides physical and mental stimulation for your dog;
  • Allows them to learn new behaviors, such as swimming or playing ‘fetch’ by watching other dogs.

Dog Park Disadvantages:

  • Potential for danger to your dog from more larger or more aggressive breeds;
  • Potential for your dog to pick up parasites or diseases from other animals;
  • Potential for overstimulation, making dogs more impulsive and hard to control;
  • Potential for danger to you and other dog owners due to dog bites and attacks.  

When Dogs Get Aggressive

According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, roughly 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the U.S. Roughly 800,000 of these bites are severe enough to require medical attention, and more than half of these injuries involve children. Allowing dogs to get over excited and run off leash can significantly increase the risks. The following are common reasons why even an otherwise mild mannered dog may attack:

  • When scared by loud noises and strange environments;
  • When threatened or hurt in interactions with other dogs or people;
  • When the dog is excessively tired, thirsty, or hungry;
  • When they are defending their owner or their property.

Our Portland Personal Injury Attorney Is Here to Help

Dog bites and attacks are traumatic events that can result in serious injuries and scarring. If you or someone you care about has suffered these types of injuries, contact the Johnston Law Firm online or call us at (503) 546-3167. We can arrange a consultation with our Portland personal injury attorney, who can advise you on your rights to compensation.


Marc Johnston

Lead Attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C.

Based in downtown Portland, Marc A. Johnston is the owner and managing attorney of the award-winning, internationally-known personal injury law firm, Johnston Law Firm, P.C. Marc's career has been dedicated to representing the injured and individuals who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. His focus on trial law creates the backbone of the Johnston Law Firm — a firm that is ready to go the distance in seeking justice for its clients.