I hope you all had an enjoyable weekend and had a lot of fun with your dogs!
I went to the dog park this weekend just to watch the interactions and was disheartened by how much 'bullying behavior' was going on without anyone seeming to care. When pointed out, people are quick to respond with 'that's how they work it out' or 'my dog is an alpha'. Really? The so-called 'alpha' dogs I know do not feel the need to exert their power or rank over smaller, weaker dogs. That is the definition of a bully, is it not?
Bullying is a type of aggressive behavior that can manifest in several ways: physical overpowering of another dog, hard contact, body slamming, hip- or shoulder-checking, relentless engagement, chasing, or ganging up on an individual dog. Bullying involves an imbalance of power. One dog or more is usually pushing forward while one dog is constantly backing up, being rolled, or running away with his tail tucked.
If your dog is being bullied or is BEING a bully, stop the interaction immediately and take your dog home. A dog park should be a place of enjoyment for your dog, not a place to be bullied or to practice rude and potentially dangerous behaviors.
Keep your dog safe and know when group interaction may not be good thing for him to be a part of.
Thanks to Sue Sternberg for her vast knowledge and countless hours of observing behavior in dog parks!