At the park, analyze your dog and his playmate’s body language to make sure they’re not showing signs of anxiety. Healthy, relaxed play is fairly easy for dog owners to spot. Look for “loose and bouncy behaviors between the dogs with lots of back-and-forth movements, almost like a game of tag,” Olguin explains. If things get a little too rough, one dog may let out a yelp or give their playmate a signal to give them space, but this is generally nothing to worry about.
Troubling body language often looks the opposite — tense and alert. “Aggressive body language usually involves a stiff body, carrying the bulk of the weight toward the front of the body, ears perked up, tight jaw, possibly a low growl or baring teeth and likely a high wagging tail,” Olguin says. “If the dog is showing these signs of being on alert and not loosening up when other dogs approach, it would be a good idea to leave the park.”
Don’t: come between dogs who are fighting