Good info from our dog trainer on pack interactions and dog parks:
So I'm sure this won't be one of my more popular posts but you all know by now that I always have the very best interests of our dogs at heart and I hate dog parks or anywhere where every random person and their dog walk off leash. Not sure if any of you saw that there was a dog on dog attack, and a dog died as a result, at a park in Framingham.
Just because your dog CAN be off leash, doesn't mean it should be.... Very few dogs are safe off leash, and those that are have typically had extensive training. Unless your dog is within total voice control and has beyond reliable recall he or she does not belong off leash. (And before you ask - do I run my dogs off leash - I use to all the time until we started running into too many unsafe dogs off leash and yes my dogs have beyond reliable recall and frankly have no interest in other dogs or people when running.)
You may have the sweetest dog and may think he is capable of never doing wrong, nevermind ever attacking and biting another human or dog. I'm telling you right now - you have a false sense of security. A dog, when around other dogs in a pack environment, are different than the dog laying on your couch at home. Also, if you think your dog is safe from harm at a dog park, you're completely wrong. The majority of people don't know dog behavior well enough to be able to know when things are going to go bad. I don't care how many dogs you've owned, how many dogs you've been exposed to, unless you have experience as a professional in the dog field, and are well versed in pack mentality and behaviors, you have no idea what you're looking at. There are typically always red flags prior to an attack, not always but typically. Did you know when a dog fight occurs in a pack environment that's its typical for the entire pack to react and potentially join in? So now instead of having just two dogs fighting, all dogs need to be managed and secured.
Am I providing this view of off leash behavior to scare you? YES! I want you and your dog to be safe and never have to deal with an attack. The only situation where your dog should be off leash with other dogs is in a professional environment, or with dogs that are well known to you, in a small group in a safe environment, and always with supervision - eyes always on the dogs!