Appropriate play in dogs can sometimes be hard to recognize. Sometimes it can look very rough and aggressive and sometimes it appears that a fight breaks out out of nowhere. Particularly in dog parks, etiquette is important for all present.
I am not a trainer so I quote from an article some of the things to watch out for:
Watch out that the roles get passed on. The chaser gets chased, the one that bites the other's neck gets bitten back. Everyone gets the upper hand at times.
If it gets too rough, step in. Don't let it escalate.
And what this means is quite simple. A dog that struts around stiff with tail and ears erect does not have Jell-O bones….
Dogs that are over-anxious to get moving in the dog park are more likely to get into or start trouble.
Dogs who play well also take a time out. If they seem to be escalating, they probably are - interrupt the play and give them a time out to calm down.
I add this as I have often observed that a dog park seems to become the competition ground to who will get to the ball first, and who can run the fastest. This can not only trigger aggression in ball-focused dogs, it can also lead to injuries as dogs collide, turn quickly on their heals and easily injure their ligaments.
I invite the dog owners to join the conversation - what do you like (or dislike) in the dog park and how do you give your dog the exercise he or she needs?