Dogs in Garrett Park

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DogAll dogs must be leashed following Montgomery County Law,

Sec. 5-203. Public nuisance and other violations.

Due to Covid -19, the Dog Park is limited to 10 people at a time.

Stress Signals

“He’s family.” “She’s nicer than most people.” “They understand everything I say.” Compliments meant for your closest friend? Perhaps, if your closest friend is a dog. Our canine companions really do complete our lives. They read us like books. Yet, how well do we read them? Dogs, like people, experience stress. And, it’s a good thing when your dog tells you he’s anxious or uncomfortable, rather than going straight to a bite. Never punish a dog for growling (his clearest signal to us that’s he stressed,) leaving a situation or demonstrating more subtle signs.Some common signals include displacement behaviors—doing normal behaviors out of context—as well as avoidance behaviors. These include:

Yawning when not tired

Lip licking or tongue flicks when food is not present

Sudden scratching when not itchy

Sudden sniffing the ground or other objects

Wet dog shake off when not wet or dirty

Turning head away

Hiding behind a person or object

Barking and retreating

Rolling over in a submissive way

Other body language signs of anxiety:

Tail between legs

Tail between legs and wagging

Tail low and only the end is wagging

Tail straightened for curly tailed-dogs

Ears sideways for erect eared dogs

Ears back and rapid panting

Urination and defecation

Lifted paw

Half moon eye

Since these are things dogs do anyway, owners need to look at the context to determine whether Fido is feeling anxious. Yawning at bedtime, for instance, is normal. If children are hugging your dog, and he yawns or lip licks, your dog is uncomfortable and needs you to intervene.

Please email questions to

Beth Mullen

Karen Pryor Certified Training Partner
Certified Professional Dog Trainer
Certified Behavior Consultant, Canine