HONOLULU (KHON2) — A 10-year-old dog will be wearing a cone for 14 days after being bitten at an Oahu dog park.

His injuries were not life threatening, but he became uneasy around other dogs after the incident.

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Big Island certified dog behavior consultant Dawn Goehring said parks are not always the best option to socialize your pup.

“It’s like if you walked into a bar, you know, you don’t know the type of people that are going to be there.”

Dawn Goehring, certified dog behavior specialist

“You’re going to have some very forward people, some people that are introverts, some that are extroverts, and that’s usually what happens with a dog park, a variety of personalities, your socialization experience might go the wrong way,” Goehring said.

Goehring said fights often break out at the dog park when owners or handlers are distracted on their cell phone or socializing amongst themselves. Folks should look at dog parks like taking a child to the playground, according to Goehring.

“You wouldn’t leave a toddler on a playground with a bunch of strange kids and go sit on your phone,” she said, “or hopefully you wouldn’t! It’s the same thing! You want to be your dog’s advocate at all times.”

A dog owner told KHON2 that knowing how her dogs usually behave — and keeping an eye on them — is key.

“All the time,” Downtown Honolulu resident Sage Nitterour said. “Just cause it’s like, I know my dogs, I know like what they do, how they play with other dogs. I don’t know the other dogs, so as long as I’m keeping an eye on them, then everything should be good.”

“I’ll also be on my phone sometimes, like I’ll have a phone call, but I’m always watching them,” Nitterour said.

Goehring said to look out for certain warning signs as soon as you enter a dog park.

“Is their tail tucked or their ears back,” Goehring said, “are they hypervigilant, looking around, worried what’s around them?”

Goehring advised folks to look into puppy classes that teach socialization skills if they would rather avoid a park, or go during slow hours with a trusted friend.

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“There’s times that I know that it’s not very busy, so I might suggest that my clients meet up, if I have clients that might match their dogs, they meet up at a time,” she said. “Then if other dogs come, then we go, ‘Alright, we’re good. we’re done.'”