Dog parks provide a wonderful escape for both pups and their owners. Dogs can roll in the grass, follow new smells, and greet each other to their hearts’ content, while humans can meet fellow dog-lovers and look on as their pups get properly tired out. For a successful trip to your neighborhood dog park, here are a few simple tips to follow.
1. Bringing an unsocialized dog.
Before packing for the park, ask yourself: is my dog ready to make friends? It’s important that your dog is comfortable around other pooches and well socialized, especially if he’s going to be off leash. Once you’re at the park, watch his behavior closely to avoid any bullying or aggressive behavior.
2. Not being the boss.
Both you and your pup should practice some basic obedience cues like “come,” “stay,” and “leave it” before heading to the park. Having these commands locked and loaded will come in handy when you’re in a noisy, exciting environment like a dog park.
3. Putting your dog on the wrong side of the fence.
Most parks have a large dog side and a small dog side, do your best to enter the side your pup is best suited for. Discourage your dog from stealing fellow pups’ toys, and nip any roughhousing in the bud. If your dog is large, make sure he plays gently with smaller dogs; if he’s a little guy, keep an eye on him when he’s around larger pups that could potentially trample him. Beyond being a polite owner, this ensures your dog is setting a good example for his fellow canines.
4. Not protecting your pet.
To prevent the spread of disease, your pooch should be up-to-date on her vaccinations before interacting with other furry friends. Be sure to regularly apply flea medicines and to check your dog for fleas right after going to the dog park. Be sure your dog is spayed or neutered, too, to sidestep any too-friendly encounters.
5. Not cleaning up after your dog.
This one should be a no-brainer, but it bears repeating: after your dog does his business, clean it up and dispose of it in the proper container. The last thing anyone needs is to have pups running circles through piles of dog doo doo.