The dog park can be full of fun, freedom, and playmates for your pooch. Yet, it can also be a place for unwanted issues and accidents if you’re not cautious enough.
Moreover, if you fail to follow the fundamental rules of going to the dog park, you could easily ruin everyone’s chance to have a good time.
Not Every Dog Belongs at the Dog Park
Puppies aged less than 16 weeks, as well as puppies that haven’t been completely vaccinated yet, should not visit a dog park because they can get infected with diseases which they aren’t immune against. Plus, a puppy can easily learn some bad behaviors or get hurt by larger dogs.
Only healthy, vaccinated, and well-behaved canines should be allowed to the dog park. Also, dogs that have already been aggressive towards humans or other pets do not belong at the dog park. Owners of such dogs should consider behavioral training or look for alternative ways to entertain and exercise their pets.
Also, if you have an intact female in heat, you should keep her away from the dog park unless you’re planning on breeding her to some random park dog. And if there are two or more intact dog males in the park, they’ll likely fight over your female pup.
Bringing an intact male to the dog park is not a good idea as well. These dogs are more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors, therefore, owners of intact dogs should be extremely cautious and make sure to provide their pets with proper dog training and socialization.
And of course, there’s always the better option of spraying or neutering your dog.
The Dog Park is Not for Children
A dog park is definitely not a safe place for your baby or small child. Dangerously, dogs can run into a small kid while playing or might get a bit too curious about a baby.
Keep in mind that you don’t know how the other pups in the park might behave or react. For instance, a running kid may trigger a dog’s prey drive, causing an unwanted accident.
Another scary reason why you should keep your kids away from strange dogs, as well as dog poop, is some parasites which can cause more harm to children than pups.
So, your best option is having another adult take the children to the playground while your dog enjoys a good time in the off-leash area.
How to Tell if Your Pooch is Ready for the Dog Park
You need to make sure your dog is well-socialized before visiting the dog park, which is, by the way, not the place for learning how to socialize. Proper socialization should take place in a limited environment so the owner can keep things under control.
Actually, before entering the dog park, every dog must already have a good socialization base in order to behave well around other dogs. So, make sure you can perfectly control your dog verbally before you decide to take him/her to the dog park.
Not only socialization, but your dog should also have proper training and obedience foundation.
How to Behave at the Dog Park
Before stepping into a dog park, make sure to read and follow the rules posted outside the gate for everyone’s benefit. If the park is crowded or if you notice any type of aggressive behavior, you should avoid bringing your pooch in.
In case the park is off-leash, take off your dog’s leash before you enter so your pooch won’t feel weak around loose dogs, which might lead him/her to lash out. If the park’s gate is occupied by many dogs as you’re entering, wait until they walk away before you allow your dog in.
If you have a small dog breed, avoid the area for larger dogs, and vice versa. Just remain extra cautious when it comes to the size of your dog’s playmates.
Always, always, always, pick up after your pup! Nobody ever wants to step in poop or have their pet eating and/or rolling in other dogs’ poop. Carry special bags to pick up your pup’s poop and make sure to get rid of it properly.
Do not bring dog toys to the park, particularly if your furry friend doesn’t like sharing. In this case, you should also keep your pooch away from other dogs’ toys.
Most importantly, keep an eye on your dog at all times and avoid any human or electronic distractions! Also, call your dog away as soon as things start going out of control or if boredom or fatigue starts to kick in.
Remember, if your dog injures another dog, it’s your responsibility! But to avoid any accidents or issues and enjoy a great time at the dog park, simply follow the afro-mentioned guidelines.