The dog park can be an excellent place for you to bond with your pet and to allow him/her some off-leash running and playing time in a contained environment. When approached with certain guidelines and parameters in place, it can also be a safe and enriching experience for you both. Read our tips to have a PAWSITIVE experience at the dog park.
Pick up your dog’s poop. This one is kind of a no-brainer when it comes to caring for a pet. Cleaning up after your pet is not only a neighborly thing to do, it also prevents the spread of parasites--and the wrath of angry pet parents.
Act quickly when you notice your pooch has had enough. An overtired dog can become irritable and quick to react negatively. If there is a dog that seems to overly excite or scare your dog, it’s also a good idea to leave before the situation escalates.
Watch your dog. Becoming distracted on your cell phone or talking to other park go-ers can keep you from noticing aggressive or negative behavior in your dog. Never leave your dog unattended at the dog park.
Steer clear of the park with your puppy or unaltered dog. Puppies are not ready for socialization with other dogs until they are 12-16 weeks of age due to their immature immune system. Unaltered dogs, especially females in heat, can cause conflicts with other dogs.
Insist young children stay at home. Most dog parks have age restrictions and require children to be accompanied by an adult at all times. Young children should stay home because they may be inadvertently knocked over by an excited dog.
Take off your dog’s leash while inside the park. If you’ve ever introduced an off-leash dog to a leashed one, you’ll understand this tip! Off-leash dogs can use appropriate body language to let another dog know he is not interested in interacting. A dog who is on his leash can feel trapped.
Initiate your dog into the culture of the dog park slowly and deliberately. Dogs that enter the park hyped up can encourage hyperactive behavior from other dogs which can make aggressive behavior more likely. Encourage your dog to sit and wait calmly before entering the park.
Vaccinate your dog. Your dog’s rabies, distemper, and bordetella vaccines should be current before visiting a dog park. There is no one-size-fits-all protocol when it comes to vaccinating your dog, so talk to your vet about the best vaccinations and schedule for your dog.
Enroll your pup in pet insurance. Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime. With pet insurance, you can put your pet’s health first without worrying over the cost of treatment.
If you take the time and energy required to set your pet up for success, you can have a pawsitively memorable experience at the dog park!