Dog parks are a fun place for pups (and their humans) to socialize and get some exercise. Being a dog owner, you need to take some extra precautions to ensure your dog’s safety when visiting an off-leash dog park. A bad interaction or two could potentially injure your dog physically or emotionally, causing a lot of future issues. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure a positive experience for everyone.
Dog parks are great for owners and canines living in an apartment. Getting your dog out to run free will help them burn energy, build social skills and improve their overall quality of life. Here is our guide to dog park etiquette and how you can keep your dog safe.
What to bring
Dog bowl and water
Community bowls can sometimes spread illnesses.
Leash and collar
For when you arrive and leave, or if you need your dog to calm down.
One that you and your dog can play with—and also won’t mind possibly loosing.
Gotta clean up!
Your dog may get dirty and need to be toweled off before getting in the car.
Supervise your dog
The number one thing you can do to make sure your dog remains safe and has a positive dog park experience is by keeping a close watch on them. If you notice your dog being aggressive with another dog, don’t hesitate to intervene.
Do know your dog
Understanding your dog’s body language will be a huge help when your watching them interact with other dogs and humans. Be a champ for your dog by removing them from uncomfortable situations.
Stay in motion
Rather than finding a seat, throw the ball for your dog and get them moving. Dog parks are a great place to bond with your pup, plus dogs that are running around are much less likely to get into a scuffle.
Vaccinate your dog
Keep other dogs safe and be sure that your’s is current on all of their vaccinations before going to a dog park.
Learn basic commands
Your dog should respond to their name, come when they’re called and know other behavior commands.
If your dog is over six months old, make sure they are spayed or neutered. This can minimize aggressive behavior and will (obviously) prevent an unwanted litter coming your way.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure to watch your dog and clean up after them to keep the park sanitary for everyone.
Avoid bringing small children
Not all dogs are good with children, especially the small ones. When kids run and scream, dogs can give chase, think it’s play time and start rough housing.
Refrain from bringing young puppies
Very young dogs (under four months) should not be going to dog parks before they are vaccinated, have had proper puppy and command training.
Keep your small dog out of the large dog area
Many dog parks have separate areas for small and large dogs and it’s suggested you keep it that way to avoid injuries.
Don’t bring food
Whether it’s for you or for your dog, bringing food inside a dog park is a bad idea. Dogs follow their noses and your food will likely be found. If the dogs that find it aren’t into sharing, they could get a little territorial or, at worst, into a fight.
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