A visit to the dog park is a great treat for your canine companion. Lots of running around letting off steam and other pups to play with. It may sound like a dream come true, but it can turn into a nightmare if you are not prepared with the right dog park etiquette.
The dog park is not for every dog
Puppies under the age of 16 weeks or who still need to be vaccinated do not belong at the dog park. They are susceptible to parasites and other diseases, may get in the way of the big dogs causing aggression or learn some negative behavior from other dogs.
Dogs who have shown signs of aggression should avoid the dog park. Their behavior could have awful consequences. You’ll have to think of another way to exercise your dog as an alternative to the dog park.
A female dog in heat is not a good candidate for the dog park. Who knows what sort of male attention she may attract? Unneutered male dogs also pose a hazard as they tend to be quite aggressive.
No kids allowed
A dog park is not a safe place for babies, toddlers, and small children. They may be a negative distraction to the dogs (if they run around it could initiate a chase) and could get injured if they get in the way of a spirited game of tag.
Prepare your dog for the dog park
Your dog needs a good set of social skills for a successful visit to the dog park. Let your dog socialize with others in a controlled environment while they’re learning these skills before letting them loose in the dog park.
One of the most important things your dog needs to know before going to the dog park is responding to your voice and your commands. Basic obedience levels are vital. Your dog should know a word that tells him to stop what he’s doing immediately and return to your side.
Follow the rules
The rules are usually posted at the entrance. Acquaint yourself with them. If you and everyone else obeys them, a successful visit to the dog park is just about guaranteed.
Before you enter the park, scan the area and see what’s going on. If you already see that chaos abounds, don’t take your dog in. Take your dog off his leash if it is an off-leash park. Otherwise, he will feel threatened by the other dogs.
Some parks have a designated area for small dogs. The remaining area is for medium and large dogs. Take your dog to the appropriate section of the park. If the park is not divided into sections, keep an eye on your dog to make sure he’s playing with dogs of a similar size as big dogs may intimidate him.
Pick up after your dog. It’s the right thing to do.
Be vigilant and watch your dog at all times for his safety and the safety of other dogs at the park.