There are many things I love about being a pet parent to my dog Blue, but I think the best part is that he keeps me active and motivates me to get outside and go places with him. There is, however, one place I avoid: the dog park.
I’ve mentioned before that Blue is a very sensitive guy, and one of the (many) things that scares him is other dogs. I’ve taken him to the dog park a few times, and he and I were both so stressed that it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
There are a lot of dog owners and pooches out there who love the dog park experience, and it’s important to know the unspoken rules so everyone can enjoy their time without worry. Here are a few tips on proper social behavior for people and pets:
- Dog parks offer a great social opportunity for our dogs and for us, but don’tallow yourself to get distracted in conversation and take your eyes off your dog. If your dog is being unruly or bullying other dogs, it’s time to leave.
- Always pick up after your dog. Most parks are equipped with waste bag stations, but it’s a good idea to bring your own bags just in case.
- Have proper identification on your dog at all times just in case he gets out of the enclosure and makes a run for it.
- Make sure your pet is up to date on his or her vaccines, and carry the paperwork or tags to prove it. If your dog isn’t vaccinated, keep him home for his safety and the safety of the other dogs at the park.
- Each individual dog park may have its own rules, so it’s a good idea to check the park’s website before visiting. If the park doesn’t have a website, try scouting it out first without your dog to find out if there are rules about age (for people and pets), size, behavior or how many dogs are allowed per person.
- Most dog parks allow dogs to be off leash, but be sure to keep the leash on until you are safely inside the gated area.
- Dog parks aren’t a good place for children. Youngsters can be knocked over by dogs, and you never know how dogs will react to children – especially if they are screaming or running. If you do take your children to the park, remember that you alone are responsible for their safety and never leave them unattended.
- Never, ever take a female in heat to the dog park.
- Leave the human food, drinks, toys and treats at home to avoid dog fights.
What are your thoughts on dog parks? Do you and your dog enjoy them?