Visiting the dog park is an activity enjoyed by many dogs and their owners. Some dogs love running around chasing their favorite toy. Others love meeting their friends and socializing with them. Most of all, dogs love the opportunity to be outdoors.
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Just like a children’s playground, it is also a place where danger lurks if dog owners are not careful. These guidelines will teach you how to safely visit the dog park and have a positive experience.
Visit The Dog Park Before Bringing Your Dog
Inspect the dog parks in your area before bringing your dog. Observing the interactions between the dogs and how they are handled by their owners can help you decide whether to bring your dog there or not.
Observe the body language of the dogs. Socialized dogs will display doggy manners such as the ‘play bow’, indicating that they want to play.
Behavioral signs in the dogs that should tell you to stay away from that park are pulling back ears, snapping, snarling, cornering, charging, and multiple dogs picking on one dog.
If your dog has been recently adopted, visiting a busy park can be too overwhelming. For his/her first time, rather introduce the park to them when it is quiet. Allowing them to sniff the environment first will help them feel more secure when meeting new dogs there.
Exercise Your Dog First
Visiting the Dog Park after your dog has been indoors for some time can lead to negative reactions from other dogs. Your dog’s surge of energy can unintentionally invite other dogs to aggressively chase them. Exercising your dog first will prevent them from getting themselves into this ‘predator prey’ game.
You can do this by playing with or walking them. Ensuring they are getting enough daily exercise for their energy levels is important.
Choose A Small, Less Crowded Dog Park
Monitoring your dog becomes more difficult at a large dog park. Also, going to a dog park at a peak time when there are lots of dogs running around can be a potential social hazard as groups of dogs can form ‘packs,’ and pick on your dog.
If possible, choose a small dog park or try going early in the morning when it is less crowded. Syncing your park routine with the visiting times of other well-behaved dogs is a good idea.
Unleash your dog when visiting the park. Keeping your dog on a leash around other unleashed dogs will interfere with the body language between them. It will send out the wrong signal to other dogs.
Dog Park Guide For Small Dogs
If your dog is small, choose a dog park that has a designated area for small and large dogs. Some dog parks have playing hours dedicated to small dogs.
When arriving at the dog park with your small dog, do not hold them in your arms as an elevated dog will be seen as ‘prey’ to other dogs. If the dog parks in your area do not cater to small dogs, rather don’t visit dog parks.
Train Your Dog To Follow Your Commands
Do not visit the dog park if your dog is not obedient. Your dog listening to you is very important in dangerous situations. A command, such as ‘watch’, should be spoken calmly but firmly and without shouting or getting angry. It may take a lot of training for some dogs to learn to obey commands.
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Watch Your Dog At All Times
Have your eye on your dog at all times while visiting the dog park. If another dog shows any signs of aggression towards your dog, leave immediately. It is not worth risking your dog’s safety.
If your dog gets into a fight with another dog and your commands don’t work, do not break them up. Get assistance from another dog owner. The “wheelbarrow” method is the safest method to break up a dog fight.
This is done by each of you grabbing the dogs’ back feet and lifting them simultaneously. This will get the dogs to release their grasp and separate from each other.
Pick Up Your Dog’s Poop
Be equipped with poop bags when visiting the dog park. If your dog does make a stink, pick it up and throw it away. Keeping the park clean is important for everyone to have a pleasant experience.
Have Pet Insurance
Dog parks are wonderful places for well-socialized dogs to have fun and enjoy. Unfortunately, it can also be a space where bullies release their aggressive energy. It is therefore a good idea to have your dog on pet insurance so that if they are unexpectedly injured in any way, they can get the medical care that they require.
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