What Happens at the Dog Park Stays at the Dog Park
Some people take their pooch to a dog park and leave them to play while the owner sits in the car or runs an errand. Not smart! You’re responsible for your dog’s behavior while they’re at a dog park. Plus, your dog could escape from the park or get into a fight with another dog
Dog parks are great playgrounds, and they’re designed specifically for dogs and their humans to get exercise and have fun. They give dogs the chance to get outside, run, play, and socialize with other dogs in a way they can’t do in a city.
Why should you take your pup to a dog park? With rates of dog obesity rising, a dog park keeps your fur baby active. Nothing beats chasing after a tennis ball or another dog at full speed. Dogs love to run and when they get the chance to run around in an open space, they are happier and healthier.
Dog parks are a chance for your dog to socialize with other pups. Plus, you can interact with other dog owners. Everyone wins! Don’t be surprised if you make a few human and dog friends at your local dog park.
But the most important thing to do when you’re at a dog park is to keep your pup safe. Let’s look at some ways to keep your pooch happy and safe at a dog park.
Choose a Fenced-In Dog Park
Many dog parks are fenced in, so you can let your dog run freely without them running away or running into a road. Non-fenced dog parks are riskier. If your dog doesn’t respond well to you and there’s no fence to keep them inside, the consequences could be tragic. Search for fenced dog parks in your area by going to a site such as BringFido.com. Know your options and which parks are fenced and which aren’t.
Remove Your Dog’s Leash Upon Entering the Park
Make sure your dog is on a leash when moving from the car to the park entranceway. You wouldn’t want your unleashed dog to run off or get hit by a car before they even get into the park. But once you enter the park, remove your dog’s leash immediately. Dogs can be aggressive toward a dog wearing a leash, and a fight could start. Plus, your dog feels less able to fend off other dogs when they’re wearing a leash. Anyway, the whole point is to give your dog some freedom to play.
Make Sure Your Dog Responds to You
Don’t take your dog to a dog park until they’re trained well enough to respond to you. Teach your dog to sit and stay before their first trip to the dog park and make sure they respond when you call their name. As soon as you notice a problem or disruption, remove your dog from the park immediately and away from the volatile situation. Remember that most conflicts occur because of poor training and supervision. Make sure your dog has basic training and is responsive before their first trip to a dog park.
Make Sure Your Dog Is Tagged and Chipped
Make sure your dog is tagged and microchipped before visiting a dog park. Tags are a way to identify your dog should they escape. Imagine the trauma of dealing with your dog running off without a tag and the uncertainty of whether you’ll find them. Research shows between 11 and 16 percent of dogs are lost or go missing at least once in a five-year period.
Also, microchip your dog. Microchipping is a more permanent form of identification. It’s a tiny chip, roughly the size of a grain of rice, inserted under the skin between your dog’s shoulder blades. Animal control or a veterinarian can scan the chip to find out who owns a pet. And because it’s implanted in your pet and not tied to any one collar or tag, it can’t fall off or be removed by someone else. It’s an extra layer of reassurance should your dog escape while entering or leaving the dog park.
Make Sure Your Dog is Fully Vaccinated
If you don’t know your dog’s vaccination status, get them looked at by a vet before you put them in a park. Talk to your vet about canine booster shots that can help protect your dog from diseases it may encounter in the park. If you aren’t sure about vaccination status, it’s best to wait until you’ve visited your veterinarian. Kennel cough and canine influenza are two illnesses your dog can catch at a dog park. Plus, your dog should have proof that it’s up to date with its rabies vaccines. If your dog bites another dog or human and isn’t up to date, your dog may be taken from you for quarantine.
Don’t Leave Your Dog Alone at a Dog Park
Some people take their pooch to a dog park and leave them to play while the owner sits in the car or runs an errand. Not smart! You’re responsible for your dog’s behavior while they’re at a dog park. Plus, your dog could escape from the park or get into a fight with another dog at the park while you’re missing in action. There are risks to your pet and potential liability issues associated with this practice. Plus, your dog feels more comfortable when you’re there.
If your dog is a bit timid, make sure it has water at all times. Dogs can be dehydrated quickly when playing with other dogs (especially if they are young and full of energy). Some dogs have water fountains and bowls for dogs but don’t count on it. Be smart and bring your own.
The Bottom Line
Enjoy the dog park with your dog but do it safely by following these tips.