Taking your canine companions to the dog park has plenty of benefits. The physical benefits of visiting such places and exercising will definitely keep their weight down and muscle tone up. While socializing with other dogs is considerably beneficial to their mental health, it can become a disaster if precautions are not taken beforehand.
So, how can you make your trip enjoyable for both you and your pet? Here are a few things to help you along:
Before Going to the Park
- Avoid taking puppies to the dog park right away. Yes, it is tempting to do so, but not recommended because they need to learn how to properly socialize with other canines in a more controlled environment. Aside from that, they are hyper, which can become a problem as older dogs may look at them as a nuance. Lastly, they are not fully vaccinated thus have a high chance of contacting a disease.
- Take into consideration if your dog knows how to behave even when they’re off-leash. Most dog parks require pets to have their leash taken off to minimize injuries, interfere with their natural body language, and avoid getting tangled up with each other. Proper training to ensure that they will follow your command despite having the leash taken off is necessary beforehand.
- Know the rules of your local dog park, and find out if there are fees that need to get paid. Every place has regulations that must be followed, and they vary from one another. Some might not allow you to bring treats or toys while some permit it.
While at the Park
- Take time to pause and survey the situation in the park before fully entering. Keep your dog within their leash on while entering so they can get used to the environment. If there is a scuffle or too many canines in the park, it is best not to barge in.
- Keep your full attention on your pet once the leash is removed. Always make sure to know where your furry companion is and what they are up to. Keep an eye out for any sign of trouble; if there is a brawl brewing nearby or how your dog is behaving around others. Play fights are different from real ones.
- Clean up after your canine– and yourself as well. Dog parks, just like regular ones, are public places thus you must pick up after both you and your pet. Pick up any pet waste immediately and dispose them in the designated trash cans. Do not leave food wrappers, plastic bottles, or any type of litter lying around the vicinity.
- Be knowledgeable about how to break off fights. Even with the best efforts to avoid such problems, there is still the off-chance for it to happen. Once a fight starts, do not step in with your hands or body; try to use a long stick to push them apart. If the fighting continues, you and the other owner need to intervene by approaching them from behind and lifting them by their back legs.
- Your canine’s safety comes first. If you notice that they are scared, feel threatened, being a disturbance, acting differently, a brawl is starting, or got involved in a fight, the best course of action is to remove them from the dog park. It is not only a polite thing to do for other patrons but also a way to protect your furry friend.
After Visiting the Park
- Give your dog a treat after a fun and successful day in the park. Praise them for their good behavior and provide them with comfort through head pats or neck scratching. Hydrate them, but be mindful about how much water you give them so they won’t overdrink.
- Do not make going to the dog park their only form of exercise. Find other opportunities for them to be outside without the high-energy environment. Take them out for a walk or play with them in an area that is not near the dog park.
Going to a dog park with your favorite furball is a fun way to bond with them. Each trip will not always be a success, but all you need is practice. Take your time in getting used to the environment and let your pet enjoy park visits as much as they can.