We’ve all heard of the amazing benefits that dog parks offer to our beloved companions (1). Maybe you’ve also heard about the fact that dog parks may not be the safest of places.
So, in case you want to take your pet to such a place and you’ve been wondering “how can I keep my dog safe at the dog park?”, here are some tips that might help you.
How can I keep my dog safe at the dog park?
Going with your dog to the dog park is very similar to taking your child to a playground. You have to be just as careful and always keep an eye on your dog and the other dogs that may approach it. Knowing a dog’s behaviorism can be a great asset in avoiding conflicts.
Every dog park has its own set of rules to further offer each and every owner and their pets the needed safety to enjoy their time (2). Usually, you shouldn’t take more than 3 dogs to the dog park, it’s just too hard to keep track of all of them, especially since they are off-leash.
Though most dogs in the park are off-leash that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring a leash with you just in case it is needed. Every dog park should have a fenced-in area to keep the dogs safely contained while off-leash.
There are also on-leash areas and you should abide by these rules to keep your dog safe. In addition, dog parks may have special areas for dogs that are bigger or smaller, separating them in order to avoid accidents. Read every single rule of the dog park you are going to beforehand.
These rules are often displayed at the entrance, and if not, then you surely can find them online or by asking someone there. You should also think about how well you know your dog. If the dog is not properly socialized and aggressive towards strangers and other dogs, then it might not be a good idea to take him/her there.
Dogs in heat especially should never be taken to a dog park. They are very unpredictable and often times uncontrollable. If a female dog is in heat, her presence might incite fights and distractions for the other dogs. Always have your leash with you and make sure your dog always has its collar.
You never know when you might need it. Bringing food to a dog park is also undesirable. It can incite dog fights yet again, and also if you bring toys, you should consider the fact that dogs are like toddlers. They have favorite toys, and if other dogs try to compete for that toy, it may result in fights.
The interaction with other dogs is maybe one of the biggest purposes of dog parks, but you have to be cautious because here lays the unexpected risk factor (3). You have to take into consideration that even though you may follow the rules, other pet owners might not be so responsible.
You have to get to know the other dog by talking to its owner and try to get as much information as you can before letting the dogs play amongst themselves. When dogs meet each other they should first be on-leash. Let things go forth smoothly and don’t try to intervene. It should be very clear if the dogs start to get along or not.
Dogs that are under 4 months old are too young to be taken to dog parks, and thus you should wait a while longer before doing so. Reward your pet only after you’ve left the dog park as a reward and also, always keep an eye on the dog while you’re at the dog park. Staying on the phone, or meeting and chatting with friends might be enough of a moment for accidents to happen, so stay sharp!
Did you know?
– Some dog parks have swimming areas for your pets. Generally, your dog should already know how to swim beforehand.
– Small dogs are the most prone to injury, while big dogs may be more aggressive. Both types of dogs require more attention.
– Dog parks are a great way of meeting with new people or enjoy your time with friends. Everything can go well if you are responsible and careful.