Dog parks it seem like the perfect place, don’t they? After all, you have a wonderful open space with lots of canine friends. What could be better?
Quite a bit, as we’ve come to realize.
A single situation that starts out innocently can end up in an attack or a fight which could create a lifelong fear in your dog. Some dog owners have had serious injuries occur as a result of an attack.
There are ways to make dog parks a good experience so we’ve put together this blog post of top mistakes to avoid when you visit.
You might think that cleaning up after your dog in a large grassy area is no big deal. But it actually is very important.
It’s no fun to be playing in a park that’s filled with dog poop. Also, those feces can carry disease and parasites that your dog can pick up. Be a hero and bring a roll of clean up bags to use and give to other owners.
Polite introductions are very important. If you encounter a dog who charges up to your friend, that’s considered rude. This is particularly important for dogs who are new to the dog park and possibly nervous about entering.
It’s up to you to make sure that the introductions your dog performs are polite and kind.
Prong Collars and Harnesses
Although it may be tempting to leave a prong collar or even a gentle leader on your dog at the park, it’s a good idea to remove it because dog play tends to be in those areas which could lead to broken teeth, broken jaws or even a fight.
A simple nylon or leather collar is perfectly fine to leave on your dog but, if you use a harness to walk your dog, please remove that harness as well.
This should be common sense but if your dog is in heat or pregnant, do not bring her to the dog park. This will be one of the biggest instances of male pile on you will ever see.
Small dogs vs. Large Dogs
Many dog parks do not have separate areas for large dogs and small dogs. But it’s really important to separate the two of them.
Because large dogs can see small dogs as prey. And a large dog can get the label of “vicious” when playing roughly with a small dog even though she was only behaving normally when stimulated to play.
If you have a large dog and you see a group of small dogs playing, keep your large dog on lead at all times.
Really Reliable Recall
This is a critical skill to have when taking your dog to a dog park. Having a dog that has the skill of recall doesn’t just mean she’ll come to you when called, it means she will be focused on you completely to the exclusion of other dogs.
This is helpful if you need to disengage your dog from a situation that could escalate into an attack or a fight.
Dog parks can be a wonderful experience but it’s important to know some of the do’s and don’ts before you attend.
Photo Credit: istockphoto.com