Helpful Tips for Taking Your Pooch to the Dog Park

Dog parks can be a really fun off-leash zone for your pooch to enjoy running around and letting off steam. But in order for your dog to enjoy the social aspects of playing with other dogs, it’s important to ensure that he knows how to behave around other dogs. It’s also important that you understand the dog park “culture” and thus your responsibilities as a pet parent.

Some dog parks are divided to accommodate bigger dogs separately from the tiny tykes. This is often a good place to initiate your pet by making sure he’s meeting friends his own size as bigger breeds can intimidate some smaller dogs.

To begin, visit the park alone to get a feel of the local interaction. Go at a time when you are most likely going to take your pet because people often visit at the same times every day and this will give you a good opportunity to see typical playtime behaviors.

Your dog must have had some basic training so that he will react to your commands on command. Basic training classes will mean he has had opportunities to meet up with other dogs, too, which will allow you to gauge his reactions when he’s off leash in the park.

It also means that you will be knowledgeable about your dog’s body postures. You should be able to recognize stress, tension, fear and know the difference between play and real threats. This means you will know when to intervene.

It’s important to be able to concentrate totally on your dog at all times. So, strictly speaking, a visit to the dog park isn’t a suitable outing to include babies in strollers and small kids that may divide your attention.

Just like children, dogs need constant supervision to make sure that they are playing nicely and not being a bully, or being bullied, for that matter. If you feel another owner is not taking proper control of their dog, either leave the park or call animal control if it gets out of hand. Never try and resolve serious conflicts while your own dog is present.

If you take toys and treats with you, be sure they are toys that your dog is willing to allow others to play with, too. But when it comes to treats, don’t make it a communal handout. Apart from possibly causing canine friction between dogs, you may find yourself feeding a dog that is allergic to a particular product without the owner’s permission.

While there is always water on tap, it’s a good idea to always have your own water bottle and bowl with you and don’t forget your poop bags.

Scooping after your pooch is one of the key elements of dog park etiquette and will ensure that your pooch is a welcome member of the dog park pack.

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