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Tips & Tricks for Visiting the Dog Park

One very popular way to let your dog get exercise, as well as socialize with other dogs is by visiting your local dog park.  However, it’s important to follow some tips, as well as be mindful of proper dog park etiquette:

  1. Never leave your dog unattended and always keep watch over your dog, knowing where they are and what they are doing at all times!  This helps ensure their safety as well as gauge what mood they are in, and how comfortable they are with their surroundings.
  2. Phone calls, emails, electronic games or apps should be kept to a minimum, so your focus remains on your dog and you aren’t distracted.
  3. Always clean up after your dog. Dog poop can spread bacteria and disease to other dogs. Also, if you see garbage, debris or anything suspicious that shouldn’t be at a dog park, pick it up, so that none of the dogs visiting can get injured.
  4. Make sure your dog is healthy and fully vaccinated, as well as spayed or neutered. This means, puppies younger than 4 months should not be visiting the dog park, as they are not fully vaccinated, and therefore are not fully protected when interacting with other dogs.  Furthermore, if licensing is required in your town, ensure your dog has a valid license as well.
  5. Keep your dog on-leash until you arrive at the off-leash area of the park.  This is not just respectful to other park users, but also safer for your dog.
  6. Bring water and a bowl to hydrate your dog as needed.  Food, treats, and toys should be left at home as they can encourage dogs to fight for them.
  7. Don’t smoke or eat while at the dog park.  Cigarette butts and food wrappers can be tempting for dogs to investigate, but will ultimately be harmful for them, if ingested.
  8. If there are doors or gates granting access to the dog park, ensure to close them after entering or exiting the park
  9. If children are brought to a dog park, they must be supervised very closely.  It is highly recommended to avoid bringing children to off-leash dog parks.  The chances of an accident are just too high.
  10. Have realistic expectations of your dog.  If your dog is anxious or a bully, the dog park can make these traits worse.  If you find your dog begins to act unruly or playing rough, leash them and leave immediately.
  11. Don’t forget, people visit dog parks too.  While you may be a responsible pet owner, others may not be, so use caution and try to avoid causing arguments between people.
  12. Approach and touch other people’s dogs only after getting permission from the owner first.
  13. Have some general knowledge of dog body language, so you know what’s considered “good” play and what isn’t
  14. Always observe all the rules posted at your local dog park.  Each town has its own set of regulations

 

dogs on bench

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