Dog parks seem to be a somewhat controversial subject for a lot of dog owners. Some people think dog parks are best things since sliced bread, while others thing they are dangerous and traumatizing places for dogs.
Your local dog park is a great place for you and your dog to get exercise and have fun, provided that it’s well maintained and well monitored.
However, be warned that not all dogs that go to the dog park are social creatures. You should always be on the lookout for a possible rebel!
Dog parks often have a sense of community amongst them. A group of “regulars” usually monitor dog park behavior and make sure that problems are kept to a minimum.
You may also have heard of membership dog parks. These are dog parks where people are required to pay a membership fee to use the park … the funds go towards the up-keep of the park. Membership parks have certain advantages such as: they usually offer more supervision, and screening before dogs are granted dog park privileges.
Your dog should be:
• Friendly and out-going
• Confident and social
• Responsive to basic commands
If you’re considering taking your dog to the dog park for the first time, it may be a good idea to go by yourself first. Check out the park “culture” and see if you think it will be a good fit for your pup.
If you decide that you think it might work, go during non-peak hours the first few times.
Here are a few basic rules to follow:
• Always obey posted dog park rules.
• Don’t bring young children.
• No treats, toys, or food (this may cause conflict between other dogs.)
• No puppies under 4 months of age.
• Always supervise your dog’s behavior and be ready to intervene if necessary.
• Always, always clean up after your dog.
• Don’t take your dog into the dog park on a leash (mixing dogs on and off the leash sometimes causes aggression).