A lot of dog owners will attest that their dog's favorite thing to do is to spend an hour or two in the sunshine at the dog park. While a trip to the dog park can be great because your dog gets exercise and they get to socialize with other dogs, it can be a problem if your dog isn't on their best behavior. Here are some tips on how to have a trouble-free visit to the local dog park.
Before Leaving the House
For starters, you want to make sure your dog is in overall good health and up-to-date on their vaccinations. If your dog has successfully completed some kind of obedience training, that always helps too. Before you head out the door, make sure that:
- Your dog has their rabies tag, proper ID, and a city license on their collar,
- You pack waste bags for your dog,
- You bring water and a bowl, such as a collapsible bowl or a water bottle with a special spout made for dogs, and
- You don't forget your dog's leash.
When you arrive at the park, take notice of how many dogs are there and how they are acting. Slowly enter the park with your dog and let him or her settle down before you let them run off. If you notice that one of the other dogs are aggressive towards your dog, or if your dog is behaving aggressive for any reason or acting fearful, consider leaving right away.
If you notice that several dogs are running around together in a group or they're chasing your dog, you want to step in and break it up. If two or more dogs get into a serious fight, it's time to take ahold of your dog and play in another area, or pack up and leave the park.
If one dog in particular is being aggressive, you can ask the aggressive dog's owner to handle the situation. Of course, if it's your dog that's causing trouble, it's time to put on their leash and leave the park at once. You're ultimately responsible for your dog's behavior, and the best way to avoid any issues is to watch your dog closely and leave right away if you notice they're behaving aggressively.
If your dog is properly socialized, they should be able to visit the dog park and have a great time, and everybody will be happy. If you have further questions about socializing a dog, an experienced veterinarian can give you the advice you need!