What do you need to know before you go to the dog park? The legislation in many countries obliges dog owners to always keep their pets on a leash. Dog parks are the only places where dogs can play without being tied up and these parks are the ideal places for dog’s social life. The original purpose of specialized parks for dogs is to provide space for the pets of people who live in apartments, in big cities or people who do not have a garden. In addition, these specialized parks provide an opportunity for dogs to socialize with other dogs. What is a dog park and what do you need to know about the rules, safety and etiquette? What are the dos and don’ts that every pet owner should keep in mind? We shall give you the answers to these questions and a lot of useful information!
Dog parks are usually fenced enclosures where dogs can run freely. Except for some specific cities, all dogs must be on a leash in public places. There are several types of parks, but most are flat plots with lawn, sand, stones, trees and some may have play equipment inside. The best parks for dogs have different types of soils, areas differentiated in size or age, and areas of water, trees and sand. Some parks have leashed and off-leash areas and if you are in the leashed area your dog must be kept on a leash at all times. The off-leash area is the place where you can release your dog to run and play. Larger dog parks have separate areas according to size. If you have a small puppy, it is a good idea to look for a place with separate sections for large and small-sized dogs.
Most dog parks have posters near the entrance that inform about the rules of use but even if there is not a poster pet owners need to follow certain rules. Dog owners need to remember that these are public areas and they need to make sure their pet behaves respectfully towards other dogs and towards people. In addition they have to be prepared that if they bring their own toys other dogs may snatch them. Of course, the rule for picking up after your dog, even if not written on a poster, is a must! Another important rule is not to bring food into the dog park. Different dogs may have different dietary needs and giving treats to pets may not be a good idea. In case you brought food, it should be canine kind only and you should ask the owners of other dogs if it is ok to give it to their pets.
Before you go to the dog park – important tips for pet’s and human manners
Before you go to the dog park you need to find the right place where your pet can run and play unleashed. Dogs need a lot of space to run so make sure the park is suitable. Make sure that the gates and fence are in perfect order, check for clean-up stations, water and shade availability and, of course, check the rules. Keep in mind that some parks may require an off-leash permit tag so your dog would need wearing it.
Before you go to the dog park you have to be certain that your dog is responsive to basic cues like “Sit” and “leave it/off”. Good manners, both of dog and human, are a must. Your pet should not jump on kids and other people in the area, neither body-slam. It may be a game to jump into the lap of people sitting in the park, but it is not always ok, so make sure your dog is well behaved. It will be a good idea to practice commands like “come” and “stay” before you go to the dog park for the first time.
Make sure your pet has all the required vaccines. All dogs visiting a dog park must be up to date on vaccinations. Do not take your dog to the park if it is sick. The safety and health of all animals in the neighborhood depend on your responsibility, so if your dog is not in good health, do not enter the park.
When you enter the dog park remove prong collar, choke chains or any type of collar that contains metal links because dogs can easily get their teeth stuck in them while playing with other dogs. However, always keep a flat color in case you need to grab it for maintaining control or remove your dog from an unpleasant or aggressive one.
Respect the rest time of the neighbors. Many parks are close to buildings or houses, and noise or barking can irritate neighbors.
You must be aware of your dog’s behavior as you do not want another dog to harass yours and vice versa. The park area is fenced but you have to pay attention to what your dog does. If your dog abuses another, leave the park. If your dog is too loud or aggressive, it’s time to leave the park.
Do not allow the dog to make holes or ruin the park. Some breeds or stressed dogs dig holes in the ground and other people could trip over the hole and get hurt.
Dogs in heat should be left home.
Do not let little kids in the dog park. Kids and dogs enjoy playing with each other yet in a dog park there may be aggressive dogs and it is unwise to expose infants and toddlers at risk.