Dog parks are great places for your pup to run around with other furry friends and get all their energy out. You don’t need to be there long because within 15 minutes, your dog will be all worn out and ready to go. It’s a good option if you don’t have a couple of hours a day to take your pup for a walk. All you have to do is head over, let your dog get all his energy out, and then he can go home and rest.
However, as great as dog parks are, there are some rules you need to follow to ensure each trip is a successful one. You need to know what to do if your pup gets scared or a little too friendly with the other dogs. Just like if you were to head to your local swimming pool, there would be ‘no diving’ signs and other basic rules to follow. The same thing applies to your dog when he goes to his favorite place.
Below are six of the main things you need to obey when you go to the dog park.
Know the park's rules
There are dozens of different dog parks in each neighborhood, and each will have its own rules. Before entering, look for any signs and get familiar with what other owners and their dogs are doing. For example, some parks may not allow you to bring any toys or treats with you.
Ensure your dog has a tagged collar and leash
You don’t have to place the leash on your dog for the entirety of your visit, but they are useful to have on hand. For example, if your pup gets into an altercation with another dog, a leash is valuable in helping remove them quickly from the situation. Similarly, some dogs get a bit overexcited and decide to wander into the unknown and get lost. Making sure your pup has a tagged collar on him will help get him back to you quicker. After all, everyone there will be a dog owner and understand the need to return him.
Always clean up after your dog
No one’s going to want to be in a park where dogs have left their business all over the place. It’s unsanitary and unpleasant for everyone there. So always bring some small poop bags with you and keep an eye out for whenever your pup looks like he’s ready for a potty break. Another good tip is if your dog urinates, bring a water bottle mixed with some soap and throw it over the mess. It makes it a nicer environment for everyone.
Bring your own dog toys
If the park allows toys, then don’t expect all the other owners to supply the entertainment. Your pup may have a favorite tennis ball or frisbee, so ensure you bring it with you. If not, they may go running up and stealing toys from the other dogs, which can lead to some unwelcome interactions.
Keep an eye on your dog
Always be on the lookout and watch your dog’s behavior. Turning away for a moment may lead to your dog running too far afield or possibly inviting an unpleasant encounter with another pup. If your dog is anxious, you may also want to look for behaviors that indicate he feels uncomfortable and wants to leave.
Don't bring your dog if he's unvaccinated
One big rule when visiting dog parks is that your pup needs to be vaccinated. If you have a puppy, it’s advised to only allow him to visit when he’s at least four months old or fully vaccinated. If you aren’t sure whether your dog is vaccinated or not, you can always ask your vet.
You now know the basic rules of dog parks - so go do as you please! A few extra things to keep in mind is that if you know your dog is aggressive, a dog park may not be the best place for him. Or at least if you decide to bring him, keep him on a leash. Another big no-no is to bring a dog while she’s in heat. It can make keeping her away from other dogs a lot harder, so you may just want to wait it out.
Other than that, you and your pup are both going to have a fantastic time at the park. Not only will it strengthen your bond, but it will lead to many fun memories.