Dog parks are wonderful things that can help you give your dog the mental stimulation and exercise that they need. That being said, you should use caution when introducing your dog to a new one.
If you are thinking of taking your pet to a new dog park, here are things that you need to do.
Be Up On Shots
Do not even think about taking your dog to the dog park if they are not up on all of their shots.
Dog parks are breeding grounds for dog diseases and you never know how other people are taking care of their own dogs. This is especially important with new puppies. Make sure that all of their vaccines have been taken at that they have been given time to take affect. Parvo is nothing that you want to have to deal with.
Scout The Location
The dog park will be a nice surprise for your pet, but it should not be a surprise for you. Be sure that you scout the location and see if it is a good choice, every park is different.
Take a look at the quality of fencing, the type of pet owners that visit and whether people are picking up after their pets. A field covered in dog poo does not make for a good time.
Also, see if they have separate areas for different dog sizes. You wouldn’t want a tiny French Bulldog having to mix it up with a Great Dane.
Stay Clear Of Prime Time
If your dog is new to the dog park, do not take them there during peak hours. This is usually right after work or in the afternoon on weekends. Your scouting process should help you identify peak hours.
By introducing your pet to the park during a slow time, you allow them to investigate their surroundings without being pestered by packs of dogs looking to play. Once they are comfortable, you can start visiting during busier times.
Mind The Park Rules
The people who visit a dog park are likely to be regulars, so minf the rules and make friends.
The biggest rule is, of course, to pick up after your pet. Most good parks will have waste stations with bags. Sometimes these stations run out though, so it is a good idea to bring a few pet poop bags of your own.
Also be careful about entry and exit into the park. Make sure that gates are closed and locked behind you. You do not want to be the person that left the gate open.
Pay Attention To Your Dog
The dog park is for your dog, not you. Pay attention to your dog and others around them. Leave the books at home and keep your smart phone in your pocket.
You need to be able to correct them quickly if they do something inappropriate. You will also need to be able to rescue them if another dog becomes a problem.
Limit What You Bring
It is okay to bring a toy or two, but do so cautiously. If your dog is protective, they might not like it when another pet goes after their favorite chewy. Likewise, leave the treat bag at home, you do not want the pack competing for food.
Do make sure that you bring bottled water and a collapsible dog dish. Although most parks have water available, you can not always count on the fountain being in working order.
Don’t Bring Small Children
I am sure that your child loves your dog and the feeling is mutual. Not all dogs get along with kids however and small children do not always respect boundaries.
Bringing small children could set up a conflict with another dog. This is especially true if you have a protective breed like a German Shepherd Dog. Don’t risk it, keep the kiddos at home.