A dog park is a place where pet owners and their dogs can freely interact with other individuals and their respective dogs. This is primarily a venue where dog socialization is inherently encouraged. However, it is a must that dog owners have absolute control over their dogs and that their dogs view them as their pack leader. This is necessary in order to ensure that the dog park remains safe for everyone.
Unfortunately, there are simply some dog owners who could not care less about certain rules in the dog park. They look at their dogs as humans that know how to behave themselves without any human intervention. Such mindset can be especially traumatic to other dog park occupants.
Before you take your pooch to the dog park, make sure you understand these rules.
Be in Charge
It is imperative that your dog recognizes you as his pack leader. As such, even before you go to the dog park, you should have already trained him considerably in coming to you once called. This is fundamental of any off-leash training.
Pause before Entering the Dog Park
Most dog parks are constructed with double entrances complete with two gates. You simply do not barge through both gates in an instant. With your dog on his leash, enter the first gate and wait a few moments to let him familiarize with the dog park field. Additionally, this gives you ample time to make accurate assessments if it is safe for you and your dog to enter the second gate. Oftentimes, dogs that are already in the field will be swarming at the entrance seemingly anxious at your presence. You may need to let them get accustomed to you and your dog’s presence first before you finally step into the dog park.
Pay Close Attention
Your attention should be on your dog and the other dogs in the park. Make sure to be on alert for signals that trouble might already be brewing. Be especially mindful of your dog’s behavior inside the park so as not to inconvenience other dogs and their respective owners.
Read Dog Signals
Part of paying close attention to both your dog and other dogs is reading unique dog behavior. Know the different dog language expressing happiness and playfulness compared to signs of hostility and aggression. When you see any red flags such as snarling with the dog’s lips curled back or even a tense and aggressive look, it is best to distract the dog’s attention and redirect it to dog behaviors that are essentially non-threatening.
What is your dog trying to tell you? Dogs have a language that allows them to communicate their emotional state and their intentions to others around them. Although dogs do use sounds and signals, much of the information that they send is through their body language, specifically their facial expressions and body postures.
Understand your dog’s behavior
Understanding what your dog is saying can give you a lot of useful information, such as when your dog is spooked and nervous about what is going on, or when your dog is edgy and might be ready to snap at someone. You do have to look at the dog’s face and his whole body.
To help you, I have created a sort of visual version of a Berlitz phrase book to allow you to interpret the eight most important messages your dog is sending to you
Know When Not to Go to the Park
As a courtesy to other dog owners and their dogs in the park, you should never bring your dog if he is not yet fully vaccinated, does not have adequate tick and flea protection, is not yet neutered or spayed, or is in heat. Additionally, if your dog simply does not know how to interact with other dogs, it is best to stay away from the dog park.Dog owners fail to realize that as much fun as the dog park may be for you and your dog it is also a breeding ground for fleas and odors, please ensure that you bathe your dog and check them for fleas when returning from the park.Go online to find some more information on how to get rid of dog smell and check them for fleas and ticks as well.
The dog park is where dogs can socialize with fellow dogs. It is the job of every dog owner to make sure that the park is safe for him, his dog, and others so that everyone will have a truly wonderful time.