As it gets warmer and you start to venture out of winter hibernation, it’s the perfect time to get your dog moving again by exploring the parks around you. Dog parks provide dogs with the opportunity to socialize, get plenty of exercises and explore all the smells and surroundings of a continually changing environment. However, dog parks can also be dangerous places for you and your dog if the right precautions are not taken. Here are a few of our best tips for keeping your pet safe during your next visit to the dog park.
Avoid the entrance/exits
When walking into a dog park, a crowd of people tend to be standing around the entrance. Unfortunately, the combination of new dogs arriving with lots of energy and an entry area with tired dogs is a recipe for disaster. Much like when your kid gets grumpy when they are tired after playing all day, adding a super excited dog full of energy and arriving at the park for some fun can often cause things to spiral out of control. The best way to prevent this from happening is to start moving and avoiding camp near this often chaotic area as soon as possible. Once your dog is accustomed to the park, start moving instead of wasting the whole time on the same bench. This can prevent territorial behavior from your dog and others.
Know your dog
It is critical to know your dog and their normal behavior before they arise. Observing how your dog interacts with other dogs and their body language ensures that you can advocate for them and get them out of any unwanted situations. For example, dogs can have many different playing styles. Some are extreme loud players, some are more relaxed. Some have like high-energy playing and wrestling, while some prefer a game of chase instead. If you have carefully monitored the behaviour of your dog, and you know that they are not the fan of louder players who growl and are not particularly keen on larger dogs jumping at them, then you can steer them away from those dogs.
A solid recall is crucial
Sitting firmly in obedience training is step 1 toward ensuring that a dog listens even with all the distractions of a dog park. If something else happens, having the ability to reliably recall your dog on command to get him out of the situation is key to preventing injuries or worse. Don’t wait until you get to the park to test your dog’s abilities. A strong recall starts on a leash in a low-distraction environment like your home or a training studio.
When staying in the dog park, it is important to remember that your dog may be friendly, but not all dogs are. Tip: make sure to keep your dog safe by watching other dogs in the park. Don’t be afraid to advocate for your dog, if things get out of hand, or even to leave the park if something escalates. Keeping these few simple safety protocols can set you and your dog up for a fun and safe trip during your visit to the park!