What's the Scoop?
Dog Parks: they are popping up everywhere, and some even have treats for the humans as well. (We’re just as excited for Mutts and Mugs as you are!) These outdoor puppy wonderlands can be a great place for dogs to get their willies out, as well as a social outlet for both the pups and their humans! However, there are some things to keep in mind before running off to the nearest park with your dog.
Your Dog’s Personality
Just like some people do not do well in large social gatherings, some dogs may feel the same way. While it may seem like a great outlet to get your dog some exercise with new furry friends, many dogs do not actually enjoy meeting dogs they do not know. And isn’t the whole idea that your dog will have a good time? If your dog can be temperamental with others, or is reactive or fearful towards new dogs – a dog park may not be the right fit. Who wants their dog being the play yard bully? Or finding their pup cowering in the corner?
So what could you do instead? If your dog has a few ‘fur-iends’ that you are confident that he gets along with, try puppy playdates at home! It’s just like a dog park…but smaller and more comfortable for your pet.
If your dog is generally friendly, outgoing, fairly confident and social when meeting other dogs, then a dog park may be a great fit for you both! Most dog parks also have separate areas based on size - so if your large dog is a better fit for other large dogs, check out the location in advance to make sure there are different spaces available.
Your Dog’s Health
Any dog visiting a dog park should be healthy. That means current on vaccines, parasite free, and without any infections of communicable diseases (like kennel cough or ringworm). Not sure what vaccinations are best for your pet? Visit our Monday/Tuesday low-cost vaccination and wellness clinics to speak with our staff about vaccinations available. Some dog parks may also require pets to be spayed and neutered prior to entry. Intact males may be more prone to instigate altercations, so not only is neutering a good idea to help prevent accidental litters, you will also appreciate some improved behavior benefits as well!
You also want to make sure your dog can handle the rough and tumble nature of dog parks! If your dog has hip dysplasia, arthritis or similar issues, it may be too risky to bring them to a dog park. Instead, try bringing your dog to a dog friendly café or brewery, where they can still socialize with others, but on a much calmer scale!
Just because you are at an off-leash dog park doesn’t mean you are off the hook for supervision! It’s up to you to keep an eye on your dog, for both his and others’ safety. If your dog is not having a good time and acting fearful or avoiding other dogs, OR if your dog is the cause of other dogs not having a good time by being a bully, it would be best to remove your dog from the park. Sometimes changing the time of day that you visit the park might make all the difference! Avoid bringing any high value items with you that your dog may not be willing to share. And always be extra cautious when entering/exiting the park, as the thrill of dogs congregating at the gate may unintentionally cause issues.
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