Taking your dog to the dog park is very beneficial for your dog as it provides an opportunity to play and meet new dogs and people. It can be a fun time for you both, but make sure you are prepared! Below we will look at some important tips when heading to the dog park for the first time.
1. Length Of Time
Even though it may not seem like it, dogs can get tired too just like people! The longer you stay the more tired your dog will get which can lead to them becoming more sensitive or irritable. Therefore make sure you read your dog's body language and when they have had enough play, it is time to head home for a nap. We also have to be conscious of the weather to make sure that they don't get too cold or overheat and get dehydrated. If there is no water source at the park be sure to bring a bowl and some water for your pup.
2. Paid Entrance
Some dog parks require paid entry or a pass, and these will be better than free dog parks. If the dog park requires a pass, usually that means you have to submit vaccination or stool records to the city meaning the dogs there are more likely to be free of illnesses. These parks also tend to be cleaner and safer.
3. Obedience Commands
Before going to the dog park with your dog, make sure that they have good obedience and know some useful commands. This ensures that your dog is more engaged with you and won’t be as easily distracted by his surroundings. This is very important so that the trip to the park can be safe and fun for you and your dog. Recall or coming when called is the most important command at a dog park. Make sure you have practiced this extensively and have a reliable recall before going. You can bring food or treats to the park too to reward him everytime he comes to you. Call your dog to you when they are less distracted at the park and give him a treat, then let him go right back to playing. Avoid only calling him to you when it’s time to go as this will quickly extinguish the positive associations he has with the command. You can train this yourself or reach out to a professional trainer to make sure your dog has these skills nailed down.
4. Time Of Day
When you go to the park, be aware of the time of day you are going. Evenings will tend to be busier which can sometimes be stressful. If you prefer less dogs and people try to go in the afternoon or morning. Weekends will also be busier so if you go during these times make sure you keep an eye on your dog while you are there.
You can bring toys with you to the dog park and if you do, we recommend bringing multiple toys in case you lose one or another dog takes it. Toys are not always a good idea however as it can lead to dog fights if multiple dogs want the same toy so keep this in mind.
6. Be Aware
Anytime you are inside a dog park, it is extremely important to not get too distracted by other people or dogs. You should always keep an eye on your dog to ensure they are socializing and playing properly. Sometimes you may need to intervene in certain scenarios if your dog is playing too rough or bothering other people. At the end of the day you are responsible for your dog.
7. Body Language
If you see any dogs there that display negative behavior, avoid those dogs or leave the park. Look out for behaviors such as aggressive growling, showing teeth, shaking, and stiffness.