Thinking about taking your pooch to the dog park but unsure if your dog is ready? While many dog owners jump right into dog parks, others have hesitations. What about aggressive dogs? Is my pup going to get into a fight? These concerns are normal. It is always a good idea to consider your own pup’s disposition when deciding if you should venture into a dog park.
We have 5 tips for your first dog park visit and advice on how to know if your dog is ready.
1. Know your dog’s health
Before taking your dog out to interact with others, make sure they are healthy! Especially if you have a new puppy, you should be up to date on all vaccinations and medications before introducing other dogs into the mix. If your pup is sick, avoid the dog park.
2. Behavior watch: How does your dog do with other dogs?
You know your dog better than anyone so take note of their behavior when they meet other dogs. If your dog has shown anxiety or aggression in the past with other dogs, or hasn’t really been around other animals, introducing them to a dog park might not be wise. If your dog is new to social situations, introduce them slowly. Try a play date with a friend’s dog to see how your pup does before mixing in strangers’ dogs.
3.Don’t bring an over excited dog to the park
If your dog is a bundle of energy, take your pup for walk before going to the park. Expelling some of that extra energy before mixing in other dogs is a good way to avoid conflict. When you bring an over excited dog into the park, they might overstep boundaries with more passive or aggressive dogs.
4. Put your phone away
If you’ve been to a dog park before, you have probably seen the owners who stand or sit around glued to their phone not watching their dog. Always keep an eye on your dog – you want to be responsible for your dog’s behavior (good or bad).
5. Leave toys and treats at home
Two things that can cause dog fights: food and toys. Many dogs become protective over treats/food and toys – if you bring in your own items, you might cause your dog to become over protective and other dogs to do the same. Dog parks often have public tennis balls and toys so if your dog has issues sharing toys, keep them occupied and out of fights.
There you have it! These 5 tips for first time dog park visitors will come in handy when you take your pup to visit the dog park for the first time. The safest and best strategy is to keep an eye on your dog and to understand their behavior. Take cues from their behavior, slowly introduce them to other dogs, and watch their energy levels.
The dog park should be a fun place for you and your pets! Don’t rush into it if your dog is skittish around other animals, or doesn’t know basic commands. The last thing you want is to take your dog for a very stressful hour of running around.
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