Get The Best Dog Park Experience and Avoid These Common Disasters

Dog Park

It is often said that “A dog park is like a cocktail party, where you don’t know anyone and everyone is drunk. You could have fun, but it could be a disaster.”

 

Why Your Dog May Need a Dog Park

Dogs need a place where they can run free, off their leashes, and do “doggy” things. Many dog owners do not have yards and their dogs would otherwise spend their entire outdoor lives on a leash.

This situation has created a community demand for off-leash, safe and secure Dog Parks designed exclusively for dogs and their owners.

With high demand sometimes Dog Parks will be busy and noisy places so make sure your dog is prepared. To avoid the pitfalls and keep your dog safe, we have brought together all the tips you need.

Dog Park

 

What is a Dog Park?

Every park is not a Dog Park. An exercise park is not necessarily a Dog Park. The best Dog Parks have been designed exclusively for dogs and their owners with due consideration given to the safety and security of all visitors.

However, even the best designed Dog Parks will have issues if just one dog and/or dog owner can’t follow the Dog Park rules, apply some common sense and address unwanted behaviors.

IMPORTANT

The single most important prerequisite for visiting a Dog Park with your dog is that you and your dog have been trained.  Doggy Dan the Online Dog Trainer gives us a snippet here of the work that needs to be done before you can just let your dog run free.

Good dog training will address unwanted dog behaviours like disobedience, frustrated leash aggression, arousal, and problematic play styles. Training will also give you the confidence, eliminating any helplessness you may feel, to enjoy play time with your dog while in control.

 

 

The Best Dog Park Visitors

Most of us are on our best behavior when visiting someone else’s house, so consider the Dog Park as someone else’s house.

You are the visitor and there are general ‘etiquette’ rules all visitors follow. The Dog Park makes it even easier to be a visitor as it will have clearly displayed rules but if these are lacking that’s no excuse for bad behavior.

If you or your dog cannot follow the rules, leave the Dog Park to those who can.

If other dog owners and/or their dogs cannot follow the rules and you or your dog feel intimated or threatened or bullied, leave the Dog Park. Report incidences to the authorities.

It is better to leave the Dog Park than allow your dog to be subjected to bad behavior.

 


Dog Collars

These collars all come in a range of sizes. It’s important to have a collar that fits your dog properly.


Dog Harnesses

Dog harnesses need to fit correctly or they can chafe or apply pressure to the wrong places. The models below all have multiple adjustment points so you can fit them properly to your dog.


Dog Leads

One of these should fit your needs. Remember there’s a dog leash to avoid!


 

Give Your Dog the Best Experience in a Dog Park

The Dog Park is a community park for all dogs and their owners and everyone needs to take responsibility and use some basic common sense when deciding to visit and use this facility. A Dog Park is not a place to leave your dog while you run errands, it’s a place to enjoy with your dog so stay engaged.

If you follow some basic guidelines you and your dog can have a great experience from each visit to the Dog Park.

rule-1752415_640

 

Before Getting to the Dog Park

The Number ONE Rule is that your dog must be trained in recall and to respond to your every command on every occasion. Never take your dog off-leash until this Number ONE Rule has been met. This is for the safety of every human and dog visitor to the Dog Park.

Read more on how to train your dog to come every time.

 

 

Familiarise and follow all the Dog Park rules. These are usually displayed near the entrance and at various positions around the Dog Park. Follow the rules.

You must commit to watching, controlling and supervising your dog for the entirety of the stay at the dog park. It’s wonderful if you meet new people but save your human socialisation time for a dog “play date” outside of the Dog Park on another occasion if it is distracting you from watching your dog.

Make sure your dog has a collar and tag in place and seriously consider micro-chipping as accidents can happen.

A dog whistle, especially a silent dog whistle, can be a good tool to ensure your dog can hear you without adding to the general noise of the park.

Make sure your dog has all vaccinations up to date.

You need to make sure your dog is socialised so that ‘playing’ with other dogs and around other dog owners will not cause fights or potential harm.  Work on this first in a small area or with a couple of other dogs and their owners until your dog is comfortable and ready to meet many new dogs.

Watch how Doggy Dan the Online Dog Trainer introduces his puppy Moses to another dog.

Click through to Doggy Dan the Online Dog Trainer to find out more about socialising your dog, and other dog behaviors.

 

A Word About Food

Do not bring human food to a Dog Park. You won’t have time to be eating as you will be fully engaged with supervising and interacting with your dog. Leaving food scraps or packaging around the park can be unhealthy for dogs and could cause fights. Eat outside of the Dog Park if you have to, disposing of your rubbish appropriately, with your dog on-leash next to you until you are finished eating. Then you may enter the Dog Park.

Be careful with your dog’s food treats. Food treats may cause issues with other dogs in the Dog Park. Rewarding your dog with praise or an extra play is a far better treat. For more information on rewarding and praise for your dog, read our article on DIY Dog Treats.

Dog Park

 

Are You Dog Park Ready?

The Dog Park is a community park for all dogs and their owners. Everyone visiting a Dog Park needs to take responsibility and use some basic common sense in using this facility. A Dog Park is not a place to leave your dog, it’s a place to enjoy with your dog so stay engaged.

Always follow the Dog Park’s rules.

Make sure there is secure perimeter fencing before taking your dog off-leash in the Dog Park.

Make sure you close gates as you enter and exit the Dog Park providing for the safety of all dogs.

Check out the entrance before entering to make sure dogs aren’t congregating there. Don’t allow your dog to enter the park if there is a “gang” right next to the entrance.

Do not ‘hang around’ entry and exit gates with your dog as this could be intimidating or a potential source of conflict for newcomer dogs entering the park if there are a number of people and dogs congregating.. If there is only one entrance and exit gate, or one entrance and one exit gate, the dogs in the park quickly learn where newcomers will enter. They then congregate at the entrance which can result in fights or dogs escaping from the park.

Locate where the water taps are for the dogs and give your dog water during play.

Watch your dog for signs of overheating or tiredness and act immediately. Dogs cannot cool themselves as efficiently as humans, therefore, they must have access to water and shade.

Be prepared with bags to pick up your dog poop and dispose of it appropriately. Cleaning up after your dog – particularly in urban areas – is a demonstration of good citizenship that we should all practice.

 

 

Activity Zones and Equipment

Dog Park

Do not use equipment if you and your dog have not been trained in its use. Dog agility equipment adds another activity option for dogs. Equipment provides the opportunity to develop confidence and competencies in dogs and is good fun! It also allows dogs to practice skills learned at agility and education classes.

Use the different activity zones or spaces as they have been designated. Where there is a space set aside for active running then you and your dog should use it only for this purpose.

You and your dog should use the walking paths and/or trails for walking. It is best that dog owners keep moving through the park, interacting and staying connected with their dog.  This will reduce congestion and the concentration of dogs in one particular location and remove the potential for dogs to form into loose groups.

A good Dog Park will have a natural (or man-made) refuge area where dogs can get away for ‘time out’ or just a rest. Locate it and take your dog to this low activity area if there is potential for your dog to become over-excited or over-stimulated.

 

Common Sense Rules for Dog Park Visitors

The Dog Park is a community park for all dogs and their owners. Everyone visiting a Dog Park needs to take responsibility and use some basic common sense in using this facility.

Do not take a female in heat to the Dog Park (for obvious reasons).

Do not bring an unfixed male dog to the Dog Park. Neutered male dogs generally do not like unfixed male dogs or their smell and their presence could result in danger to all visitors.

 

Unwanted Behavior

Never allow your dog to bully or be bullied. In a good Dog Park, the dog owners are on the look out for this type of behavior and will not allow it to continue. By stopping the behavior, dog owners are teaching the bullies how to behave appropriately in a social situation.

Watch out for dogs forming packs and no-one breaking them up. This can lead to serious unwanted behavior problems if dogs begin to gang up on smaller or weaker dogs. Find another Dog Park if this sort of behavior is not addressed.

Do not bring your dog’s favorite toys to the Dog Park as these may cause tension between dogs. Squabbles over toys can develop into fights.

Pay close attention to your dog’s play style, interrupting play if necessary to calm your dog down.

Do not believe that dogs can “work it out” if you just let them do so.

Don’t congregate and chat with dog owners without making sure they, and you, are watching your dogs.

Do not let your frightened dog remain in the park and hope things get better.

Human toilet breaks. Do not leave your dog unattended in the Dog Park if you require a toilet break.

Finally, some dogs should not go to Dog Parks if they are too shy or too defensive or too rough. You can eliminate unwanted behaviors with good training. Doggy Dan the Online Dog Trainer has helped thousands of dogs and their owners establish great relationships.

 

 

Take Care With Small Dogs

It can be dangerous to take a small dog to a park frequented by large dogs. Larger dogs may not mean to hurt smaller dogs but they can play too rough. Exceptional parks have an enclosed area specifically for small dogs allowing them to socialise. In this situation, good recall training, control, a watchful eye and vigilance should be exercised by the dog owner.

 

Getting There and Back

Transport your dog safely to and from the Dog Park.  Secure your dog in your moving vehicle if you need to drive to the Dog Park.

Keep your dog on-leash until you have entered the fenced Dog Park.

Bring a towel to dry off your dog if he gets wet or muddy after play.

After a visit to the Dog Park make sure you brush your dog as part of a regular grooming routine. To learn more about the importance of dog brushing, read our article on DIY Dog Grooming.

 


Dog Brushes



 

To learn more about your dog’s travel safety, please click through to our recent articles.

Crates for Dogs

Dog Carriers

Dog Crate Training

Why you need a Dog Car Seat

 

 


Dog Car Seats and Accessories

Most of these come in a range of sizes and colors. Click into the Amazon links below for full details and specifications.


Dog Car Seat Belts

Most of these come in a range of sizes and colors. Click into the Amazon links below for full details and specifications.


Dog Car Harnesses

Most of these come in a range of sizes and colors. Click into the Amazon links below for full details and specifications.


Dog Travel Crates

Most of these come in a range of sizes and colors. Click into the Amazon links below for full details and specifications.


Cargo Barriers

Most of these come in sizes to suite most cars. Click into the Amazon links below for full details and specifications.


Dog Hammock Seat Covers

Most of these come in sizes to suite most cars. Click into the Amazon links below for full details and specifications.


 

Training Is Always The Answer

Teaching your dog good behavior is the most important and most rewarding project you can do. We hope this article has helped you think about your dog’s readiness for a Dog Park. If you need more help click on the Doggy Dan Online Dog Trainer link below and let him be your guide.

Why Keep Struggling With Your Dog's Behavior?

Take The Fast Track with Our #1 Recommended Dog Behavior Expert

Doggy Dan the Online Dog Trainer

Discover The Easy Way to An Obedient Dog

Learn To Use Gentle and Proven Methods So That Your Dog Will Choose to Obey You Every Time!

dog trainer

 

Busting the 10 Biggest Dog Training Myths!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *