Once you have become a dog owner, you realize pretty quickly, that exercising your dog is an absolute must. But to do this should I take my dog to the dog park?
Getting them out of the house and yard, can be as easy as walking your dog on a leash around your neighborhood. There are times when dogs require a far more intense way of releasing all that energy. For some people taking there dog on a bike ride, or run can also help. Many people don’t do either of those things, and need a place to take there dog.
Taking my dog to the dog park, was something I used to do regularly so we could really get our boys tired out. This always made them way easier to handle for the rest of the day.
Dog park etiquette
Deciding to take your dog to the dog park, is a very exciting thing for your dog. That being said, the kind of etiquette your dog displays at the dog park is very important.
We have all been to the dog park when there is a dog with terrible manners who is not very well-behaved. That one dog can ruin the entire park experience for you and your dog.
Right away, when we get there if we see a badly behaved dog, we will leave the park. The risk just isn’t worth it.
It’s really important to have a dog that knows the proper way to interact around other dogs. Nobody wants an aggressive, unfriendly dog in the dog park.
Once inside I have found it important to interact with the other dog owners right away just to make sure they have dogs that are good around other dogs. Nobody wants an incident to occur between 2 dogs.
Dogs that are getting to know each other will approach each other to sniff one another out. This is the normal way dogs meet. If things are going to go well, they will just meet and go about their own business.
What to bring with you
There are some very important things that you need to bring with you to the dog park. This will ensure you have the best outing possible.
Always have a collar on your dog with the required dog license information, rabies tag and proper ID tag. Bringing a water container of some kind is also essential.
My dog Finn is obsessed with the Frisbee and the tennis ball. I purchased a chuck it ball retriever for picking up the ball once he brings it back. Bringing these toys is okay to do, just make sure to pay attention that there is no fighting over the ball or Frisbee.
This can get a bit difficult if another dog is also an obsessive ball retriever. When this happens, I generally pick up the ball and stop the game. Having a ball conflict is not something that generally turns out good.
You can use your judgment and get a feel for the other dogs in the park. If things seem to settle down or the other dog causing the issue leaves, I may bring the ball back out. Your call.
Cleaning up after your dog
We have all been around dog owners that refuse to pick up after there dog no matter where they are. Of course this also true for the dog park.
Do not be one of these people. Your dog is your responsibility and it is just unfair to everyone else if your are not picking up after your dog.
The only way that dog parks stay clean and maintained, is if everybody does there part. Other dog owners, will not think very highly of you or your dog if you don’t clean up after them.
There are generally only a few dog parks, in your area, so there is a good chance you will come back to the same one more than once. Leaving a good impression at your dog park, will ensure you don’t get a bad dog park reputation.
Most dog parks have a poo bag dispenser system and garbage for you to dispose of your dogs mess. This makes it so easy to clean up after your dog, so it is extremely important to not be the person who doesn’t care. To be safe, I always bring my own poop bags, just case the dispenser is empty.
Play safe and pay attention
While at the dog park, make sure to pay attention to your dog. It is your responsibility to ensure that your dog behaves and plays respectfully. Not paying attention, for even a few minutes, could cause you to miss what is going on around you and as we know things can go badly with dogs very quickly.
You don’t need to helicopter parent them by hovering over them the whole time, but be aware of how all the other dogs are reacting to your dog. More times than not, you can see when a situation starts to change and hopefully step in quick enough before an incident occurs.
Make sure that you feel confident with your dog at the park and not let them see if you are uneasy about a specific situation. Dogs can pick up on your nervousness and will know if you are unsure.
Act calm and keep yourself collected in way that makes your dog feel secure in the outing while at the park.
Dog park success
Just because you own a dog doesn’t mean you have to go to the dog park. Lots of people do not ever take there dogs to the park.
For many years we took our dogs to dog parks in areas around where we lived. Unfortunately for us we had a terrible experience with our little dog Boo. He got attacked by a couple of badly behaved dogs. Luckily we were paying attention, and were able to get in between the dogs to ensure it didn’t turn out badly.
What this shows is that one bad dog park experience, with a badly behaved dog, can turn you off going to the dog park all together.
If you do decide to take your dog to the dog park. To achieve dog park success, just follow a few important rules, but most of all have good manners.
Never let your guard down and always be aware of the surrounding dogs. There usually is a sign you can pick up on that may save you and your dog. Ensure everyone goes home tired and happy.