The summertime is prime time for being outside with our furry friends, and heading to a dog park is tons of fun for owner and dog. It’s important to understand the proper protocol for bringing your dog to a dog park.
The main thing is to be in control at all times. It’s crucial your dog understands you are still the alpha, and listening to you is #1. If possible, train your dog to come to you using a unique word that way you allow for less confusion.
Another important idea is to take plenty of time before entering the gates. Try to pause at each entrance or even walk along the border of the parks before going inside. Practice commands just outside the fence, in order to keep the dog calm and remind him who is the alpha.
One of the most important rules is to always be alter and pay attention. Dog parks can be super fun for dogs, but sometimes issues arise that need to be dealt with immediately. If a dog owner isn’t pay attention fights, or other bad behavior, can go on way longer than they need. Try to be aware of trouble brewing and stop it before it even starts. It’s also important to pay attention to the signals of your dog and other dogs. Dogs willingness to play or not play often manifests physically, with wagging tails and the “play bow” (front legs down, butt up). These signs are great to see, but aggression is also seen physically and it’s important to be on the look out for signs like growling with teeth showing, or leaning forward with their head held high. Knowing and being aware of these signs can save a lot of trouble.
If a fight does break out, understand how to gain control back safely as possible. Some of these fights are finished quickly, so possibly giving it a couple seconds could be just fine. Should a fight continue or become too aggressive, try to separate them without getting physically involved. Using a water hose or a long stick could do the trick. If the fighting lasts longer than 3 seconds, try to get behind your dog pull his hind legs up and back, like a wheelbarrow. Hopefully, the other owner will join in and together you’re able to restore peace.
It’s also important to understand if you’re dog is not ready for a dog park. Puppies under 6 months should not be at dog parks. Any dog that has not been vaccinated, neutered or spayed should not be taken to a dog park. Dogs should be socialized fully before going to a dog park, unfortunately it is not the place to learn.
An owner knows her dog best and it’s important to be aware of these facts before even going to a dog park.
All in all a dog park is a great experience and can be super fun, with just a bit effort!