It’s quite possible dog park is one of your pet’s favorite place, because it’s an opportunity to run free, play and socialize with other dogs. So in most cases, it’s a joy in itself. It is also very convenient, with all the necessary amenities like dog waste stations and waste bins.
However, depending on your dog’s character, other dogs at the park and general circumstances, these visits can turn out completely disastrous. How can you, then, make sure it’s a success? Of course, you can’t always, but there a few things you can pay attention and see to, to increase the odds of your pet having a great time and fully enjoying the stay at the doggy park.
Make Sure Your Dog Is Ready For the Off-Leash Experience
Both in term of your pet’s and other dogs’ security and convenience, make sure your best friend is actually ready for all that freedom. First of all, check how he behaves on a leash when meeting other dogs. If he pulls, barks and whines, he’s not really ready for the dog park. When encountering another dog, your pet should be calm, no tension or jumping, just gentle, quiet sniffing and that’s it.
Also, when introducing your pet to the other dogs, it’s much better he’s on a leash at first. In that way you’ll be able to intervene if necessary. After that, once your dog is off-leash, he’ll, hopefully, rather turn to you and rely on your intervention in case there’s a problem, instead of getting into a direct fight.
Prepare Your Dog for the Experience
Once you’ve estimated your pet’s behavior and readiness, it’s time for an adequate preparation. Depending on the weak points, your dog should get a good training. Whether it’s the resources issue – meaning your dog doesn’t want to share food or toys, or he’s trying to dominate other dogs, or he gets too excited when released off the leash, you need to practice, because there’s really nothing worse at a doggy park than an untrained dog.
Practice letting him off the leash at home first, to avoid sudden and exaggerated reactions such as bolting. The goal is for your dog to be calm once released. Then you can try releasing him in a fenced area, not necessarily a dog park and see how he behaves. Also, makes sure you practice the commands at home, so you don’t end up in a situation where your dog is running havoc off the leash and there’s absolutely nothing you can do.
Make Sure You Know How to Behave At a Dog Park
You’ve invested a lot of effort to make your dog suitable for the dog park, but that won’t help much if your behavior isn’t appropriate. First and most importantly – pay attention! Don’t stare at your phone or mindlessly chat with other owners. Be alert and ready for potential intervention.
Don’t leave your dog’s poop at the park. If the park doesn’t have disposable bags, make sure you bring yours and clean after your dog. There are doggie bags available in most stores or online from sellers like https://www.zerowasteusa.com/. After all, that’s what you’d expect from other owners, so lead by example.
Also, don’t be biased, if your pet is making trouble, be fair and don’t blame the other dogs and owners. That’s why it’s once again important to pay attention and follow the situation. Your dog needs to learn to share and to be pushy.
Time to Go Home
If you’ve trained and prepared your dog well, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, you need to be careful the good boy understands that he’s not being punished for behaving well, as he might understand going back to the leash as a punishment. So before leashing him, make sure he gets a treat and some kind of reward for good behavior.