A Saturday afternoon at the dog park can be a blast for Fido and you as well. All the space to run around and socializing with other pets will ensure that your dog will be tail wagging happy. However that fun moment can become a nightmare abruptly without the proper etiquette for the dog park.
Before you leave
Before bringing your doggie to the park, Fido should be at the age to receive the full round of vaccinations. This is to prevent your dogs or other dogs from passing along harmful viruses. Rabies and I.D. tag should always be on your dog’s collar and some parks may require this. Obedience training is imperative and should be done before even thinking about bring your fur baby to the park. You must be confident that your dog will listen to when you tell him to stop, come here, or stay. No one wants to step in dog poop, so to prevent conflict with other pet parents make sure to bring plenty of waste baggies. On hot days bring some cold water for your pup, don’t rely on the park to provide this. Just because your pet will be running free doesn’t mean to leave the leash at home or in the car. You should always have their leash with you.
At the park gate
Before you let Fido go play make sure he is calm. Observe his body language, does he seem anxious or fearful? if so, bring your dog to an area of the park that is quiet till he calms down and try again. Also observe how the other dogs are playing. Are they joyfully playing around or is their a bully in the bunch.
When other dogs come to play
This isn’t the time to pull out a book to read or get on the phone with your best friend, remember you are responsible for your dog’s behavior while at the park. You don’t wont to be negligent but at the same time don’t be overly sensitive when another pet parent tells you something about your pet’s behavior. Keep in mind that barking, pawing, and sometimes growling is natural when playing. However if you feel that things are getting to tense, be prepared to call your dog to come & possibly take him home.
Its normal for an older dog to put the younger one in its place as long as there isn’t breaking of the skin from biting then all is well. Be aware if a group of dogs starts chasing your dog, chances are they’re not playing. If your dog is the bully, leave ASAP and continue with behavioral training