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Going to a Dog Park for the First Time? 12 Things You Must Know

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Going To a Dog Park for the First Time - Know This

Dog parks are the perfect place to bring your pet for some exercise and playtime fun. Dog parks are designed to keep our canines safe and secure. Your pet gets the opportunity to run around off leash without any risk of running away or causing problems (for the most part). Dog parks are the perfect place for your pup to socialize with other dogs and develop good behavior habits.

Not only is it the most appropriate place to let your Fido loose, but it’s likely to be your dog’s favorite spot. Many dog parks have water fountains and agility equipment, which your pooch will love. They have places where owners can go and relax while their dogs are busily playing. If your dog needs cooling down after all the excitement, some parks also provide small showers among other cool amenities.

However, because it’s a social setting with many pet owners bringing their furry pals at the same time, this can sometimes result in an unpleasant experience. Dogs who haven’t been trained, owners who don’t know how to control their dog, and worst of all, dogs that haven’t been vaccinated, dewormed or otherwise treated and are a health hazard to other pets.

Going to a dog park is likely to be a very pleasant experience for the both of you. That said, if you’re thinking about taking your pooch to a dog park for the first time, there are many things to consider so as not to be “that owner” in the park.

ALSO READ: Let’s Talk About Dog Park Etiquette

12 Things That’ll Make You Responsible Owner in the Dog Park

Going To a Dog Park for the First Time

1. Dogs Parks are for Dogs to Have Fun

Dog parks are places for your dog to run around and have fun. They shouldn’t just be a means of exercise or rigorous dog training routines. It would be a good idea if you walked your dog before you head to the dog park, as you don’t want him to enter into the park overly excited and full of so much energy that it may cause problems with other dogs.

Although your dog may not be a fighter, his energy levels may spook other dogs and that might set them off. It’s quite often the case that the dog park could be nice and quiet and all the dogs are getting on very well until one dog enters the park. If this dog is too full of energy, it could all turn into total chaos.

2. They’re not for Aggressive Dogs

Going To a Dog Park for the First TimeSome dogs just don’t get on well with other dogs, and if you have a Fido like this at home then a dog park probably isn’t the best place to head off to. Once you have successfully trained your dog to mix well with other dogs, then you will be able to take him to a dog park. Until your dog becomes a good mixer, it’s best to avoid areas with other dogs all together.

Some dogs get on fine with other dogs most of the time, but can change suddenly. If you have a dog like this at home then you can take your dog to a dog park, but just keep him on a leash until you feel confident that he is mixing well with the others. If your dog begins to look like he wants to fight, leave the park straight away.

3. No Unvaccinated Dogs Allowed

If you have a puppy at home and are planning on taking him to a dog park, you should make sure that he has received all of his vaccines first. Your dog could become seriously sick if he hasn’t been vaccinated.

You will also be putting other dogs at risk too. Be a responsible dog owner and wait until your dog has had all of his vaccines before you start thinking about heading off to a dog park. This is for everybody’s benefit, including yours and your dog’s.

4. Never Take a Contagious Dog to a Dog park

By the same token, if your pet is currently suffering from a cough, fleas, parasites or mange then stay well away from dog parks. If your Fido has any type of contagious disease, parasite or infestation, you are putting other dogs at risk and could also make the condition of your own dog worse.

Never, ever take a sick dog to a dog park! It’s for the good of your dog and the other dogs too. If you’re not sure, ask your vet if your dog is cleared for contact with other animals, as they will know if he is contagious or not.

5. We All Agree to Keep the Area Clean

Keep dog park cleanIf your dog does his “business” when inside a dog park, always pick it up. Not only could another dog or person step in it, it is unsanitary. One of your many responsibilities as a dog owner is to clean up after your pet, and this is particularly important in social areas like dog parks where other dogs and owners are around.

If you know that the dog park you are going to has poop bags then you don’t have to take your own; however, if they don’t provide poop bags take a few with you, just in case. You can even grab a small portable poop scooper to make things easier for yourself.

6. Is Your Dog Spayed/Neutered?

If your female dog is not spayed, you’ll need to be mindful of the times when she is in heat. If she is, you should definitely avoid dog parks. All the male dogs in the park will be chasing her, and she won’t have a great time at the park because of it. Male dogs are also likely to be more aggressive towards each other if there is a female in heat at the park.

An un-neutered dog can cause total chaos at a dog park and it won’t be much fun for the other dogs, you, or indeed, the other dog’s owners. So definitely avoid dog parks if your dog hasn’t been neutered yet.

RELATED: Pros and Cons of Neutering and Spaying Your Dog

7. Don’t Bring More Dogs Than You Can Handle

Going To a Dog Park for the First TimeIf you have lots of dogs at home you’re probably thinking it would be nice to take them to a dog park together. Only you know how well you can handle your dogs when they are all together. If they are good together, and you can cope, take them all.

However, if you are a little concerned at how you’ll handle it if one starts to spook other dogs, then it is probably better to just take one dog at a time. If you are planning on taking all of your dogs, it may be best to get a friend or relative to go with you, as back up, if things start to kick off.

8. Dog Park is for Dogs

It may seem obvious, but you should never take another animal to a dog park other than a dog. Leave your other pets at home and only bring your dog. I’ve seen other pet owners trying to come sit at or by a dog park with their cats and other pets, and most dog owners are then forced to leave the area to avoid any problems.

9. You Don’t Need Food There

Never take dog food or your own food into a dog park either, as the other dogs will smell that you have food on you and may start to become aggressive. Be considerate to all the other dog owners who have brought their dogs to the park to have fun and never take food into the park.

10. Keep an Eye on Your Dog

Keep an Eye on Your DogYou must know where your dog is at all times in the park; it’s not up to the other owners to tell you where your dog is or if he’s done something that could’ve been prevented if you payed attention.

Everyone is responsible for their own dogs, so keep an eye on your pooch like it’s a 2 year old toddler. Be ready to call your dog if you see a situation is brewing or he’s bothering other owners or their dogs. If more owners would do this instead of reading a book on a bench, many dog park accidents could’ve been prevented.

11. Always Have Your Dog’s Leash Handy

Have your dog’s leash handy at all time because dogs are unpredictable. You never know when you may have to quickly run over to him and put him back on the leash. You may have to break up a fight and take your dog home. If this happens, you need to have your dog’s leash at hand to be able to do this quickly.

12. Follow Dog Park Rules

Make sure you follow all the rules at the dog park. If you don’t it could result in fines. Be considerate and follow the rules at all times – even if you’re the only one there. Help to keep the park clean and tidy by cleaning up after your dog and use the waste disposal bins that are provided.

Enjoy the time with your dog!

Dog parks are fantastic places, and your dog will love the opportunity to run free and have fun. There are many things to think about, and hopefully, this guide has helped you learn more about dog parks and what to expect. Dog parks really are amazing places that you and your dog are going to love visiting together!

READ NEXT: 40 Tips On How to Make Your Dog Happy