Of course, first and foremost, watch your dog! Watch them to make sure if they go to the bathroom you clean up after them……immediately!
As important as it is to socialize your dog with other people, watch that they are using manners and not jumping or being otherwise rude. You know your dog, others don’t. If you see your dog running at or jumping on someone, stop them! Do NOT smile at the person and yell, ‘don’t worry, he’s friendly’. Friendly or not your dog has no business jumping on anyone. Nor do most people want your dog jumping on them. Whether your dog is a large breed or small breed, it’s rude. So train your dog to stop jumping up on people!
Watch what they eat or ingest. After all, parks are outdoor. You never know what’s in the tall grass, shrubs or dirt. Not to mention the sad fact that in this day and age, we always have to be on alert. There have been incidents of toxic or poisoned food left at dog parks. There are people who , don’t like dogs, don’t want a dog park in their area or are just plain cruel. Every year there are cases of dogs ingesting poison at dog parks so please just pay attention!
It’s a dog park, not a children park
I get it, it’s so much easier to bring your children and your dog to the park at the same time to run off steam. But not all dogs have children in their lives. Not all dogs know how to appropriately deal with children. Also, dogs aren’t allowed at all parks like children are. And dog parks are very limited in most cities. Dog owners pay taxes too. They deserve to have places they can safely run their dogs off leash. So if you insist on bringing your children to a dog park, keep in mind that your children are your responsibility. Keep them under your control and respect the rights of the dogs and dog owners.
It is so important to socialize your dog with other dogs. But watch how they’re playing. What starts out as play can sometimes turn into stress. Play can turn bad quickly if it gets too carried away, too rough or too hyper. Either that or your dog might wrongfully learn to relate dog play with stress. It’s a good idea to step in and calm it down if it starts getting out of hand. Yes, the old saying ‘let them sort it out’ is good advice……..to a point. But dogs do need guidance and structure at times too. So if the play looks like it’s getting too rough, step in and calm it down.
Also, incessant barking is not healthy for any dog at any time. If your dog is barking it’s head off, stop them. Just because they’re at a dog park doesn’t mean rude behavior is suddenly ok. So train your dog to stop barking!
Written by Brenda McBurnie, Certified Dog Trainer and Natural Nutrition
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