A day at the park…what fun!! Most larger towns and cities have at least one dog park where dogs (and owners) can socialize. Primarily, that is what a dog park is for… socialization. Although it is a good place to get in some extra exercise, it should not be the only place to exercise. In order for your dog to get the most of it’s time at the park, exercise with a good walk and workout before hand. That way all of that pent up energy and excitement will hopefully be brought down several notches. Your dog will be more in control and less prone to a possible fight or aggressive behavior.
It goes with out saying that your dog should be up to date on all vaccinations before going to a park. Be prepared for fleas ahead of time by using a quality spot on and/or shampoo. Many owners find it best to bathe their dogs after a day at the park just to take care of any problem before hand (or would that be paw??).
In the best interest of your dog, you may want to check out the park at various times to see when it is quieter with less people and dogs. Introduce your dog at that time to let them get the feel of a new place and equipment. A responsible owner is aware of how their dog is behaving and on the look out for potential problems that may arise from other dogs and situations.
Speaking of equipment, many dog parks have some amazing equipment! Water fountains with special bowls at just the right height for people and dogs, agility courses where dogs can practice weaving/climbing/tunnels and more, cooling areas with misters for the warmer months, and areas for dogs with special needs to keep them away from larger or more active dogs.
Don’t forget to bring supplies you will need as a responsible pet owner. Whether you are just out for a walk, or a day at the park, don’t forget the pooch pick-up bags, some moist wipes to wipe paws before getting back in your vehicle, a portable watering bowl, a sturdy leash to be on when arriving and before leaving, and a few toys to play with. A great idea would to have a bag or backpack just for your dog’s equipment. As you spend time at the park, you will probably add other items that help to keep your dog healthy and happy. Share with us your ideas for what works for your days of fun with your dogs.
Leave the treats for your dog (and yourself) at home. Other dogs may become aggressive around food or you may have more dogs than you can deal with that want some of that snack.
The main goal is for a positive, fun experience for owners and dogs. Before dogs have their day at the park, they need to be under control and trained to do so. Limit time on the first few trips and they will soon learn what a good time everyone can have!
Do you have a special dog park you go to or have been to on a trip? What would you encourage others to do when going to the park for the first time? We would love to hear about fun times with your dogs. Helen