Regular dog exercise is an important aspect of keeping your pet fit and healthy. There is no better place for your canine friend to work out than dog parks in your neighborhood. However, there are certain essential things that you need to consider before going to a dog park with your pet.
Even though dog parks are great places for exercising, mentally stimulating, and socializing pets, not all dogs enjoy playing there. Particularly upon reaching the maturity (2-3 years of age), adult dogs do not prefer the company of unfamiliar ones. This may turn your dog exercise session a tasking one dominated by your efforts to save your dog from conflicts with others.
Young puppies who have not yet received a rabies vaccination should avoid the park for two reasons – fear of infectious diseases and the risk of being frightened by large, older dogs. You need to plan an indoor dog exercise regimen for your puppy.
In addition, dogs that display aggression toward people or other animals are not candidates for the dog park. Avoid taking such pets to parks. Take young pups to supervised puppy playgroups in the park to ensure that their first interactions with others are a pleasant one.
Taking Your Pet to Dog Park: Things To Do
Practice calling your puppy or adult dog by name at your home and ensure he obeys your “come” command. First, start practicing this in your living room and gradually work up to spread across other rooms and in your backyard provided the area is fenced. Generously reward your pet each time he obeys your command and comes to you.
The practice of “come” command is useful for numerous reasons. You may ask your dog to come back if he runs away from you or runs after another dog. It also becomes handy if a fight breaks out involving your dog. You need to wait until your dog is obeying most of the time before introducing off-leash play in a dog park.
Children should always be kept close to you and under control. Encouraging dogs to chase them often leads to injury, as all dogs are not familiar with children’s activities. They might perceive them as something that is running and screaming leading to the expression of their preying or herding tendencies. Never allow children to run around or scream close to your dog, as such actions may cause apprehension and excitement in your dog forcing him to behave in abnormally.
Small children when allowed to stroll among groups of dogs, they face the risk of being knocked over or stepped on by dogs. Many breeds, such as Rottweilers, have a tendency of herding small children.
Be Responsible Dog Owner
Not all dog owners who visit dog parks show good judgment about their dog’s behavior and temperament. Many people have difficulty in distinguishing normal play behavior from bullying, and they may not realize their pets are bad mannered. Others may mistake arousal of a dog for playfulness, which can result in dangerous situations. Listen to your gut! Take your dog away from the situation if you feel he is becoming overwhelmed or uncomfortable in the company of other dogs. If a dog experiences only stress and anxiety when visiting the park, there is no benefit of exercising him there.
Sometimes, dog owners perceive a fight where none exists. Some even become very frightened when observing normal dog-to-dog interactions. Well-socialized adult dogs teach puppies the limits of proper social skills without causing any harm to them. An adult dog who growls or barks at a puppy that has jumped on his head or bothering him is not actually taking up a quarrel. It is his way of conveying that such actions are unacceptable and the puppy should immediately stop doing this.
It is favorable if dog playgroups are supervised by professional dog trainers. Dog owners may also personally observe their puppies when they are aware of normal play and socialization traits of dogs. In addition, make sure that your dog is wearing his tags. You must also ensure that your dog is up to date with vaccinations and present yourself you as a responsible owner.