5 Things To Consider Before Heading To The Dog Park

Does your dog lose their mind when they think it's time for a trip to the dog park? Most do and it can be a wonderful activity for them. But there are definitely some things to consider, especially if you are unsure of what to expect. 

     A jack russell terrier dog holding leash in his mouth at a front door hinting it is walk time 

    1. Check The Park Rules

    Not all dog parks may have the same rules so it's always best to investigate before heading to a new dog friendly park that may or may not be a good fit for you and your pet. For example there may be rules about leashing in specific area's or there could be dangers in the area that you need be aware of, such as algae blooms in lake or pond water that can be very dangerous to a dog if ingested. Remember that rules for dogs in a park are for everyone's benefit and safety. 


    2. Not Every Dog Belongs At A Dog Park

    There are some dogs that may not belong at a dog park. For example, puppies that are under six months of age or not yet vaccinated are vulnerable to disease and probably just too young to understand how read another dogs behavior, even while on a leash. Any dog off leash at a park should always be under the control of their owner and able to follow commands. Be sure to consider other dogs as well as your own when entering a park.

    A bernese mountain dog sitting for it's owner in a park setting

    3. Know Your Dog Well

    Knowing your dog and their specific personality is very important when taking them into any social activity. Some dogs may be over protective of toys or even their owners. If they have any anxieties or are in heat it may be best to stay in an on leash area or avoid the park all together. Also if your dog is getting older or has any sore areas they may react differently than they used to when confronted with another curious pooch.

     A group of dogs socializing at a dog park

    4. Pay Close Attention To Your Dog

    When at an off leash park pay close attention to your dog and try not to let them get too out of sight. You never know what could happen so it's always best to be on the safe side. Not everyone may think of these points and just because your dog is well socialized another dog may not be. The risk is there so having a leash in hand and your dog following commands is a matter of safety.


    5. Dog Park Etiquitte Checklist

    Besides a park's listed rules there is of course some obvious basic etiquitte to follow at any park when bringing along your dog. Here is a checklist for dog park etiquitte.

    • Always bring poop bags and pick up after your dog
    • Bring a leash
    • All vaccinations should be up to date before socializing at a park
    • Make sure your dog can follow basic commands (come, sit, leave it)
    • Do not offer treats to other dogs without asking owner
    • Know your dog
    • Always ask before petting 
    • Be Aware of risks


    Dogs love outings and all dogs deserve to enjoy getting outside and having fun while being safe as well. If perhaps a dog park isn't the right place for your pup, consider areas that may be less likely to be a problem. Always choose what is best for you and your dog.

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