There are a lot of things to take into consideration before bringing fido to a dog park.
|Three Shar Pei siblings and their min |
pin friend enjoying the local dog park.
to date. NEVER bring a female who is in heat to a dog park. It can cause fights and lead to unwanted pregnancy. In fact, it is recommended that your animal be spayed or neutered. By having unaltered animals at dog parks, it can cause issues such as same sex dominance, unwanted pregnancies, unnecessary confrontation and conflict as dog's vie for dominance or for a mate.
Before bringing your dog into the park, be sure to observe the behaviour of the other dogs already in there. Just because you're following all the rules doesn't necessarily mean everyone else is. Learn to read basic dog body language. A wagging tail is not always friendly, and bearing teeth isn't always aggression. The chart at the left shows many different postures of a dog. On the far left are good body postures that you want to see at a dog park, friendly, happy, playful dogs who are enjoying themselves and having a good time. The first two in the middle, calm and alert, are also good, these dogs may be a bit more reserved, or just taking in the all the action going on around them. If you see dominant or aggressive posturing, you should reconsider bringing your pup in. Dominant dogs often indicate trouble as they feel the need to control the play, which can result in fights. If a dog is aggressive, he has no business being in a dog park, but often times, it happens none the less. Do what is best for you and your pet. If you see anxious and nervous, or frightened posturing, reconsider as well as these dogs may lash out at others. If your dog exhibits these behaviors, he may not be a dog park dog and it may be too much for him. Try coming back when there's less commotion or work on dog on dog socialization when there's less stress, maybe one on one with a well known dog. Eventually, you may be able to work up to a dog park again. Submissive behavior, however, is normal. As long as the submissive dog isn't being bullied and he and his playmates are switching rolls, it's okay. It's all part of the games dogs play with each other. Should you EVER feel uncomfortable, even the slightest bit, leave without hesitation, better to be safe than sorry.
Keep your dog ON LEASH until you're in the off-leash area. Most times, there is a double gate. You'll walk in the first gate with your dog, take his leash off, open the second gate into the off leash area. Make sure to securely close all gates when entering and exiting. It is a bad idea to keep your dog on leash in an off-leash dog park. It can create leash reactiveness on your end (meaning your dog lashes out at others because he feels confined and trapped) and can make your dog a target for others because he is still on leash, unable to escape, thus very very vulnerable.
|Happy, healthy pups enjoying a good game of chase.|
Also, please remember this is a DOG park. For dogs to come and play and run freely. If at all possible, DO NOT bring your children. If you must, supervise them very closely, like no more than arms length away. It irks me to see parents with little children running around the dog park. I can't tell you how many times, the back of my legs have been slammed into by pooches playing and I've ended up flat on my back. I don't want to imagine what that would do to a small child. Plus, my dogs are the kind of dogs that don't look where they're going when they run, so I always fear they'll be the ones to knock over kids... Also, keep in mind, it is a dog park with many dogs you don't know. It's best to leave fido's favorite toy and snacks at home. Some dogs don't share well with others and bringing snacks and toys can cause issues.
|Rukka, one of our fosters, looking happy, satisfied, |
and tired after a good day at the dog park.