I’ve frequented off leash dog parks for years. Many veterinarians come to curse the dreaded offleash park. My dog Twist isn’t good offleash, she enjoys chasing deer and treeing squirrels a bit too much, so a good fenced in offleash park is just the ticket to let her run free.
Over the years, I’ve seen many a bite wound and unhappy pet owner after a romp in the local dog park.
It got me thinking about offleash dog park etiquette. What can we do to make the experience more enjoyable for us and our furry companions?
Here are my top 10 tips for having a good time at the dog park:
#1 It’s an “offleash” park. Do not walk your dog on a leash when other dogs are offleash. It almost guarantees an unhappy encounter with other dogs.
#2 Pick up after your dog. Most offleash dog parks provide doggy do do bags and appropriate receptacles. No one wants to scrape excrement off their shoes when they get home.
#3 Don’t bring your unvaccinated 8 week old puppy to the dog park for “socialization”. Just don’t.
#4 Leave the toys at home. Imagine a daycare with 10 toddlers and one toy. Need I say more?
#5 Follow the rules. Dog parks generally post a list of rules that they would like everyone to adhere too. They’re simple and there for a reason (for example, don’t bring your unspayed female dog that is in heat).
#6 If your dog isn’t “dog friendly”, an offleash park probably isn’t an appropriate place to go. Stick to on leash trails where you have better control over your furry friend.
#7 If your dog starts being a “jerk”, correct them.
#8 Keep your dogs’ vaccines, deworming and flea control up to date. Dog parks are like cess pools for those things!
#9 If your dog does get into a squabble with another dog, remain calm, avoid getting in between the dogs if you can (throw water on them if you have some handy or pull them apart by their back legs) and seek prompt veterinary attention (puncture wounds are always the “tip of the iceberg”).
#10 Have fun! Get off your cellphone and enjoy your dog. :)