This time of the year is welcomed with open arms, and Spring also signals the kickoff ofDogParkseason! Dog parks are great ways to get out and let our furry friends socialize, play, and really stretch their legs. It is good for us too, as we get to spend some quality relaxation time outside in the sun before it gets sweltering hot and all we want to do is find a lake or the closest A/C. Take advantage of this perfect weather and the great dog parks that are around, and do so often! To ensure you and your dog have the best experience possible it is important that some basic dog park etiquette is followed. Today, I am going to share some basic etiquette that will benefit all involved.
- DRESS APPROPRIATELY: Dogs go to the park to play and burn off some of that wild energy. Because of this it should be common knowledge that you will probably get jumped on by at least one or two dogs who may be wet or muddy. A good general rule of thumb is – if you wouldn’t do yard work in the clothes you’re wearing, you shouldn’t wear them in a dog park.
2. Prevent obsessive jumping: It is expected that a dog may jump up on someone once or twice, and while in a perfect world this would not happen, it still does. Proper dog park etiquette would be giving a simple apology followed by ensuring your dog does not jump up again. If you have an obsessive jumper, some simple training should take care of the problem.
3. It’s a dog park, not a picnic park: bringing outside food of any kind into a dog park is only asking for trouble. If you plan on eating while at the dog park make sure you do so outside. Food not only draws a lot of unwanted attention, it can also start massive fights among the dogs.
4. Prevent rushing that entrance gate: This is a major problem at dog parks and creates very tense situations that often end in fights. Many parks have more than one entrance, and park goers should choose an entrance that is least populated. This is not always possible though, so it is the responsibility of the dog owners in the park to prevent their dog from rushing the gate.
5. Don’t be a bully: Playing with other dogs should be fun and exciting, but all too often dogs start to bully others. This can lead to large fights with many dogs due to a pack mentality, not to mention altercations between parents. If you notice your dog starting to get too aggressive and bullying other dogs, simply get control over him and make him sit in time out with you for a few moments until he calms down again. Bullying is easy to spot because it consists of one dog aggressively playing and the other desperately trying to get away. Do not let your dog be a bully, and everyone will have a good time.
These simple guidelines will ensure a good time is had by all and promote a fun bonding experience between dogs and parents alike. I also want to remind you that dogs under 16 weeks of age should never be in a dog park. While socialization is important, large playing dogs could easily accidentally hurt a young puppy and do more harm than good during socialization, not to mention the health risks of not being fully vaccinated. The dog park is a great resource that is just begging to be used. Now go have fun and keep everyone safe.
On a separate note, I will be hosting training demos at various Knoxvilledog parks in April. The first of which will be held at PetSafeVillageDogParkon April 14th at 2:30. I will be happy to answer questions and give advice. If you have any stories, suggestions, comments, or questions, please leave comments.