Are Dog Parks a Good Idea?

Are Dog Parks a Good Idea?

Now that the weather is getting nice, everyone wants to get outside to play. Its great for both dogs and dog owners to take advantage of outdoor play, for fun and for exercise. You may be fortunate enough to have a nice fenced in yard for your dogs. If you live in a big city, or live in an apartment, you may think the only way to exercise your pooch is by taking walks. That is no longer your only option.

In recent years, dog parks have been popping up all over the country. Just as the name suggests, these are fenced -in areas where dogs can be taken off leash and allowed to run around and play, either with their owner or with other dogs. There are private and public dog parks and some may charge a fee to help pay for maintenance. All dog parks should have a posted list of rules. Important rules include, never leaving your dog unattended, always have voice control over your dog, and do not bring your dog’s favorite toy from home. He will probably not want to share. Also, never bring a female in heat or close to her heat cycle, to a dog park. I am certain I don’t even have to explain  this rule.

Many provide bags for cleaning up after your dog. This is obviously very important , not just to keep the park clean, but to prevent spreading illness. Some parks have a separate area fenced off for small dogs. If you have a small dog, it will be worth it to find one of these parks. You can imagine the problems that could result from a little dog with a big dog attitude!

While dog parks can be a lot of fun for owners and dogs, there can also be problems. Not all dogs are suited for a dog park, and not all owners are aware that their dog isn’t suited for a dog park. Your pup should be well socialized to other dogs from a very early age. Even well behaved dogs can get excited and play too aggressively. Something that is important for dog owners to remember is, if you bring 3 or more dogs together, they will naturally become a pack and only one dog can be the boss. If your pooch doesn’t know his place in your family’s pack, he will not know how to handle being with several other dogs. Even if dogs are used to all the other dogs that come to a park regularly, they may not accept a new dog into their territory.

You need to be very vigilant to prevent problems and be prepared to protect your dog from an aggressive dog or dogs. Not every owner has the experience or even the common sense to know what to do if a problem arises. If your pet is the one who is getting too rough or aggressive, immediately leash him and take him out of the park. Some dog owners carry a can of pepper spray in case a fight does break out.

Dog parks can be a great place for you and your dog to makes friends. The important thing is to be aware of potential problems and know how to handle any situation that might come up. Whatever you do, get outside and play with your dogs.