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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Why I Don't Recommend Dog Parks and Alternatives to Keep Your Dog Happy Instead


Shortly after adopting my coon hound, Daisy, eight years ago I took her to the dog park because (A) I wanted to give her the opportunity to make new friends (B) I wanted to show her off to as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time because I was proud to finally have Daisy in my life after decades of waiting but for a variety of reasons the park soon proved to be an unnecessary and unpleasant place to visit. 
Teacher's Pet Sitting Service client, Bebe, loved her walking breaks at a nearby paint studio on a regular basis!
When my clients ask for my opinion on taking their dog to the park I advise them to avoid dog parks altogether. Many clients are concerned that by avoiding the dog park their dog will miss out on opportunities to socialize with other dogs so I then point out that there are multiple opportunities to socialize and become stimulated by the sights and sounds throughout the neighborhood.


Another reason why I advise clients to avoid the dog park is because many dogs get little to no exercise because, for one reason or another, they prefer to view the sights from a distance! Why drive to the dog park when there are miles of territory to safely explore in the neighborhood instead?

Daisy takes a break on the Dover Community Trail in Dover, NH, with friends Emma and Delainey.
My other suggestion is to find safe, balanced dogs that your dog can play with or hike with in a safe on or off-leash environment. Bike rides or jogging with your dogs are also fun activities!


If, for some reason, you’re unable to utilize these other options and feel the dog park is a necessity for you and your dog, then here are a few tips to think about:
  • When you arrive, check out the atmosphere: Is it chaotic? Are there too many dogs in a frenzied state? Are there any dogs who are engaging in bullying behavior or anything else that makes you nervous? If so, honor that feeling and skip the park or wait until a time when you are certain the park will be less populated.
  • If your dog is being chased or bullied and appears nervous, insecure, or that the play doesn’t appear reciprocal, calmly go and intercept and get him/her out of there.
  • Monitor the situation as you would if kids we’re playing or wrestling!
Remember, it’s your job to advocate and protect your dog! Many owners use the dog park as a place for their ill-behaved dogs to run wild, and many other owners are totally unaware of what their dog is capable of and may not even be aware that their dog is dangerous. 

Once again, I don’t recommend the dog park, but if you going to use it, be sure to be as safe, aware, and prepared as possible!

1 comment:

  1. Not a huge fan. We took Katy to one while on vacation last year because it was one of the few places she could run off leash and she prefers to potty in our fenced yard rather than on leash. Your description of the owners was spot on. While the rules required them to have dogs under control that never happened. The other rule ignored was poop cleanup and that was just gross.

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