When my clients ask for my opinion on taking their dog to the park I advise them to avoid dog parks altogether partially because the above rules are rarely followed making for a stressful, exhausting, and frustrating time that could be avoided by simply going on a stroll through the neighborhood or on a hiking trail.
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.|
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
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!