Dog parks are very popular, and they can be a great asset to a community. For many dogs and their owners, a community park that is fenced off and designated for doggie playtime is the best thing in the world. Yet they also have their drawbacks.
Some of the positives and negatives of dog parks are listed below:
Dog Park Pros:
- Safe environment to play and exercise off lead
- Great for dog socialising
- Excellent opportunity to exercise and tire out even the most energetic dog
- Great for human interaction and community-building
- Designated for dogs and their owners – so everyone there is of a like mind and has a love of dogs
Dog Park Cons:
- Only fully-fenced off dog parks are safe for dogs – avoid any that are not fully and highly fenced
- There is no guarantee that all dogs present are socialised properly and some may become aggressive
- Your dog (like a child) may be influenced negatively by other poorly behaved dogs, picking up bad habits like rough play, aggression, fear, or disobedience
- Illnesses may be passed between dogs; ensure yours is fully vaccinated and stays away if unwell.
A great dog park is a wonderful community asset. When all dog owners appreciate the space and follow some basic guidelines of etiquette, there is nothing better than a great dog park.
Always visit a dog park for the first time without your dog. Observe how it operates and how people and dogs interact to determine if it will be right for both you and your dog. Only take your dog to the dog park after he has had basic obedience training, basic socialisation, and vaccinations. Ensure he cooperates with, at minimum, the recall command.
If your dog is prone to anxiety, be very wary and take small steps to see if he will be suited to open dog park play. Likewise, if your dog is prone to being aggressive (I.e. he’s a bully), avoid off-leash parks, or at minimum, muzzle him.
When you do take your dog, always be vigilant and watch your pet at all times. Don’t mix on-leash dogs with off-leash dogs, as on-leash dogs can become aggressive. As soon as you are safely within the fenced dog park, let your dog off leash, but remember to observe him and be close handy at all times.
If there are warning signs of a negative vibe between your dog and another, move yours on before it can escalate. Avoid packs. Never bring a female dog in heat to the park, and watch un-desexed male dogs carefully for inappropriate behaviour.
Don’t bring treats or toys to the park as they may be stolen and, like with a child, this will provoke a negative reaction. Additionally, never bring young children to a dog park, as many dogs are not good with small kids and may either feel threatened by them, or play too roughly.
A great way to help your dog meet his social needs is to bring him to dog day care in Yarraville, or locally to where you live. Here dogs play and interact in a strictly supervised and controlled environment, meeting all their needs and making great new doggy friends.