Dog parks are wonderful for play, socializing, and exercise. Proper training and preparation will help you and your dog get the most out of the experience.
While the dog park can be a great opportunity to socialize and run around, it can also be a disaster. How can you make sure your trip to the dog park is a success? Training and preparation will help any dog get the most out of their local dog park.
An untrained dog at an off-leash dog park can run into trouble. These might include challenging behaviors like aggressive sniffing, humping, and toy stealing that will inevitably end up in fights. The scariest bad behavior of all is a dog who bolts off leash.
To get ready for the dog park, make sure that you’ve trained your dog to walk on leash, and also to return to you when he’s off-leash. That means he’ll need a strong “come” or “recall” command. Also, you’ll want to consider your dog’s temperament. Dogs do best at the dog park when they are:
- Friendly with other dogs
- Not prone to aggression
- Calm and secure, rather than anxious
- Well-trained and responsive to you
Be sure to practice with your dog in an off-leash environment before heading to the dog park. That might mean your backyard or a friend’s yard, where you can practice the recall command.
Socializing is also important in a dog’s life, and especially prior to regular dog park visits. Teach your dog to meet other dogs on leash, first, and then practice off leash. Local training facilities often have puppy kindergarten classes where your dog can safely play with other pups. This is great practice for the wider world.
Once you arrive at the dog park, you can relax knowing that your dog is prepared and well-suited to the environment. But don’t relax too much! Be sure to keep an eye on your dog, so that you can intervene if anything goes awry. Finally, it’s best not to bring toys or chews to the dog park, as these can cause territorial behavior in dogs.
If your pet sitter or dog walker is taking your pet to the dog park, be sure to talk with them about your dog’s temperament and training before they go.
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