10 tips for visiting a dog park
1. Ensure that your dog is healthy, and all vaccinations, medications and parasite control treatments are up to date. Remember, dogs enjoy sniffing and it’s usually the rear end they want to sniff.
2. Ensure your dog(s) are microchipped and preferably neutered. Non-desexed females in season are a ‘NO NO’ and some non desexed males can be a bit too dominant.
3. Ensure your dog has good recall, in other words it comes when it’s called. Quite honestly, if you haven’t taken your dog to a canine obedience class then your ability to control it in certain situations won’t be that good. As I always say, you educate your children, what about your dog?
4. Walk your dog in on a lead. Ask the dog to sit, and make sure you have control, before unleashing. It’s handy to leave a collar on, as it’s a means of grabbing your dog in a hurry should it be necessary, like possible confrontations with another dog.
5. Be wary about toys. In big open areas where larger dogs love to run like beaches etc, balls, frisbees and other toys seem ok. You do, however, always need to keep an eye on your dogs and the other dogs around. Be aware of changes in behaviour, like arousal, with excess tail wagging and ‘the hackles standing up on the back of the neck’. It’s time to pull things up before they go any further.
6. Always keep your dog in sight. I prefer small children to be either strictly supervised or left at home.
7. Always bring clean fresh water and a bowl for your own dog. Don’t forget the plastic bag, and a small towel can often be handy too.
8. Once you become a regular user of the area, your dog will no doubt develop friendships with certain dogs. Always be aware of the ‘new dog’, remembering my thoughts on aggression.
9. Obey the rules as laid down by the local authority. It is always the many who suffer simply due to the negligence of the few. An approach to a council ranger can often defuse a ‘situation’.
10. The overall rule in my book is to know that your dog is going to behave when you take that lead off. Socialisation at an early age with other dogs certainly helps. Obedience training in my eyes is a must. Good recall is the ultimate.