How to Introduce a Dog to a Dog Park

How to Introduce a Dog to a Dog Park
By an eHow Contributor

Dog parks are a great way to exercise your dog as well as to socialize it. By introducing your pup to a dog park, you are giving him a wonderful opportunity to run, play and just have fun. Plus, it’s a great way to meet other dog-loving people.

Things You’ll Need

Dog leash
Plastic bag/something to remove dog poo
Optional: tennis balls, Frisbees, and other toys your dog likes to play with

 

Instructions

  1. Know the importance of exercise and socialization for your dog; it cannot be overstated. A dog that is bored is more likely to get into trouble both at home and on the leash, and lack of exercise can lead to obesity and other health problems. Dogs that aren’t properly socialized with other dogs are at best a nuisance (aggressive or overly submissive) and at worst dangerous.
  2. Find a dog park in your area. Check theInternet, your local neighborhood newsletter, or call your vet or local animal shelter to see what parks are nearby. Find out the when the park is open and what its busiest times are.
  3. Exercise your dog before bringing it to the dog park. Dogs that have “let off some steam” are more likely to behave themselves when meeting a new friend, and are less likely to injure themselves with rough play.
  4. Let your dog off the leash as soon as you enter the off-leash area. (Make sure the gate is closed securely behind you before you release your dog.) Dogs that are confined to a leash can feel threatened by loose dogs crowding around them. Letting your dog free puts it on equal footing with the others.
  5. Keep walking. This is to avoid establishing a “home turf,” which your dog might want to protect from other dogs.
  6. Supervise your dog. Excessive rough play and/or growling should be avoided, and if your dog is out of control or aggressive, leash her and leave immediately. By removing the “reward” of the park, soon the dog will not associate aggressive behavior with play time, as this essentially takes the fun out of it.
  7. Keep the first visit short. If your dog is a little out of shape or not used to playing with other dogs, a trip to a dog park can be an exciting but exhausting one.

 

Tips & Warnings

  • Always clean up after your dog. Nothing annoys other dog owners more! Keeping the place clean ensures it will stay open for all to enjoy.
  • Visit the park at non-peak hours the first time. The first visit can be stressful for both you and your dog, so avoid the busy times of the day. For most parks, this time is Monday-Friday, late afternoon until dark; and Saturday-Sunday after 9:30 am.
  • Only bring a healthy, vaccinated dog to a dog park. Otherwise, you are putting your dog and others in danger.
  • Don’t bring a female dog in season. It is disruptive and can lead to fights. It is best to bring only spayed/neutered dogs.
  • Don’t bring dogs younger than 4 months old. They can be overwhelmed by the older dogs. Also, they have not had the necessary inoculations to make them safe to play with other dogs.

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