Are dog parks safe?

Are dog parks safe?

24/02/2020

Are dog parks safe?

Dog parks can be perfectly safe when all owners follow the rules and are responsible for their dogs. To keep your dog safe, do some research about the dog parks around you, make sure your dog has a strong foundation in basic training and choose an off-peak time that isn’t too hectic. 

Why are dog parks beneficial for some dogs?

Dog parks are a great chance to meet some new furry friends and burn some pent-up energy. It gives your dog a chance to socialise, greatly improving their health and happiness, and gives you a chance to meet some nice new people with a common interest. But dog parks aren’t for everyone, so really consider your dog and your own experience before visiting one.

How do I keep my dog safe at the dog park?

1. Know your dog: Is your best furry friend suited to a dog park? Are they nervous or scared of strangers? Or are they a bit under the weather? Is your dog younger than 4 months old and still having their first vaccinations? You might want to consider avoiding the dog park if this is the case.

2. Avoid the crowds: it can be a good idea to get to the dog park early in the morning or later in the evening, rather than peak time on a weekend. This allows you to keep a closer eye on your pooch with a more manageable number of dogs around.

3. Be observant: before you enter, take a few minutes to have a good look at who is in the dog park today. Is it looking nice and quiet, or is it full of dogs playing roughly? If the latter, today might not be the best day to visit.

4. Show manners: Ask permission from other owners before introducing your dogs to theirs, as they might just want some quiet time together. If they are keen to play, introduce your dogs slowly using a leash, and withdraw if either dog’s body language suggests aggression or tension.

5. Research your dog park: There are many types of dog park around New Zealand. Some are fenced in completely, some have obstacle courses for dogs, some have shade and some offer poop bags and water taps. Be prepared beforehand and pick a park suited to your dog’s age, size and temperament.  

6. Follow the rules: Make sure your dog is vaccinated, wormed and desexed before hanging out with new pups. And, for the health and comfort of everyone at the park, always bring extra poop bags and pick up after your pooch.

7. Stay focused: don’t disappear into your mobile or get distracted by chatting with other humans when your doggo is playing with new friends. Always pay close attention to what is happening.

8. Train your dog: Make sure your dog has a solid foundation in training basics, such as good recall, manners around other dogs, and the ability to focus on you with distractions around. Consider some group training sessions to improve their skills in distracting environments. 

9. Avoid conflict: Reconsider bringing toys or food treats to the dog park, as these can create conflict between dogs. Get to know dog body language so you can step in BEFORE a problem begins. If the worst should happen, here’s how to separate dogs who are caught in a fight.

10. Leave younger kids at home: Of course, they will want to join, but for the safety of younger children it’s best they don’t attend a busy dog park. Your dog might be absolutely fine, but you can’t guarantee the behaviour of other dogs around you. 

11: Speak to your dog walker: Only the most experienced, familiar human should ever take a dog to a dog park. For this reason, you might want to save these visits for yourself as the pet parent, and request your dog walker take your dog for a nice run around the block or training session instead. 

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