Dog Parks: To go or Not to go

Is your dog bored at home with cabin fever or with the same routine?

Dog looking out window.
“When will I be able to see all my friends again?”

Thinking about changing things up?

Do you not feel like running with your dog?

Dog ready to get going but the person is tired.
“Come on mom, we need to go faster!!”

How about trying out dog parks!! Dog parks are great when you don’t feel as energetic or your dog has too much energy!!

So many dogs get placed in shelters or rehomed because of how much energy the dog has or is too bored with the same toy, being caged or locked in a room when you have to go to work (meaning they like to make a mess and tear things up!), or running around the house like a mad dog trying to exhaust themselves out.

“Let’s go already!!!”

Who wants to take a car ride to a Doggy Park!!

(Of course I’m saying this in a baby voice!! Lol!)

Dog parks are a great way for your dog to exercise, socialize, and run all that extra energy off. There are many things to consider if a dog park is right for you and your dog.

  • Starting out as a puppy:  Puppies should be at least 6 months old with all their shots up-to-date
    • DAP (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus)
    • Bordetella (Kennel cough)
    • Rabies
  • First time, go slow and try walking around the outer side of the fence to see how your dog reacts. If they seem interested and wanting to meet dogs, then you can try going inside with the leash on and see how they interact with the other dogs. (Warning: if the dog is leash reactive, please give enough time walking on the outside of the park so the dog feels comfortable and you can take the leash off as soon as you first enter the dog park.)
  • Gates going in/out of the park should be doubled. This is so dogs can’t escape as easily and lets you take the leash on/off without having other dogs interfering. Make sure each gate is latched as you walk through and let one dog at a time in the spot in between gates.
  • Separated areas for big and small dogs are great. Smaller dogs and older dogs can enjoy playing with each other without over energetic dogs. There’s a smaller area so dogs don’t get too winded running around. Large dog areas are usually big and give ample room for running.

So now you are in the park and wonder what you should be doing. Main thing is to keep your attention on what your dog is doing. Many times people don’t pay attention to their dog and are looking at their phones or reading books. I would not advise this. Things can happen very fast when one dog is angry.

A dog is cranky and showing teeth at another dog.
“Just leave me alone. I’m resting!!”

When there are dog spats (There’s usually a dog that likes to instigate trouble) be vocal or have something that makes a loud sound (a little air horn, whistle, or just yelling “Hey”) to get their attention and redirect them.

It can be a scary sounding situation, but stay calm. Most spats are just dogs letting other dogs know that they have had enough. You mainly hear growling, hackles stand up, dog is baring its teeth, and low barking. In some instances, there may be contact with teeth on the other dog. DO NOT GET IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIGHT!! You will get bit!! The best advise it to find something to cover their heads, (this distracts them and they can’t see what’s going on.), pull their back legs towards you away from the other dog (be careful of redirect aggression towards you), or if a hose or bucket of water is around, douse them with it until the fight is broken up.

I would recommend NOT bringing toys. Some dogs may guard toys, become possessive, and start a fight. 

I’d like to say dogs are like humans: Not everybody gets along with each other.

Some dogs would rather do something else

Like stay at home and sleep on the couch!!

Dog laying on the couch.
“Hey, can we just chill for today. I’m feeling like a couch potato!!!”

Some dogs could care less if they never go to a doggy park. Lots of dogs like to spend all their time just with their humans. Nothing wrong with that! More cuddles and snuggles!!!

Dogs that shouldn’t go to doggy parks are:

  • Dogs that are fearful and do not want to be around other dogs. You can slowly try to get them more relaxed by training on the outside of the park to focus on you. You should never push a dog beyond its limits. These dogs can become aggressive, fearful and bite you and other dogs.
  • If your dog is NOT up-to-date on vaccines. This is safety for your dog and other dogs. (Think if a human had the flu and they just mingled with other people!)
  • Elder dogs may not be up to having other dogs around them. Elder dogs are usually more grouchy (I always think of them like old crotchety ladies and old mean men!!).
  • If your dog has had a recent injury/surgery, it’s wise to stay away from parks until healing and recovery is done.

Each dog has their own personalities

There’s the dogs that love to interact and play with everybody (the outgoers), the dogs that are more reserved and just watch from the sidelines (more introverted), the crazy dogs that just go wild and run around even if there’s nobody playing (these are the clown dogs!!). It may take a couple times going to the park to have your dog make friends. 

Funny dog face.
“Duz you like my smooshy face?”

Don’t forget to have fun!!

Have fun taking your dog to the park. It’s a great way for you and your dog to develop friends and get out of the house!!

Published by Dogwuvr

My love of animals started when I volunteered at a humane society. From there I wanted to teach people how to take care of their precious pets and get the word out about adopting. I went to Animal Behavior College and got my Dog Obedience Certification. I have been working in veterinary clinics and give people information about dogs.

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