I L-O-V-E the dog park! Mostly, I love to sniff everything. But it’s also fun to play “tag” with other dogs and take turns chasing and being chased. Here’s me at a recent outing to the park. I’m a real sprinter, so it only takes a couple full-speed laps and I’m done for the day.
This topic brings out a passion in people that sometimes surprises me. Dog parks are supposed to be fun places that I can run around with other dogs. And yet, that’s not always the case. My people tell me that it’s important to know what to expect at the dog park and to make an assessment before entering the dog park each time.
From my perspective, there’s a few things that people should consider before taking their dog to the park:
1) Is your dog well-socialized? Let’s face it, every person has differing social levels. So why should it surprise people that not all dogs are social extroverts? And yet, people continue to bring rude, unsociable dogs to the park. This is not fun and can be dangerous for all of the dogs.
2) Is your dog healthy? Again, when people have a cold or other contagious illness, they tend to stay home so as to not get other people sick. The same rule applies to dogs. If your dog is sick or has an infection (i.e. ear mites), stay home.
3) Be attentive. Yes, dog parks are usually fenced. But that’s no excuse to not watch your dog. People don’t let their small children play in a park unsupervised. Paying attention to your dog at the park helps you know where your dog is and helps you see if there is trouble brewing (i.e. with an unsocial dog).
Bottom line, trust your instincts. If you’re not comfortable with the situation, likely neither is your dog.