Guidelines for Dog Park Decorum
1. Ensure your dog has a suitable personality for a dog park
- Is your dog anxious or fearful in unfamiliar settings? If so, this could lead to anxiety-based aggression.
- Does he or she enjoy the thrill of the chase a little too much and perhaps that makes other dogs anxious with his or her exuberance?
- Does your dog know when another dog do not want to be interacted with and respond to you to come away from such dogs to ensure safety?
You should ask yourself these questions and more before taking your dog to a dog park. After all, the dog park should be a pleasant experience for all. Truthfully, some dogs are better not going to dog parks.
2. Be watchful and vigilant
When you do decide to take your dog to a dog park, you are obligated to keep a dutiful eye on your dog.
This means that your main priority should be to watch your dog at all times.
Fears and anxieties can develop quickly when one dog is threatened by another – even if the threat is just an exuberant, overly-playful dog yours feel threatened by. A threatened dog is a dangerous dog and it may go into fight/flight mode. Aggression is a common consequence in such situations.
3. Be cautious when new dogs enter
Be very observant when a new dog enters the dog park. If you can see that the new dog is too excited, or even if it seems anxious or aggressive, keep your dog away from him or her until it has had a chance to settle in.
It is better to err on the side of caution in dog parks.
4. Use leads when needed
You should never be without your lead when in a dog park.
Council regulations state you should always enter and exit a dog park with your dog on lead. This is not only a legal requirement but will also ensure your dogs’ safety as well as the safety of other dogs in the park.
If you are unsure of how your dog will react when in a dog park, or how other dogs will react to your dog, keep your pooch on a lead.
It’s easier and quicker to get your dog out of harm’s way if you have your dog attached to a lead. You can promptly and safely exit the dog park if things get too intense.
5. Furry White Fluffy Fury
Owners of ‘white fluffies’ should be especially cautious. Many large breeds see these small white fluffy dogs, such as the Maltese, as being equivalent to white rabbits and some large dogs will show predatory aggression to white fluffies just as they would to rabbits or cats.
6. Pick your times carefully to avoid ‘dog stew’
In preparation for visiting a dog park make note of the times when your local park is busiest and when canines boil together like the ingredients in a stew. If you have a dog that’s anxious in dog parks, then you can choose to visit the park when other dogs are not present to stop your dog getting ‘all steamed up’ and hot under the collar.
Generally, dogs parks are busiest between 7am to 8am and 3pm to 6pm on weekdays and almost anytime on a weekend.
For safety’s sake, you should avoid the dog park at these times. You can still ensure the same amount of exercise for your pooch at off-peak times, without other dogs making your dog anxious and fearful.
So, as the months warm up, walk and exercise your dog – just remember it’s better to be safe than sorry. Use common-sense, follow the guidelines above, and the dog park can be fun for all.