Dog Park Safety Tips

 Wednesday Sep 15,2021
By  Lancaster Puppies

With a secure area to run and other dogs to play with, the dog park can easily become one of your dog’s favorite places to go. However, there are some safety tips to keep in mind before packing your pup in the car and heading to the local dog park. Read on for some helpful information on keeping your furry friend safe both before and at the dog park.

Prepare Your Pup

Man playing outside with a Labrador Retriever and Golden RetrieverYour dog needs some preparation before you can simply take your leash and head out to the dog park. Most importantly, your pet's behavior with other dogs must be evaluated. For instance, during walks or visits to a neighbor’s house, has your dog displayed aggressive or defensive behavior toward other dogs? If so, professional assistance may be required to change unwanted behaviors prior to a park visit. 

Choose the Right Park

Before taking your pup to the dog, make sure that you choose one that’s a good fit for you and your dog. Look for dog parks with secure fencing and gated entrances, as well as posted guidelines for dog behavior. If you want to ensure your pup’s safety, select a park with designated spaces for large and small dogs. A separate area protects small dogs from larger ones, who may play too rough and cause injuries. 

By taking the extra time to do some research and learn about the different dog parks in your area, you’ll be able to make sure that your dog has a good, safe experience.

Vaccinate Your Dog

Anywhere dogs gather, there's a possibility that infections will spread. A fecal screening is usually required at city-run dog parks to ensure that dogs aren't carrying parasites in their stool. In addition, all dogs must be vaccinated against contagious diseases, including:

  • Rabies
  • Bordetella
  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Canine flu

At the end of the day, keeping your dog up to date on vaccinations is all part of being a responsible pet owner!

Basic Training and Commands

2 white dogs running and playing at a dog parkBefore taking your dog to the dog park, it’s important that he or she has received basic training and learned some simple commands, such as “stay” and “come.” While at the park, make sure your dog follows your directions and listens to you. When giving your pup a command, speak gently, yet strongly. Do not become angry or shout, as this may agitate other dogs nearby, causing them to act aggressively toward one another.

Start With the Leash On

When visiting the dog park for the first time, it’s a good idea to let your dog explore it while still on a leash. This will help to prevent your dog from ingesting a potentially harmful substance, such as left-behind food, toxic items, or foreign objects. 

Consider going to the park during a quiet time of day, such as early in the morning or late at night. That way, you can walk around and enjoy the park without too much distraction.

Understand a Dog’s Body Language

Black Labrador Retriever and yellow Labrador Retriever playing with a chew toyWhile at the dog park, be sure to keep an eye on the dogs' body language, particularly basic dog etiquette like the “play bow.” When dogs meet for the first time, they use the play bow to indicate that they are friendly and want to play. Also be on the lookout for signs of aggression, such as

  • Pulled back or flattened ears
  • Snarling and snapping
  • Several dogs picking on one dog (pack behavior)
  • Crowding, corning, or charging other dogs

Remember, the best thing to do when you predict a conflict or spot an aggressive dog is to pick up your dog and remove them from the area.

Be Alert at All Times

It may be tempting for you to mingle with other pet owners and simply let the dogs “do their thing,” but understanding all of the subtleties of canine behavior is critical to keeping your dog safe. You should be on the lookout for dog posturing, be conscious of your own dog's reactions to other animals, and keep an eye on interactions between your dog and others the entire time you are inside the dog park.

Clean Up After Your Dog

Hopefully, this goes without saying, it is expected of you as a dog owner to pick up after your pet at all times. You don't want your pup to roll around in dog poop, and you don't want to step in it either. You can either use the park's garbage bags or bring your own plastic bags.

Now that you’re aware of the do’s and don’ts of dog park safety, it’s time to venture to the dog park! If you are looking for your newest furry friend, find your perfect puppy on Lancaster Puppies today!