Is your dog shy or had low exposure to people, places or other dogs? Teaching your dog to be more comfortable around others can be a slow process, but it’s worth it when you know your pup can handle settings and situations that include other dogs.
How does your dog react to seeing other dogs? Does he bark? Shy away? If you are unsure how your dog will react, there are ways you can test his comfort level around other dogs.
First, start by walking your dog around the community. Taking your dog out to observe others passing by is a great way to determine how your dog will handle situations in a dog park. Once you feel confident that your dog is comfortable at a distance, head down to the dog park but don’t go in. Let your dog watch the other dogs. Every time a dog comes near the fence, give your dog a treat, so your pup has a positive association with the other dogs. If your dog becomes frightened or aggressive, move further back until he calms down and slowly move closer to the fence again.
For yourself, pay attention to anything that may be concerning in the dog park. You may not want to go at a time when there’s too many dogs or if there are dogs that show signs of aggression. Do the other humans talk to each other? Do they pay attention to their dogs? Are they friendly to other dogs? Are there separate areas for big dogs and little dogs? Figure out if the dog park is right for you and your dog. If you aren’t sure which dog park to visit, we recommend using BarkHappy App or Park Bark App!
Playtime at the dog park should be fun and a good experience for everyone. If you think things are getting too rough or if your dog is stressed, it’s best to leave, and try again at another time or day.
While you’re at the dog park, here are some general etiquette guidelines for you to follow:
- Don’t bring your pup if he’s sick or hurt.
- Don’t bring your dog if it’s a female in heat or a puppy under 4 months old.
- Always watch your dog. Don’t leave him/her unattended.
- Don’t let your dog get away with aggression towards another dog or human. Intervene if things become too rough.
- Don’t bring food for yourself or your dog.
- Bring a portable water dish and a bottle of water as water bowls at dog parks carry the risk of communicable illnesses
- Always clean up after your dog
- Try to keep your dog’s barking to a reasonable level. Barks from joy are acceptable, but they shouldn’t be constant.
If you follow dog park etiquette, you can have a fun day with your pup! However, some dogs are too nervous or fearful of dog parks, therefore, might not like going. Which is okay, skip the park and find other activities to enjoy with your pet!
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