Socialising your puppy is vital, and the only place you can really do that effectively is the Dog Park. One hour a week during puppy class is not enough, you have to get out there. I am still coming across cases where the dogs amount of socialisation and exercise is a key factor in moving forward with any behavioural problems they may have.
Ideally, the park would be a fenced in dog pen, so please take your dog off the lead, as he will feel a lot more comfortable meeting his new playmates. If you want to know why, please read my blog - Dog + Ignoring Stress Signals = Potential Aggression - "....And if the dog feels trapped, when on the lead maybe, or cornered, then his or her only option will be to fight....."
Below I have outlined a few Do's & Don'ts for responsible dog park etiquette to ensure a safe and happy time.
Obviously not all parks have a dog area so it may not be as straight forward as this, but I hope this can help if you are a new dog owner without teaching you to suck eggs.
- Make sure your puppy’s vaccinations are up to date
- If the dog area is already in use, ask if you can come in
- Ask the humans if the dog(s) already in the park are friendly
- Bring a ball/ toy (even if your puppy doesn’t yet play at home with one) this can help if your dog suddenly decides to play with the other dogs toys, or needs a distraction
- Look for similar size puppies or dogs as your own
- Watch the greetings, make sure it is friendly, maybe introduce them to one dog at a time if they are especially nervous
- Play fighting is a great bonding and learning exercise between dogs, but interrupt if it becomes too rough
- Give a few treats to your dog for coming back to you every time he does
- Watch your dog, not your phone
- Pick up your pup’s poop (nobody wants a £1000 fine)
- Just “barge in”
- Let the dogs “work it out” between themselves when it becomes too rough
- Ignore people and other dogs
- Spend too much time on your phone
- Give treats to other dogs without checking with owners first (they may have allergies, or some owners are just not comfortable with it)
- Take advice from non-professionals
- Pick up your puppy above other dogs in rough situations. Small dogs and puppies have the same behavioural needs as bigger dogs, but help them when size matters
If you want me to help you become street and park wise with your dog, please CLICK HERE to contact me and arrange a meeting/consultation.
Also if you are thinking of getting a dog/puppy or already have a fury friend and need some assistance take a look at my Training options and Training Packs.
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