The Dog Park: Good or Bad?
The dog park is seen by some people as a great place to go and by others as a horrible place. Are either of these correct? Well to be completely honest it depends on your community dog park. Some dog parks are way better than others. For example our local dog park has a group of people who regularly go. The dogs are for the most part well socialized and generally well behaved. Of course sometimes you’ll see people who are not regulars and have no control of their dogs. That will happen anywhere you go. For the most part, our dog park is a very fun and safe place to go. You should go to your local dog park and see for yourself whether it looks like a good park.
After you check out your local dog park, if it’s seems like a safe place to be, then going there is absolutely a great thing to do in my opinion. There are a lot of bad things that can come from going to the dog park, but there are also a lot of good things as well. If you closely monitor your dog’s behavior and correct any unwanted behaviors then your dog can get a lot of exercise and socialization from the park.
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How to Get into The Dog Park and Stay Safe
When you go to the dog park the biggest thing to be careful of is the energy at the gate. The gate is the place where you are most likely to see a confrontation. The best thing to do is walk right in and get through all of that excitement. If you stand at the threshold your dog can feel trapped. If you walk right through the dogs, your dog will most likely do the same. Then the space will open up and your dog will feel more comfortable. Pay attention to the way you feel as well. If you are nervous, try walking around the park or saying hello to someone in the park. To keep your dog safe you need to be calm and relaxed. You should be watching your dog and staying close to them at all times. If you feel the energy is getting too high, you should get your dog and let them calm down before letting them go back to play.
Not letting the energy level get too high is the number one way to keep you and your dog safe in the dog park. Your dogs body language is a clear indicator of their energy level. Some red flag signals are if your dogs hackles are up for more than a few seconds, their ears are forward, their tail is high and stiff, or their overall posture is tense. If you see your dog or another dog displaying any of these behaviors, try to get your dog and let them calm down. Distracting them with a ball or toy can also lower the energy. Make sure your dog does not guard balls or toys before taking them to the dog park.