Perks of Dog Parks:
- Give your pup an opportunity to get out their pent up energy. A tired dog is a happy dog.
- Proper socialization of your pup is imperative to your dog’s growth and lifestyle.
- Socialization at the dog park isn’t just for your pup! Owners often benefit from getting to know members of their immediate community and learn from them and their experiences with their dogs as well.
How to prep your pet for their debut at the dog park:
- Make sure your dog has all the necessary immunizations and shots and is spayed/neutered.
- You can never start socializing your pup too soon. Starting early is the first step to prepping your dog for their debut with the pack at the park.
- Practice makes perfect, and obedience training takes a lot of patience and practice before you can feel confidence in your dog’s ability to obey commands. This training will become even more important when your pup is among the excitement at the park.
- Take your pup on frequent walks. Focus on leash behavior and demeanor as you explore different routes that introduce your dog to different types of people, (old, young, etc)
- Start with a play date or a doggy date with friends & their pets. This will present an opportunity to socialize your pup to prep them for the big leagues at the local park.
- If you’re struggling with dog park prep, don’t forget that your dog’s potential may be unlocked with plenty of extra positive reinforcement! This may come in the form of treats, pets, affection, etc.
Park Etiquette for Pets and People:
Initial introductions at a dog park can often be the most overwhelming for both you and your dog. It’s important to choose a time where the dog park is not too busy, but not too empty either. This will give you and your dog an opportunity to sniff things out and warm up to the activities of the pack at the park.
- Make sure your dog is on a leash as you approach the dog park. If it’s your first time at the park, keep your dog on a leash as you enter the dog park so you can closely observe your pups behavior and help them gain their confidence with the pack.
- Eyes on the pup. Keep track of your dog and their interactions. It’s easy to get distracted talking with other pet owners and by your phone, but it’s important remain attentive to your animals. Being able to recognize when your dog or other dogs in distress is the first line of defense in any issues that may arise at a dog park.
- Bring water. Some parks have water and some don’t, check in advance and ALWAYS bring water (and a bowl) if you aren’t sure. If you need a collapsible bowl for the dog park check out THLN’s shop.
- Don’t bring a dog in heat to the dog park.
- Don’t bring a sick dog to the dog park.
- Don’t give other dogs treats without owner consent.
- Don’t bring too many treats or dog food.
- Pay attention to when your dog does his or her business, and pick up after immediately. Otherwise, someone will end up stepping in your dog’s business or another dog might end up eating it, both of which are not good.
How can you help ensure our dog parks are clean and of good quality?
According to a recent study by LawnStarter, Texas ranked in the bottom 10th of U.S. city dog parks. The study was ranked by quality of park, access to food/water, and climate factors. North Texas cities such as Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, and Garland were in the 90th ranking out of 100 cities studied. Laredo was ranked the poorest among all the cities studied. Texas, let’s step it up!
- Pay attention to what’s happening at the park so you can help out if other dogs get into trouble!
- Pay attention to when your dog does his or her business, and pick up after immediately.
- Pick up any trash that you see. Any litter could be a serious choking hazard to a curious pup.
- Be friendly and calm to all people and pets.
- Even if dogs get into a fight it is important to keep your cool, make sure you document the situation calmly and exchange information with other dog owners if necessary.
- Respect the rules and regulations of the park.
- Make suggestions to your community parks and recreation department on general improvements that can be made.