Dog Park Safety

Dog Park Safety

Here at Aurora Family Dog Training, we love off-leash dog parks! They’re a great way to exercise, socialize and just have fun with your dog. But there are a few things to consider before bringing your dog to an off-leash dog park.  

Will Your Dog Enjoy The Park?

As obvious as it is, you have to ask yourself, “will my dog even enjoy the dog park?” The fact is, some dogs find the experience completely overwhelming. Other dogs aren’t quite ready for it and may need to work with a local dog trainer before taking on an off-leash park.

Consider how your dog usually reacts to meeting a new dog. Does iit seem to be a source of anxiety for him or does he enjoy it? And if you aren’t sure we actually suggest starting with a larger dog park. While a smaller park may seem to be the way to go the issue is that there’s just not enough room to create space between your dog and the other dogs in the park.

How Well Trained Is Your Dog?

Next, you need to know how well your dog handles basic commands. The most important command is recall- does your dog come when called? You have to be able to control your dog without a leash and from a distance at the park.

How Well Do You Know Your Dog’s Behavior?

The next thing to consider is how well you understand and can read your dog’s behavior. This is where working with an experienced dog trainer can really help. Dogs say a lot through body language and the more you understand this the easier time you will have preventing dog fights before they happen.

Even a basic understanding a canine body language can help prevent dog park interactions from going south.  While we don’t agree with some of the language used in this video (such as the tired idea of your dog challenging your authority) this video will help you understand some of the basic body languages of your dog

While determining the dog’s breed can sometimes be hard if you do know the breed of your dog that can give you some important clues as to how your dog is going to interact at the park. Herding breeds (like cattle dogs) in particular can have a difficult time at the park as they will try to herd the other dogs!

Whereas dogs like German Shorthaired Pointers are just happy to finally have enough room to run. Speak with your dog trainer to find out more about their experience with your particular breed of dog at the dog park.

Make Sure You’re Up To Date On Vaccines

While this last consideration is not behavioral in nature we still have to add it to the list. Make sure your dog is healthy and up-to-date on all vaccines before going to the dog park. While dog parks provide invaluable socialization and exercise benefits they are also a place for diseases and bacteria to be spread. And if your dog is not up to date on vaccines you could have problems.

Consult your veterinarian on what vaccine they recommend before going to a dog park. Vaccinations against parvovirus and distemper are non-negotiable. We also suggest having vaccines against Bordetella and even leptospirosis depending on where you live.