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Human Ettiquette Tips for the Dog Park

Posted on July 29, 2014 | 1 comment

OK, you're taking Fido (original aren't I) to the dog park.  You already know all about what to do to make sure your dog is prepared for the park (vaccinations, flea / tick treatments, temperament, etc.), but what about you?  Here are some tips that dog owners should read and do while at the park.  Make this enjoyable for both of you.

 

  1. Before visiting a dog park, call your veterinarian to ensure your dog is current on all core immunizations and a Bordetella vaccination.
  2. Your dog should (always) be current on flea and tick preventatives (many dog parks have trees, and those pesky ticks are just waiting to find a four-legged host!
  3. Always, repeat, always pick up any feces your dog may leave behind.  Parks usually have bags and trash containers for just this purpose.  But just to be sure, bring your own. 
  4. Turn off cell phones/ipads/ipods - this is time to focus on your dog, and maybe a little interactive play.  In the event other owners aren't as conscientious as you, you'll want to keep an eye on your dog to ensure no fights, injuries, etc. occur.
  5. DO NOT BRING INTACT MALES OR FEMALES IN HEAT to the dog park - this is just asking for trouble.
  6. Unless your park has a separate park in a park for small dogs, don't bring very small breed or puppies to the park. 
  7. Watch your dog - if he's not having fun, put his leash back on, and take him for a walk outside the park.  Some dogs just want to be with mom/dad!

 

Thank you Drs. Mogas and Robinson at Bay Creek Animal Clinic in League City for these helpful tips!

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Having Fun and Safety at the Dog Park

Posted on July 10, 2014 | 2 comments

Thank you to the caring vets and staff at Bay Creek Animal Clinic for posting this article in their news letter.  With the "dog days of summer", many of us are taking our pooches and hitting the dog parks.  This can be a great or a traumatic experience, depending on how you approach it. Dog parks: they are great for socialization, exercise, and mental stimulation for many dogs. But certain dogs may feel threatened or anxious. Whether you and your dog have a good dog park experience or a bad one depends largely on your understanding of your dog, advanced preparation, proper training, and good etiquette.

 

Know Your Dog’s Temperament

Is your dog usually playful and sociable? Does she get along well with other dogs, or can she be aggressive? Is your dog nervous or shy around other dogs? Animal welfare groups say to let your dog's temperament guide you on visiting a dog park—or whether you should opt for other activities instead.

 

Preparation and Training

National veterinary associations urge dog owners to ensure dogs are trained well enough to come when called at a dog park, even in spite of all of the other enticing distractions at the park.2 Ask your veterinarian about a good dog training class in your area and make sure your dog learns how to focus exclusively on you when you issue a command, especially when other dogs are present. This is crucial if you need to call your dog away from an escalating situation.

 

Good Etiquette

Being pounced, sideswiped without warning, or having a bunch of high-energy dogs come at you like a speeding train can scare certain dogs, as well as people. Train your dog to greet other dogs and people politely. Also, be present while your dog is playing so that you can interrupt if your dog becomes aggressive, involved in ganging up on another dog, or if your dog becomes the target of an attack.3

Not all dogs enjoy the dog park, and that is all right. Toy breeds should avoid dog parks altogether because their size can make them an attack target for larger dogs. Sometimes a walk around the neighborhood, a game of Frisbee in the backyard, or a smaller play group with dogs your dog already feels comfortable with is a better option.

 

Sources:

1. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, staff: Pet Care: “Dog Parks”
2. Yin, Sophia, DVM, MS, The Art and Science of Animal Behavior, “Dog Park Etiquette Poster”
3. Association of Professional Dog Trainers, Dog Park Information: “Dog Park Tips”
4. Association of Professional Dog Trainers, Dog Park Information: “Dog Park Etiquette”

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