Dog Park Tips
How to make sure you and your dog have a
Safe and Enjoyable Dog Park Experience!
1. Make Sure your dog is fully Vaccinated & Licensed
Talk to your local Veterinarian about what Vaccines your dog should have before exposing them to the Dog Park, especially with puppies. Although puppies do need the exposure to other animals including dogs, if they are not fully vaccinated, they are vulnerable to being exposed to deadly contagious diseases. Your chances of exposure do go up at the Dog Park. Instead arrange for play dates with other friends and family dogs that you know are fully vaccinated. Want more information on Vaccinations? Click Here.
Dog Licensing is not meant to be cash grab, it could save your dogs life. Getting your dog licensed will not only prevent you from getting fined, but also will be beneficial if your dog goes missing.
2. Make Sure your dog is Appropriate for a Dog Park Setting
Under-socialized, Fearful, Anxious Dogs: Many people think that the key to a fearful dog is socialization. And although there is some truth to that, the dog park is probably way too much, way too quickly. Exposing your dog to the hectic environment of a Dog Park can in some cases escalate the problem. Getting a Behavioural Dog Consult or Some training Classes might be key in helping your dog one day build up to going to the Dog Park.
Bullies & Rude Greeting Skills: Introductions between dogs are important and determine what the play will become. A dog that runs full force into introductions and dogs that are relentless in forcing dogs to play can really set up the perfect setting for a fight. Remove your dog from the Park is they are acting this way.
Resource Guarding/Protective of Toys: Dogs who don’t share well do not do well at the Dog Park and will likely not have fun. A dog with these concerns are not going to have safe play at the Dog Park. Some Classes may be able to curb this problem a bit.
Females in Heat: Any females in heat are not recommended for obvious reasons. Your dog could become pregnant and it could cause common fights amongst other dogs.
Small Dogs & Puppies: A good dog park will consist of having a small dog/puppy area. Keep your puppies and small dogs in this area. A small dog may be seen as a rodent to another dog.
3. Exercise your dog before going to the Dog Park
Your dog needs to be calm before they even arrive to the dog park, not just after. A calm dog is a dog that has the capacity to make good choices. “But my dog doesn’t walk nice, thats why we go to the dog park”! Sounds familiar? Take the time to teach your dog to walk nicely with you on leash. You can expand the many places you want to go with your dog by doing so. Just limiting yourself to the dog park if not adventurous for you or your dog. If visiting the park is the only highlight, your dog will likely be way over excited upon your arrival. Taking classes to teach your dog to walk nicely beside you is key to success and building a lasting bond with your dog. Dog parks are meant to be a supplemental way to exercise your dog, not the sole way.
4. Take off all your dogs equipment at the Dog Park
If you are still requiring to keep the leash on your dog at the dog park, you are better off not being at the Dog Park yet. Taking classes to make you more comfortable with having your dog off leash is key. Your dog will get frustrated very quickly that they can’t go to play with the other dogs and this can actually increase the risk of aggression in your dog. Leashes, yes keep your dog away from other dogs. It does not keep other dogs away from your dogs. Your dog can easily gets tangled in the leash and cause injury.
Take off their collars and harnesses. When dogs play with each other they often aim at each others neck and shoulders to play, making it so easy to get caught in each others contraptions, which can cause huge injuries to either your dog or another dog.
5. Learn your Dogs Body Language
Put your phones away and observe your dog. Dog parks are often a social event for humans as well. Always keep one eye on your dogs though. Make sure you are not hanging out with too many humans, as you don’t want ALL the dogs to gather in one group. Instead group of 3-4 dogs are ideal.
Know when your dog is having fun and when they are not. Taking a Canine Body Language Seminar might assist you in learning these subtle cues. Only stay as long as your dog is enjoying being there. If you see that they are getting stressed, leave.
Make sure you are calm and relaxed while you are observing your dogs behaviour. Your dog may pick up on your anxiety and respond accordingly.
6. Pick up After your Dog
Don’t ruin the experience for everyone. Pick up your after your dogs, even in the bush. It’s gross to come to a Park where there is nothing but poo bombs, especially in the spring time. And if you come across a present that wasn’t from your dog. Pick that one up too. There have been Dog Parks throughout Canada and the United States that have been closed due to unsanitary reasons. Don’t let this Dog Park be one of those. A lot of diseases and parasites can be spread throughout the dog poo.
7. Your dog must have good Recall Skills
A safe dog is a dog that comes back to you against all odds. The Dog Park is no exception. If a good recall is not in your dogs book of tricks, seek the help of a Dog Trainer. It could save your dogs life. Saving all your treats and toys for when you call your dog back to you is key. Make sure you are calling them throughout the Dog Park Visit. Not just at the end. Stay connected with your dog. Make sure your dog remembers you still exist. Classes can help you with this.
9. Know what to do in a Dog Fight
Dogs can growl, snarl and show their teeth at each other. This can result in dog fights, but not always. As you are watching your dog play if you notice the play getting a bit intense, attempt to call your dog to you. Sometimes even if you are being diligent in observing your dog and knowing when they might be uncomfortable, dog fights can happen. Do not just let the dogs “work it out”. It doesn’t work.
Remain Calm and have a plan. Make sure you don’t sacrifice your own safety to break up the fight. Do not try to physically break up the fight. Make loud noises, clap, yell, if you have a whistle, etc. Sometimes these loud noises are enough to snap the dogs out of their “fight” mindset. Once the fight stops, put leashes on both the dogs. Attempt to calm your dog down. Once your dog is calm inspect your dog for injury. Typically dog fights don’t result in injury, however dog should seen Veterinary Assistance before going home just in case. Sometimes an injury is not one you can see.
9. Spread the Word
Share these tips with everyone you know and meet at the Dog Park. The more people that are educated, the more likely you will have a Safe & Fun Experience at the Dog Park. Share this website or Contact Us to get brochures for you to hand out.
10. Know your Local Emergency After-hours Veterinary Clinic
Winnipeg Animal Emergency Hospital
400 Pembina Highway
Directions from Maple Grove Dog Park