10 Things Not to Do at the Dog Park
Dog parks are a great thing as long as humans know how to behave. Like many things, there are unspoken rules about the dog park. Or should we say unstated, as most dog parks do have posted signs with rules. There are many broken rules you may have witnessed or possibly done yourself without realizing. One bad trip to the dog park can have the big effect on your dog that could lead to your dog being aggressive, fearful of other dogs, sick, or even injured.
1. Not picking up after your dog
This is a no-brainer and simply good manners. Not only does this make the park smell but also can spread disease. Give the pups some space to run around without bringing home some goodies stuck to their paws or worse in their fur.
2. Not exercising a dog before taking her/him to a park
We know what you are thinking. “This is why I bring my dog to the dog park!” The reasoning behind this is that your pup might be a bit more excited than other dogs at the park. This could lead to one of two things. Your dog could cause a fight with a dog that just isn’t as energized or begin running and become prey to a heard of other dogs.
3. Keeping dogs on leashes inside an off-leash area
A lot of new pet owners like to do this when acclimating their pup to the dog park or if someone wants to keep control of their dog. A dog leash can become a tripping hazard to both humans and dogs. Dogs can often feel insecure still being on their leash. It gives them the feeling they can’t escape and can cause a dog fight to break out.
4. Bringing puppies less than 12 weeks old or pets with incomplete vaccinations
Dog parks are a breeding ground for disease and parasites. Older dogs have a built up immune system and can handle the treatment if any illness were to happen. Puppies on the other hand aren’t quite there.
5. Picking up and carrying a small dog
This is a very common mistake owners do at the dog park. If a situation begins with a small dog and a large dog, people’s first instinct is to pick up the small dog. But from a dog’s point of view, when things go upwards quickly it’s because that thing is fleeing. This makes the other dogs want it even more. Since the dog park is an over-stimulated environment for most dogs, picking up a panicked dog could cause you to get knocked over or even bitten.
6. Bringing in a dog that lacks listening skills
Your dog should have more listening skills that just coming when you call her or him. You need to be able to get your dog’s attention in any situation and have them come to you. This way you can get your dog out of a tense situation and let them calm down so that a fight does not break out.
7. Chatting with others instead of supervising dogs
Think of this like children at a playground. You have to keep your eye on your dog at all times. If you are chatting, you won’t notice a dog fight until it’s already begun. This also applies to spending time on your phone rather than watching your dog.
8. Not supervising children
Children’s screams and quick movement can cause a dog to go into prey mode. A child who pulls ears or tails of strange dogs is just asking for a bite. If you do bring children, make sure they understand how to behave. Dog parks can turn into a learning experience for children on how to behave around animals.
9. Bringing in human food
Bringing food to the dog park is a big distraction. A lot of human food can be toxic to dogs and can cause issues if one of them manages to steal your meal. Not to mention the dog park isn’t the most sanitary place to eat.
10. Bringing an aggressive or fearful dog to the dog park to socialize them
The dog park is a place to socialize. When bringing an aggressive or fearful dog to the park this is just asking for trouble. Aggressive or fearful dogs need a calm, quiet, and controlled place to begin socializing. Being in such an excited environment can even cause the dog to be more aggressive or fearful.