Local dog parks are secure areas where our pets can enjoy exercising and playing without being tied to a leash. There is also the beneficial mental stimulation of socializing with other pooches and their owners. Regular activity plus interesting fun and games help to alleviate the boredom that often leads to destructive behaviour at home. But to ensure your four-legged friend has the best time ever, there are a few dog park etiquette rules to consider before setting out.
Many public parks across Australia have dog-friendly recreation areas. To find your local dog parks contact your council or use a dog social app.
- Take a few minutes to read any rules regarding time limits or restrictions on taking toys.
- Check the park on your own beforehand to see if it suits your dog’s requirements.
- Use a dedicated pet social media app that allows you to locate dogs in your area with similar temperaments. It’ll help you to contact other owners and introduce your dog to suitable playmates under controlled, less intimidating circumstances.
- Take a doggy travel bag containing bottled water and a collapsible bowl for drinking plus a set of poop bags and scoop.
- Dogs must always wear a collar in case they get out of the park or they need restraining.
- Ensure your dog obeys when you call him to prevent him from becoming involved in any unpleasant incidents.
- Be on the alert for any changes in the behaviour of your dog or his friends.
- Signs that your dog’s having great fun include a relaxed open mouth, running about playfully, fluid movements and panting. Remove your dog immediately if you see bared teeth, flattened ears, submissive or tense postures.
- Dogs can react wildly when freed after a day of restrictions but a firm rule of dog park etiquette is to curb excessive excitement. Ensure your dog enjoys having fun in other environments so that park trips are part of a wider routine.
- Locating a dog or puppy park that’s within walking distance allows your dog the opportunity to wear off some of his excess energy. By the time he reaches the park, he’ll be a pleasantly energetic playmate for his friends.
- Visiting local dog parks can be an enjoyable experience especially if everyone upholds good dog park etiquette. Keeping vaccinations and parasite medication up to date and immediately scooping up any doggy poop helps to maintain a healthy environment.
- Do not take puppies aged less than twelve weeks to any puppy park as their immune systems aren’t sufficiently developed to resist commonplace viruses and germs.
- If you suspect your dog isn’t feeling too well don’t take him to the dog park until the vet’s given him a clean bill of health.
- If your dog’s the shy, retiring type a visit to a dog-friendly park could be one of his worst nightmares. Don’t make a visit unless you are sure the area is really quiet.
- Leave toys behind as they can encourage aggressive behaviour with dogs competing for possession which is why many parks impose a toy ban.
- Never take tasty treats to the park as they can prompt other dogs to pay you too much attention.
- Every responsible dog owner knows the importance of good training, especially in a dog park. Don’t allow your dog to behave badly by jumping up at other dogs or their owners. Dogs have a pack instinct so don’t let your dog become a victim of any combined bullying that could lead to serious injury.
- Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by your mobile or lengthy conversations with other owners.
- If your dog has enjoyed himself running around with his friends, don’t let him overheat. Let him relax in the shade or get him a water-based cooling coat.
Get your furry friend ready and have fun at the park!