By Katy Cable, The Weekly Runt
A 4 minute read
Can you guess one of thee most dangerous places you can take your dog? If you guessed the dog park, you are correct. I know firsthand. As a former organizer for several dog “meet-up” groups in So Cal, I typically attend many events every month. Plus in Long Beach, CA where I live, there are 14 off-leash dog parks as well as the popular Rosie’s dog beach.
While it's always fun to meet new friends and watch our fur babies play, disasters can and often do occur. Unfortunately, it’s all too common to visit a public dog park only to find there's that ONE DOG with a delusional owner who ruins everyone’s time. I'm sure you've seen it. The owner is typically pre-occupied, glued to their social media or obliviously chatting on their cellphone. Meanwhile, their dog is stealing toys, humping any leg they can find, knocking over anything in their path and pooping with reckless abandon. Worst of all, their dog may be aggressive or ill and putting others in harm’s way. In order to best prepare yourself AND your dog, the following "Do’s and Don’ts" are a must-read before heading out with your furry friend
Dog Park Etiquette and Safety Tips:
Before You Go:
When You Arrive:
If you have a new dog that's come from a shelter or rescue, I recommend some basic obedience training and some smaller "meet-and-greet" activities before hitting the dog park.
Fearful dogs often act aggressively and a new unfamiliar dog might make life miserable for everyone at the dog park. Again, the dog park isn't the best place for every single dog. A timid or traumatized pet is often better off having play dates with one or two familiar, friendly dogs. Dogs can come along way after some successful meet-ups and play dates and you can always give it a go at a later date when your dog is more socialized.
Don't put others at risk. The safety of other dogs and people is just as important as your own safety and the safety of your pet. Be respectful! This is a great time for you to interact and play with your dog and others. Don't turn a blind eye on your dog and if they are misbehaving, stop it. My little Olive will hit any food treat she can get her mouth around and if she doesn't mind my command to "leave it" or if she's taking another dog's toys after their owner throws it, it's time for me to take Little Miss Olive HOME!
⚠️Although many parks and beaches have re-opened, it’s still very important to take extra “hygiene 🦠 Precautions” These tips should make your trip to the dog park as safe as possible:
1. bring wipes, gloves and a blanket to sit on or cover the bench where you sit. Don’t pick up other people’s dog toys or pet their dog without permission. Always wipe or sanitize your hands after petting another person’s dog.
2. Bring your own fresh water and bowl. For YOU and your dog. Water fountains and bathrooms may be closed or out of soap and towels. It’s safer to bring your own.
3. If dog flu or another highly contagious outbreak is going around, avoid the park until it’s either much less crowded or after things calm down. The dog park can be a breeding ground for spreading germs and illnesses.
4. Put your dog in a T-shirt or harness. When you return home from the dog park, give your dog a thorough wash. I recommend showering and popping the clothes worn into the wash machine. Not only will this help with sun exposure, it can help keep pollens and other allergens off your dog’s coat.
Now that summer is almost here, and life is returning to normal, I hope you’ll get outside in the fresh air and have some fun at the dog park. I’m sure excited to go!
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