Dog parks can be great places to let your dog off their leash, run to their heart’s content, and just be a dog. We have pictures in our heads of all the dogs getting along and playing nicely. But is that really the case all the time?
If we don’t have a big back yard or there aren’t a lot of neighborhood dogs for play dates, dog parks seem like the obvious choice. In most instances, most dog owners bring their dogs to the park for those reasons. The problem lies in the fact that many people bring their dogs to the dog park for other reasons.
Over the years I have often seen many well intended dog owners bring their dogs to the dog park for “not the best reasons”. One of my favorite “not a great reasons” is that the dog is somewhat fearful of strange dogs and the owner thinks that if he brings his dog to the dog park and let him out with the other dogs, a miracle will occur and everything will be fixed.
Some dog owners bring their dog to the park because the dog needs to “get his energy out”. Well, that “getting the energy out” comes at the expense of other dogs in the park.
Since dog parks are normally public places, there are very few rules and constraints to it’s use. That means that you need to “self-police” the situation to assure that you and your dog will be safe in that environment. This becomes even more critical because your dog will not be on a leash and you will have little control over any situations that start to become problematic.
Don’t worry. There is a way to prepare for the dog park and manage the situation. Robin and I have a great dog training article that will detail what you need to do. Please take a look at our training article titled “ Should I Take My Dog to a Dog Park”.