Many dog owners venture outdoors and visit dog parks, especially during the summer. These public parks provide many benefits but can also have some pitfalls to deal with. This article will tell you how to handle the most stressful part of a visit to the park: entering.
Entering the park can be very difficult if a group of dogs runs up and mobs you at the gate. Conscientious owners will call their dogs to them to allow you to enter without being overly rushed. Unfortunately this is not the typical scenario. When entering the park you should enter first with your dog on leash and following behind. Quickly close the gate and begin to walk the perimeter of the park calmly and confidently. Many of the dogs will most likely sniff your dog and walk away after greeting. Shoving your dog through the gate first into an off-leash area where dogs have gathered at the gate is like throwing meat to sharks.
As you continue to walk the perimeter other dogs may approach your dog; be sure to allow them to appropriately greet one another by sniffing each other’s rear ends; this is the dog equivalent of a handshake. While your dog is meeting the other dogs, observe the other members of the park, looking for dogs that do not socially match. A socially adept dog should match his playmate’s body language.
Once the pack is through greeting during your perimeter walk then it is time to stop and release your dog to go play. Call your dog in to you regularly and hold your dog by the collar to calm your dog and avoid over stimulation. Then release them and say, “Go Play,” which will be their reward for calming.
It is your responsibility to protect your dog.
While in the park, follow the rules on the poster shown below and everyone can have a safe, fun day at the park.