Robin Bennett offers some great tips to help you and your pet be safe at the dog park. Read her blog in its entirety HERE, below find an excerpt.
“The gate represents freedom, playtime, fun, and adventure….an entryway to all things good to a dog. But the gate also represents a mob scene of uncontrolled activity. Like amped up hockey fans who start out cheering and quickly end up throwing punches, dogs enter a dog park amidst the amped up energy of other dogs who want a piece of the action. The scene at the gate can quickly change from a congenial receiving line to an out of control riot.
Take these three simple steps to enter the dog park without the risk of a fight breaking out.
- Go for a walk first. When you arrive at the dog park, take your dog on a short 2-3 minute walk near the entrance of the park. Stay far enough from the fence that your dog doesn’t interact with the other dogs, but close enough that he can see what is going on. This gives all the dogs at the park time to adjust to the new dog in the area.
- Reward Calm Behavior. When you get to the gate, keep your dog on leash until he settles down. Remember that dogs will repeat any behavior that gets rewarded. If your dog is bouncing up and down like a lunatic and then you open the gate to let him into the park, you have just rewarded the bouncy behavior. Instead, wait until your dog is calm before letting him in the park. This might take 3-5 minutes the first time you try it, but your dog will learn the sooner he is calm, the sooner he can go in.
- Wait for Other Dogs to Leave the Gate. Don’t open the gate until most of the dogs inside the park have moved away from it. If you are boring and your dog is calm, the other dogs in the park will tire of waiting for you and will move on to other things. Use this to your advantage and wait them out. The fewer dogs at the gate when you enter, the less likely a fight will occur.”
Don’t forget the Dog Park isn’t fun for ALL dogs. Please be respectful to your dog and other dogs at the Dog Park.