By Amber Evans
We have 5 ways to mind your manners at the dog park for pet parents who are excited about spending time with their dogs. Check out these tips to help you and your fur-baby make the most of your playtime.
1. Never bring intact males or females in estrus to a dog park
For many reasons, I would urge you to have your pet spayed or neutered. If you have chosen to keep your dog intact, you should use caution when taking your dog to the park. An intact dog will always increase arousal among the members of the pack, and you never know when an intact dog of the opposite sex will join your playgroup. Do your part to prevent unplanned litters.
2. Always clean up after your dog
Keep your dog park clean and sanitary. Most parks will have bags and cans for your convenience; please use them.
3. Always supervise your children
Kids should always be supervised as closely as the dogs. Their high-pitched sounds and erratic behavior can switch on a dog's prey drive, or a kid could touch a dog in ways the dog doesn't like, which can cause a bite. That said, dog parks can be a great place for children to be taught dog body language and appropriate behavior around animals.
4. Don’t give out unsolicited training advice
With dog training, the technique and approach you use can make all the difference in whether or not they improve or get worse. So unless you're a professional trainer, it's not a good idea to hand out advice at the dog park. Give other pet parents the same consideration you would expect a stranger to give to you and your human child.
5. Never leave prong collars on dogs while playing
Unless your dog plays “naked,” and experts agree it is the safest way to play, a simple nylon buckle collar is all your dog should be wearing while playing with his pack. Since the neck and shoulders are prime targets for dogs who prefer rough and tumble play, having a metal contraption around their neck is inviting broken teeth, broken jaws, and potentially a huge dog fight if a panicked dog can't detach itself from your dog's neck.