Whether you’re in Chicago or SoCal, and whether it’s cold or warm, a dog park is always a great option to enjoy time with your furry friend. Especially during those crisp fall days. But there are some basic courtesies and rules you should know before heading there.
- Don’t walk your dog in on a leash. Seems counter-intuitive, but this is the fastest way to experience leash aggression – the tendency for some pets to get aggressive on a leash even when they aren’t typically aggressive. Why does this happen? It’s their natural fight or flight behavior coming to the surface. The leash prevents them from fleeing, so fighting it is. Letting them off allows them a more natural introduction to other animals. Please do be safe when taking off the leash so your dog doesn’t get away. The best dog parks have an entry area to remove the leash and then go in.
- Speaking of aggressions: Don’t bring your dog unless you know he or she is friendly. A pet, fresh from a rescue, should be eased in gently. If you’re trying to learn, go at off times or find some friends to do a makeshift introduction around the home before bringing them to a high-energy, highly stimulated environment. If you’re pet is aggressive, don’t put him/her or other dogs at risk by bringing them to the park. Sorry, it’s just not a good idea.
- When he has to go… Clean up after your pet. Please. Grab a roll of poop bags from Kriser’s, and keep it with you. You wouldn’t want your pet stepping in another’s poop, so don’t be the cause of a mess.
- Don’t take food/treats with you. You’ve seen what happens when you shake the jerky bag. Imagine that with multiple pets. Treats and toys can cause am insta-brawl in the park, so don’t be the cause of it.
- Always always pay attention to the size designations. Many parks will have large and small dog areas. Don’t play above or below your pet’s weight class. Follow the local rules so we can all continue to enjoy these lovely parks.