Top Tips for a Safe Dog Park Experience
If you are reading this you are most likely just as excited as we are about the impending opening of the Lezama Family Happy Tails Dog Park in Laconia, New Hampshire. For some, a dog park will be a whole new experience. For others, the experience is old hat! In anticipation of the grand opening, we attended the Dog Park 101 class at the New Hampshire Humane Society taught by Kelly Sullivan of Doggonit Training and picked up some good tips to share with you. Since we have never had a dog park in this area of the Lakes Region, we thought we might review some of these tips to make sure the experience is enjoyable for both you and your dog.
Read below for our top tips to make sure you have a safe and fun trip to the dog park, whether it’s your first of many or you and your pup are old pros!
1. Review the Rules
Each dog park has their own set of rules. While they may be similar, they can vary slightly from park to park. On your first few visits to the park, make sure you review the rules that are posted before entering the park with your dog. Knowing and abiding by the rules will help to make it a more enjoyable experience for all!
2. Pay Attention to Your Dog
It’s so easy to get distracted talking with other dog owners at the dog park, but if you aren’t paying attention to your dog you may miss some important cues from your pup! It’s also tempting since your dog is secure in a fenced in area, to look at your phone while your dog is running around. Unbeknownst to you, your dog could need a time out because it is being bullied by or bullying another dog. Just like parents with their kids at a playground, it is important to pay attention to your furkid and gently guide them to behave properly.
3. Make Sure Fido is Prepared
To attend the dog park, your dog must be spayed or neutered and be up to date on all vaccines. It’s a good idea to speak with your veterinarian before attending the park with your dog, as he or she may suggest some additional vaccines in addition to the core vaccines your dog normally receives. You’ll also want to make sure your dog is wearing a collar with identifying tags and rabies tags.
4. No People Food or Dog Treats
Food is one of the main things that can cause dogs to fight. In order to assure there is no resource guarding among the pooches at the park be sure to leave all food, both human and dog, outside of the park gates. When Fido is done playing, he can have treats when he is safely back in the car.
5. Bring Water
The Lezama Family Happy Tails Dog Park does not have water so be sure to bring some water for you and your pup. After all that running around your dog is sure to be thirsty! While there will be some water bowls at the park, it may be a good idea to bring a portable water bowl for your pup! You can find some dog specific, travel water bowls at the Laconia Pet Center.
6. Pick Up Your Dog’s Poop
Another reason to pay close attention to your dog…Nobody wants to step in poop!! Or worse yet, have their dog step in poop and track it into the car on the way home. Please be sure to pick up your dog’s poop. Bags are provided at the park if you forget to pack your own. It’s also ok to nicely tell another owner where their dog pooped if they happen to have missed seeing their dog do his business.
7. To Leash or Not to Leash?
While you will want to keep your dog on a leash in the parking lot of the dog park, you will not want your dog greeting other dogs with a leash on. Being confined by a leash prevents dogs from going through their normal greeting rituals. So, you ask, how can I keep the leash on my dog in the parking lot but have it removed before we enter the fenced in area? Simple! Make use of the area between the double gates to remove your dog’s leash before allowing him into the open area to romp with other dogs.
These are our top tips to make sure the dog park is a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your dog.