Off-leash dog parks are a great place to bring your dog if they get along with other dogs. It’s a great way to get them to socialize with other dogs, but unfortunately, some owners don’t pay as much attention to what’s going on as they should. If you haven’t yet taken your dog to a dog park, you should (of course, only if it’s a friendly dog, that is). It’s a good way to expand their exercise options from just relying on dog walkers. Even if you have been to a dog park before, it’s always good to refresh your memory about dog park etiquette.
Prepare Your Dog
First things first—if your dog isn’t 4 months old yet, leave it at home. Puppies don’t have all of the appropriate vaccinations until they’re 4 months old, so it can put them and other dogs at risk. Further, they’re small at that age and can get hurt more easily. You should also make sure that if your dog is an adult, that he or she has all of its shots. If your dog has never been to a dog park before, start out small. Go to the park for 10 or 15 minutes at first, so your dog doesn’t become overwhelmed and lash out. If your dog isn’t known to get along well with other dogs at all, however, it’s best to avoid dog parks—if you still want them to get more exercise but you’re not at home enough during the day, you can look for dog walkers in Lincoln Square or whatever neighborhood you’re in, so that they can visit with your pup during the day.
Some dog owners sit on the benches at dog parks and stare at their cell phones. This means their dog could be starting fights, getting attacked, or pooping, all without the owner knowing. You are responsible for your dog, so it’s important to pay attention to what’s going on. This can prevent and stop fights, and you should always clean up after your dog. If your dog starts fights, you can train them to be less aggressive, consider getting them neutered if they are still intact, or avoid bringing them to the dog park—ask other dog walkers in Lincoln Square if they have any tips about aggressive dogs. One aggressive dog can ruin the experience for the whole park.
Dog parks can be fun for humans and dogs alike, but it’s important to be present mentally and to make good choices when you bring your pup to one.