More and more people are heading to the off leash park with their dogs. And why not? What a great to exercise and social your pooch! But do keep in mind that the off leash parks are a shared area with other pet owners and dogs. Some dogs are a better fit for the park than others.
Ideal Candidates for the Park
- Well socialized dogs
- Young dogs (usually under 2)
- Healthy Dogs
- Spayed or neutered dogs
Not Ideal Candidate for the Park
- Unvaccinated pups: at risk for Parvo, distemper, and disease
- Females in heat/Intact males
- Under socialized dogs: the park is a place to continue to socialize, not learn to socialize. Start with a smaller setting and build your dog’s confidence
- Fearful, anxious, or aggressive dogs
- Dog Dorks: they don’t bully on purpose, they just don’t know better. They have great intentions, but are socially clueless to dog behavior. They are usually high energy and enjoy lively wresting, hard mounting, and crashing into other dogs and people like bumper cars.
If you do not have an ideal candidate it doesn’t mean you can’t go to the off leash parks. It just means you need to practice and work with your dog. Try avoiding the busy times at the parks. Early mornings tend to be a bit quieter.
Do your part to be a responsible pet owner and follow the rules.
- Your dog must be leashed going from your vehicle to the park and from the park to your vehicle. You must also have a leash on you while inside the park.
- Pick up after your dog! If you forget or run out of bags there are always stations at the park entrances and usually throughout the park. When in doubt, ask a fellow dog owner if they have an extra bag.
- Keep your dog in control. Off leash does not mean no rules.
- Don’t hang around the front entrance. Dogs tend to be wound up when they get to the park and have energy that can sometimes transfer into altercations. Once you‘re into the park get moving.
- Pay attention to your dog and stay off your cellphone! You should always know where your dog is and what they are doing. Time and time again I will find a “lost” dog at the park only to find their parent half an hour later chatting on the cellphone and had no idea their dog was gone.
- Do not let your dog mount other dogs. This is a dominant behavior and a situation can go south very quickly. Step in and correct your dog if this occurs.
- Leave the toys at home. Toy obsession and aggression is very common with dogs. So avoid the toys all together at the off leash or at least choose to play with them away from other dogs.
- Be responsible for your dog and their actions. Just like the playground with supervision accidents still happen. If you dog injuries another dog exchange information with that owner and go from there.
The off leash park can be a lot of fun for you and your pooch! Do your part to keep it fun and safe!