Dog Park Basics
July 12th, 2005
If you visit a local dog park frequently, you are likely to have run across a few other owners who make everyone else's visit to the dog park a little less fun. You know, the owners that are too busy reading the paper to notice that there dog has done its business. Or the person that brings in treats for their dog and wonders why your dog is now glued to their side.
The dog park can be a very enjoyable place for dogs and owners alike if everyone just follows a few simple dog park rules. While each park will have their specific guidelines here is a general set of guidelines that should be followed at any dog park.
- Obey the posted park rules. This may sound like a no brainer, but you would be surprised at how many people are unfamiliar with the rules of their local dog park. On your first visit to the park take a moment to read the rules and make sure you follow them.
- Make sure your pup is up to date on all her shots. While at the park, your dog will be playing and drinking after many different dogs. To protect your puggie and other dogs at the dog park you will want to make sure your pup is current on all her vaccinations.
- Never bring more pugs than you can handle. Pugs are laid back and friendly dogs by nature, but you still don't want to bring more dogs than you can handle at one time. Some parks limit owners to two dogs at a time and others allow owners to bring 3 dogs into the park at a time. If the park you visit is a busy park and you have 3 or more puggies you may want to bring a friend to help you keep an eye on the little ones.
- Never leave your pug unattended in the park. Again, this one sounds like a no brainer, but if you have to run to the car to get something bring your dog with you.
- Don't bring pugs under 4 months old to the park. It may seem like dog parks are the best place for young pugs to run off all that extra energy, but most puppies don't do well at crowded dog parks because they have not completely learned all of the socialization skills they need to be a model dog park citizen. On your pug puppy's first few visits to the dog park, try to go during off peak hours and look for mild mannered dogs that will gently teach your pup. Another excellent way to teach your dog socialization skills is to attend a puppy socialization class. Here, in a structured environment, your pug will learn how to greet other dogs and that everytime they see another dog it isn't play time. Once they have picked up the basic social skills they will know how to greet other dogs in the park and will be able to pick up on the signals the other dogs are sending their way.
- Don't bring your pug in the park on a leash. On your first visit to the park, it may seem scary to take your pug off the leash and release them into a park full of excited dogs, but it is in everyone's best interest if all dogs are unleashed when inside the park. When your pug first enters a crowded park, a pack of dogs will usually form around him to check out the new visitor. You dog will be much less defensive if it is not on his leash and is able to move freely through crowd.
- Don't bring any food or treats into the park. All pugs like to get treats for doing good things, but don't bring any of your puggie's treats into the dog park. If you bring food into the park, you will most likely end up with a pack of unruly dogs following you around pawing at your pockets. In addition, some dogs are food agressive and you may spark a scuffle between the dogs vying for the treat in your pocket.
- Watch your children closely. If you decide to bring children to the dog park, make sure you keep a watchful eye on them as well as your pug. While your child or children may be great with dogs, you must realize that the other dogs in the park might not be great with children. Many of the dogs at the park are burning off pent up energy, so it always a good idea to make sure your children are not getting any of the dogs at the park too excited.
- Don't bring female pugs in heat. Dog parks are full of happy, frisky dogs. If you bring a female pug in heat to the dog park you'll soon find that she will get a little too much attention at the dog park. It is best for female pugs in heat to take a break from the dog park until their cycle has completed.
Dog parks can be a great deal of fun for pugs and their owners. To get the most out of your local dog park, make sure you keep these few simple rules in mind on your next trip to the dog park.