New to the dog park scene? Here are some guidelines:
- Only friendly, well-trained dogs are welcome at public dog parks. If you can’t control your dog off-leash, exercise him elsewhere.
- Supervise your dog at all times in case play gets rough. Just like children, dogs sometimes get over-excited and that’s when accidents and injuries occur.
- Wait until your pup is fully immunized (usually by 4 months) before introducing her to a play group. Until she gets bigger, play dates are best with dogs of a similar size.
- Take a young or timid dog to a play group when there are just a few easygoing dogs, not when it’s a free for all. Peak hours on weekdays are usually just before and after work: 7-9 a.m. and 5-7 p.m.
- If your dog behaves aggressively or starts a fight, remove him from the park at once.
- Keep your dog leashed until you are within the park limits. Also check for leash laws within the park; some don’t allow dogs to run free.
- Spayed and neutered pets are less aggressive than non-neutered dogs. Leave dogs in heat at home.
- Is water available? If not, BYOB, especially when it’s hot.
- Pick up after your dog. Many dog parks provide “poop bags.” If yours doesn’t, bring one from home.