There are so many great reasons to join a dog park. Socialization is the key to unlocking the best in your pups and getting them used to other animals and strangers. But there are a few things to keep in mind when joining a dog park, dangers that may be overlooked by park owners or impossible to trace. Recently, I took my dog to the local park that I thought was safe and ended up having to pull two large dogs off of my sweet mutt. These were dogs that were not socialized OR members of the park. This incident prompted me to share a few words of advice with other park goers:
-Take a spray bottle. Most dogs hate getting squirted in the face with water, so always have a spray bottle with you in case you have to break up a fight. NEVER break up a dog fight without some form of protection. When dogs are fighting over dominance and you jump in, chances are good that you will get attacked.
-Check ID’s. Almost everyone that is legitimately a member of a dog park will wear there ID badge around there neck. I noticed as the guy whose dogs attacked mine was quickly leaving, he was not wearing an ID badge. Before I could say anything, he was gone. So always wear your badge and always watch out for people don’t.
-Look closer at the ID badges. Just because someone is wearing a badge, doesn’t mean it is there badge! Many friends lend other friends their badge to skip out on paying for there own. This is a bad idea in case of injury, the original owner is liable and can be held accountable for what their friends dogs do at the park.
-Watch how other dogs interact with your dogs. If you notice an aggressive dog that is causing problems, don’t be afraid to talk to the owner. Kindly ask them to keep their dog under control and if they refuse to do so, report them to the park authorities.
-Finally, get involved! If there are changes you would like to see made at your local dog park, take charge! Call the park owner about becoming one of the park officals and offer advice and ideas about how to make the park better. It’s easy to assume that these changes would be obvious, but most owners never even visit their own park. So don’t be afraid to give your two cents!