How do I keep my dog safe at the park?

  • Make sure your dog interacts well with others as the dog park is a place of high excitement and interaction. This level of excitement can bring out behaviors you may have never seen in your dog and this can affect their interactions with other dogs. For instance certain behaviors inherent to a breed- herding, chasing, guarding-may become much more apparent in this setting. A herding dog may be inclined to chase smaller dogs while a guarding breed may protect you the owner from all the other people and pets. Being at the park is full of new scents, people, animals and places- some animals may find this overwhelming. These are normal responses but definitely mean we need to be responsible about monitoring our dog closely.
  • Make sure your dog comes on command and has a very good basis in obedience. This is an excellent tool to have should you need to intervene in a situation.
    Bring your dog on a leash and harness to provide excellent control while you gauge your dog’s initial reaction to this environment. Most dogs can easily slip out of a collar especially if excited.
  • If you are worried about your dog’s interactions consider starting with social interaction on a smaller scale through a doggy daycare facility. A lot of local facilities can provide this service, allowing your dog to interact with a smaller group and even match the group of dogs playing to your dog’s size. Employees at these facilities can inform you of how your dog does and be able to intervene should any negative interaction arise.

How can I keep me dog healthy and protected from illness?

  • Just like daycare for children, interacting at the dog park can pose a risk to your dog’s health. Make sure your dog is up to date on their vaccinations, flea/tick prevention and has had a recent negative intestinal parasite screen checked.
  • Pick up your dog’s stool if they happen to go while at the park.
  • Clean up after yourself as well! While litter isn’t appealing to us at a park we will refrain from ingesting it! Any trash can be harmful or even toxic to the dogs if ingested.

Watch Dr. McNair discuss proper dog park etiquette.