The dog park is a great place to socialize your pooch and help him or her get out that residual energy especially if you only have one dog or live in a small apartment or house without a yard. Many pups LOVE racing around with other playful dogs, chasing a ball, or just sniffing all over. But are there hidden dangers you may not be aware of at the dog park? What might you need to know when considering going to one of these?
First, your Tempe pet sitter notes that it’s very important that you know your dog before blindly entering a bark park and letting him or her off-leash. You need a VERY social and friendly dog that will not react to rude introductions, displays of dominant, or unaltered male or female dogs to safely play at the dog park. Consider meeting many other dogs one-on-one first to see how your pooch does with lots of different other dogs before taking the leap to a bark park. Also, it may be wise to invest in some training classes so you can be sure and maintain control even when off-leash down the road.
Next, be aware and familiar with the location and kinds of dogs where you will be going. As a Tempe dog walker recently experienced, dog fights can break out easily so knowing what you might encounter in advance is wise. We recommend you visit the bark park without your pup at the time of day you would normally go to see what the temperaments are of the other dog park patrons and parents might be.
- Are there any extremely playful dogs or intact dogs there?
- Do they have separate small and large dog sections?
- What are the guidelines for the park?
- Maybe visit 2-3 times at the same time of day when you want to take your pooch as there will be other regular visitors then and you can assess the environment.
- Take it slow. Consider taking your pup to the bark park and staying on-leash to see how he or she reacts to the other dogs and to be certain your instructions will be followed even amidst many distractions.
- Maybe spend time in an area with fewer dogs first before jumping right into the fray of a large number of pups running around.
- Do NOT take an unvaccinated pooch to the dog park as this can literally cost them their lives. Parvo and Distemper are rampant viruses here in the Valley, so if you intend to visit the bark park please protect your dog! A puppy should have a series of 3 vaccines to be fully immunized from these terrible diseases, and an adult needs a yearly vaccine. Be sure he or she is up to date on their rabies vaccine as this is the law in Maricopa County.
Lastly, to prevent any upper respiratory infections, it is recommended that your pup have a yearly or bi-yearly Bordatella vaccine. Clients have mentioned that their dogs have become sick from visits to the dog park, so be aware of these risks. There is also the chance of picking up fleas and ticks as well. This Tempe pet sitter does not recommend taking any unaltered animals to the bark park. Males are much more likely to show dominant or aggressive tendencies with other dogs if unneutered, especially if any unaltered females are nearby. There is also the chance of an unwanted litter of puppies. Given the extremely high number of homeless and euthanized dogs in local shelters already, preventing more from being born is important. If visiting the bark park is done wisely, it can be a great experience for your pup and combat boredom, destructive behaviors, anxiety, and weight-gain. Take the proper precautions and have a safe and fun visit!