Georgians love dogs. In fact, there are over a dozen dog parks in the Atlanta area alone. And as fun and healthy as it is to let your dog run and mingle at the park, there are things you can do to ensure dog park safety when there are lots of dogs interacting in a single area – both for your and your pet’s safety.
Even the nicest dogs can become aggressive or lash out when under duress and over-stimulated. Veterinarian and pet behavior consultant Dr. Wayne Hunthausen cautions: "Aggression is not uncommon at a dog park. It's certainly something pet owners need to be educated about. There are things they can do to prepare at the park—and even before." Check out these dog park safety tips before your next trip.
Tips for Dog Park Safety
Before introducing your pup to the park, read over the following safety tips and unwritten rules so that you and your pet can have a good time without incidents.
1.Leave treats or toys that your dog is possessive of at home. Bringing items such as these can spark jealously and aggression.
2.If your dog has an aggressive nature or is sick, do not bring him to the park. You do not want to put other dogs or humans in danger.
3.Make sure your dog’s vaccines are up to date before you go, and that her tag indicates her rabies clearance and your contact info.
4.Keep a watchful eye on your dog at all times. It is easy to get busy on your phone or swept away chitchatting with other owners, but it is important to be mindful of your dog the entire time so that you can intervene if a situation arises.
5.If your dog is a puppy, you will want to wait to introduce her to large, older dogs at the park. Some parks have designated areas for large and small dogs. Older, bigger dogs may instinctually become aggressive or bully a puppy. It may frighten and overwhelm her.
6.Make sure your dog’s recall abilities and basic obedience skills are up to snuff before you bring her to the park. If your dog will not stop, come, stay, or heel when told, disaster could easily escalate if your dog starts charging or becomes involved in a brawl.
7.Never try to break up a dog fight. You could get hurt. Bring an animal deterrent spray or an air-horn to intervene if need be.