Monday, October 23, 2017

Helpful Tips for Your First Trip to the Off-Leash Dog Park

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Photo Credit: Adorable Animal Canine Cute Dog

There is so much to learn about taking care of a dog when you get one -- no matter whether you get a brand new puppy or rescue an adult dog. In addition to learning about their personality, food choices, health problems, and more, it's important to learn how to handle them in regular, daily situations, like taking them on a walk -- or taking them to the dog park. Off-leash dog parks are great destinations for dogs who don't have fenced yards and who want space to run. They can also be great social opportunities for dogs to interact with other furry friends.

If you've just got a dog and you want to take him or her to the dog park, there are some important things you should know before you go. By keeping these important tips in mind, you can keep your dog (and the other dogs at the park) safe during your trip, and you can ensure that everyone stays healthy and happy -- and has a great time!

Start Small
The first time you go to the dog park, try going at an off-hour, like during the work day or early on a Sunday. Hopefully there will be some dogs there, but it won't be overwhelming like it can get in the mornings before or evenings after work. By starting during an off-hour, you can get your dog used to the space and what it feels like to run off leash around other dogs.

Pay Attention
When you bring your dog to the park, don't just let him off the leash then get on your cell phone. You need to watch your dog and how he interacts with other dogs to make sure that everyone is getting along okay and safe. You'll also want to be ready to pick up his poop if he goes at the park -- it's good etiquette for all dog owners.

Make Sure Your Dog is Fully Immunized
Young puppies shouldn't go to the dog park, nor should dogs who haven't had all of their immunizations. Dogs who haven't got all their shots can pick up things like Giardia at a dog park -- so you want to make sure your pup is fully protected before you let him romp with all of his friends.

Get to Know Your Dog Well

It's key to get to know your dog well before you head to the park. This means that you should know whether or not he is aggressive with other dogs or humans, whether he is overly fearful, and whether he handles the company of other dogs well. Try taking your puppy to play with a friend's dog, and see how he behaves. If you adopt a rescue, get to know how the dog handled being around other dogs in the shelter or in a foster home. If you can't find out, test your dog out around other dogs. You want to ensure that your dog can handle the environment of the park, and that you're not putting him or the other dogs in the park in a situation that may become stressful.

Do an Off-Leash Experiment First
Before you let your dog off his leash at the park with other dogs, try letting him run off the leash in another enclosed space (especially if you don't have your own fenced-in backyard). Visit a friend's house with a yard, or go to a playground or tennis court (when no one else is there). Make sure your dog is calm and well-behaved when he is off the leash, and work on recall. By practicing off-leash, you can ensure that your dog won't be overexcited during his first visit to the park.

Go to the Right Area of the Park
At many dog parks, there are separate areas for big dogs and little dogs. Make sure that you take your dog to the appropriate side of the park. This is a common courtesy to other dog owners, whose dogs may not react well to a dog that isn't the same size. Also, be prepared to interact with other dog owners while you're at the park. Every dog has its own personality, and likewise every owner. So understand that you're probably going to meet some very interesting dog owners during your visit. If you watch your dog closely, clean up after him, and ensure that he is playing nicely with the other dogs (i.e. sharing, not mounting dogs to show dominance, etc.) you will have just as good a time at the park as your dog does.

If you take your dog to the dog park, it's important to take your dog to the vet regularly. The vet can ensure that your dog is in tip top shape, and that he hasn't got injured or picked up things like fleas from any other dog. He can also protect your dog from diseases that can be contracted outside -- like heartworms, which is spread by mosquitoes. Your doctor can give your dog Heartgard Plus to protect him from heartworms, and ensure that he feels healthy and energetic to keep going to the dog park for years to come!

Listed below are some references that can guide you for how to protect your dog from heartworms.

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