Dog Parks – Yes or No?
As dog owners, we can only hope to give them as much love and attention we possibly can. We also want to make sure they are happy! Exercise is one of the most important, beneficial ways we can do that for our dogs. Besides the obvious walks in the neighborhood or tossing a ball in the backyard, dog parks can potentially be another way for you and your dog to exercise, bond and play together. However, dog parks not be the best place for all dogs and their owners. It is important to make an educated decision on whether the dog park is the right place for your furbaby.
- Exercise!!! Prevents mental frustration, obesity and destructive behaviors
- Socialization with other dogs and their owners
- Socialization for dog owners with other dog owners
- Off leash play allowing dogs to run full out
- Lack of traffic / secured area
- Can expose you and your pet to viruses and bacteria
- Dogs’ behavior; yours and others
- Confrontations between dog owners can arise
Dog parks can be beneficial for a lot of dogs but also can be a negative experience for others. Dogs can feel overwhelmed by large groups of unknown dogs in their personal space. They’ll shy away and prefer one-on-one exercise and playtime. Some dogs are not good with social cues and thus do not communicate well with other dogs. Just like humans, not all dogs enjoy socializing at what we would equate to a party! The best way to determine if your dog is cut out for dog parks is to start with one-on-one play dates with a dog in your family or social circle. Watch their body language and watch for stress signals. If your dog has a fabulous time, move up to a play date with two to three dogs and let them learn how to play in a group. From there, you can move to visiting a dog park on “off” times where there will only be a handful of dogs visiting and so on.