August 1, 2014

Dog Park Safety Tips

Author: Celeste Glassman


When It Comes To Dog Parks, Safety Is Key!

There are many off leash dog parks in and around our service area, along with some dog friendly beaches in Chicagoland. Many people take their dogs to dog parks to burn off excess energy, socialize, and play. While those are all good reasons to head to the dog park, please take note of some dog park safety tips before your next trip inside the gates.

  1. It is important to make sure you dog is socially and physically ready for off-leash adventures with other people and dogs. Taking your pup to an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar sights and smells can be overwhelming at first.
  2. Does your dog know their name along with basic commands? Simple commands and name recognition can come in handy when it is time to leave or get your dog’s attention while at the other end of the park. (It is important to also note that not all dog parks are fully fenced. Utilizing a park with an open area makes retrieval commands even more important.)
  3. Before you head through the first gate at the park, spend a few minutes watching how the other dogs interact with each other. Are they playing rough, intimidating other dogs, are they of similar size?
  4. Supervise your dog at all times! If you have more than one dog, considering brining your spouse or friend who is familiar with your dog’s behavior. A dog park is not the place to get lost in a book or entertain children.
  5. Keep an eye on anything or anyone that looks suspicious. There have been cases of people wrapping nails in cheese and tossing them around dog parks!
  6. Be aware of the temperature and make sure your dog is hydrated. It is best to bring your own water and bowl to the park.
  7. Be careful about giving any food, treats, or toys to your dog while in the park. Some dogs cannot handle tight crowds of other jumping, barking dogs when an object of desire is produced.
  8. Always carry your cell phone with you while at the dog park. An emergency can occur within seconds, it is important to be prepared.
  9. Is your dog up to date on vaccinations? A record of vaccinations may be required before obtaining a permit for certain dog parks. However, other parks and beaches do not have restrictions. Don’t be afraid to ask other owners if their dogs are vaccinated.
  10. Lastly, it is important to know when it’s time to leave the park. Your pup may be wiped out and ready to relax at home.  It may be time to head out if your dog or other dogs are showing signs of aggression. It is best to avoid any potential situations before they get out of hand.

If all dog owners can remember these tips when heading to an off leash dog park, it can make the experience an enjoyable one for you and your pooch.

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