Be park smart!

Here are a few tips to make your visit to the dog park more enjoyable for everyone.

Keep your eye on the bouncing dog.
Yes, it can be difficult to keep your dog close once they spot a friend across the park. But please do your best, and don’t expect the park to “babysit” your dog. You need to know where he is at all times, be close enough to correct him if his behaviour isn’t what it should be, and be ready to pick up after him when he poops.

It’s better if all the dogs are off-leash.
The instinct may be to keep your dog leashed until you see how she behaves around other dogs. However, leashing a dog can actually increase aggression in a dog park. Dogs faced with a fearful situation have a natural “fight or flight” response. If you take away the “flight” option by restraining them, they feel they have no choice but to fight. If two dogs meet off-leash, they feel more in control of the situation and therefore more relaxed.

Include training in your dog park visit.
Some people believe that if they start bringing their dog to an off-leash park as a puppy, and never take him anywhere else, they’ll never have to train him to answer their commands. In fact, it is particularly important at the off-leash park that your dog stop what he’s doing when you say ‘no’ and come when you call. (You will soon learn this when it’s time to leave.) With so many distractions around, a dog park is an excellent place to train your dog.

Keep moving.
Dogs tend to follow their owners’ lead. If people are standing around in a group, their dogs will eventually do the same. If things get crowded, a dog can feel trapped and suddenly turn on the others. Break it up with a short walk. Likewise, try to avoid contact with other dogs in the parking lot where cars are parked close together.

Bring your own poop bags.
While the Township supplies poop bags, we ask that you please bring your own. Only use the bags from the dispensers when you forget.

Calm him down before you let him go.
All dogs get excited when they get to the park. But some dogs can get over-the-top excited, especially if they’ve been alone all day. Hyperactivity is considered unhealthy dog behaviour and can attract aggression from other dogs. Keep your dog on the leash as you enter the park and step off to the side where he isn’t in contact with other dogs. Stay there, if possible, until your dog calms down. (Easier said than done we know, but you can, over time, teach your dog that being off-leash is a reward for good behaviour.)

Let’s not fight about it.
A dog park can be a great place to socialize a young dog. But if you have a dog that is already showing signs of dog aggression, it may be too late to change his behaviour by simply introducing him to other dogs. A couple of trips to the park should give you your answer. If your dog behaves aggressively towards other dogs on your first visit, leave immediately and try again another day.
If aggression continues to be a problem, please do not continue to come to the park. 

Make sure your dog drinks from a clean bowl.
Bring your own water bowl to the park, or rinse the dog park bowl before and after use. Bacteria and viruses can be easily transmitted from a sick dog to a healthy dog through drinking water. Kennel cough is a particular concern.

Please make use of the agility equipment, but not for your kids.
The park equipment is not designed for kids. It has already seen some damaged by improper use, and won’t last if human puppies are playing on it. Children must be supervised at all times in the park.

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