No matter what type of dog you have, they all need exercise. Unfortunately, most of us have busy lives and don’t always have the time or opportunity to walk our dogs as often as we would like. As a result, some people either let their dogs out in the back yard or take their dogs to a local dog park.
My dog, Toby, is almost 13 years old and the only time I ever took him to a dog park was to practise obedience training—specifically recalls or come when called on a long leash. While I don’t have a lot of personal experience with dog parks, I have heard some disturbing stories from other people.
Ideally, dog parks were intended to be places where people could take their dogs to get some exercise and socialize with other dogs. Unfortunately, some people take aggressive dogs or dogs that are sick and potentially contagious to these parks as well. I heard a story just this week from a lady whose Yorkie was attacked by a large dog at a dog park and now her dog has aggression issues that he did not have before he went there.
Below are some advantages and disadvantages of using dog parks.
• An opportunity for your dog to interact with other dogs
• An opportunity for your dog to interact with other people
• An opportunity for high energy dogs to exercise off leash
• A good source of mental stimulation for your dog
• An opportunity for owners to observe other dogs and learn from more experienced owners
• A good place to practise obedience training when no other dogs are there
• Potentially dangerous if aggressive dogs are at the park
• Potentially dangerous if other dogs are diseased or have parasites
• May not be appropriate for small and large dogs at the same time
• Potential for owners to be injured as well as dogs
• Intact (not neutered or spayed) dogs may create problems
• Owners who cannot control their dogs
Dog parks are a good place for your dog to get some exercise but you also need to spend time with your dog by taking him for one-on-one walks.
If you have taken obedience training with your dog, this is a good time to practise your obedience routines which provide mental stimulation. Before you go to a dog park, check it out without your dog and find out if there are rules and regulations and if there is someone to enforce the regulations. Also, is there a separate, fenced area or different hours for small dogs and is there an area for owners to sit down.
Have you been to a dog park before with your dog? If so, share your experience with us.