A dog park is a fenced-in facility that allow exercise (off-leash and on), socialisation and mental stimulation for community canines. Additionally, owners have the opportunity to connect with other people, interact with various types of dogs, and bond with their pet in a fun environment. A standard dog park has double-gate entries for safety purposes, separate areas for large and small dogs and trees/picnic tables for shade. While a responsible pet owner needs to assess the potential cons of using a dog park, these controlled environments can also enable your dog to become highly-socialised, well-exercised, happy and healthy. Dog guardians are required to follow local dog park rules, etiquette and safety guidelines. If a dog park sounds like a promising place to take your canine, read on.
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Use online resources. The website Dog Park has extensive information about local dog park facilities, including a printable PDF file of dog parks in the United States and Canada. Additionally, this resource is excellent for travelling with a dog, to ensure that your canine gets plenty of off-leash exercise while on the road. Other excellent online resources are: EcoAnimal, Dog Friendly and Dog Park USA.
Ask around at pet stores and veterinary offices. Check notice boards for ads, chat with other dog owners, and inquire about dog parks in your area. Oftentimes in areas where dog parks are in multiple quantity, dog owners have a favourite. Be sure to listen to their reasons--you'll learn inside tips about less-crowded times, frequent canine visitors and their owners, and dog park conditions.
Call your city's Department of Parks and Recreation Office and ask about your local dog parks. Don't have one? Ask if there are plans for future construction or learn the protocol for getting one started.
Tips and warnings
- Follow all dog park etiquette.
- Make sure dogs have fresh water.
- Find out if your local dog park requires the purchase of a dog park tag.
- Learn about canine body language before you go--this will alleviate personal concerns and help prevent dog fights.
- Pick up after your dog.
- Honestly assess your dog's temperament before going to a dog park.
- Dogs must be healthy, current on vaccinations and have an active, registered license.
- Follow dog park safety at all times.
- Never leave your dog unattended.
- Do not bring small children inside a dog park.
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