Training Tips: Having Fun at the Dog Park
Updated: Apr 26, 2019
By Emily Schultze
Dog parks are great! They give our furry friends space to play and run around with other dogs--and you get to meet other owners that also love to gush about man’s best friend. However, there are some important tips to keep in mind to make sure your dog has the best possible time. In this Training Tip Tuesday video, New Life K9 educators Rosa and Nicole talk about learning how to keep your dog happy and safe at the park.
The Right Environment
First things first, you have to think about what kind of dog park would be best for your furry friend.
Since different dogs have different needs, it’s time to think about what environment would be best for your dog. Do they always come back when called? Do they like playing with small dogs, big dogs or anyone who is excited to also run around? These are some of the factors to consider when picking the right place for you.
Rosa and Nicole use two dogs that are hanging out with them for the video as examples. Peanut, a small terrier, likes to have lots of room to run. However, she also harbors a love for hunting down all the nearby squirrels and other little critters in the area. So, Peanut would need a dog park with a fence since she doesn’t always come when called. Hercules, a large golden retriever, is more reliable. He would be able to go to a dog beach or park without fencing since there would be no worry about his attention being drawn away. He is also a big, friendly peacemaker, which makes Rosa and Nicole more comfortable taking him to different places.
Understanding Body Language
Once you determine where you and your dog should go, it is important to keep track of your dog’s body language.
When you are at the dog park, prevention is the best policy. Know what your dog looks like when they are uncomfortable and keep an eye out for those signs. Rosa and Nicole discuss how Peanut tries to avoid or walk away from situations that make her uncomfort
able, however, Hercules will
become nervous and jump on Nicole. Every dog is special and unique, so understanding your dog’s reactions will help you better respond to their needs. It is also important to know when your dog is tired and ready to leave the park, since energetic dogs that have just arrived can annoy a dog that is ready to rest.
Another thing to keep in mind is how easily your dog will recognize other dogs’ body language. Rosa tells a story of a customer from the pet resort who had recently moved to the San Luis Obispo area. They wanted to find a doggy friend for their younger dog, but she had a tendency to get nervous at the dog beach. Rosa was able to notice her body posture and recognize that she was much more comfortable playing with dogs that looked like her. Since dogs come in all shapes and sizes, it can be difficult for dogs with dramatically different bodies to get used to each others ways of communication. For example, boxers often like to box with other boxers since they already know that this behavior is a form of play. Knowing how your dog communicates can not only help you understand them better, it can also be useful in understanding how and why they interact with other dogs in a particular way.
The last thing that Rosa and Nicole talk about is making sure to have fun!
You’ve already done the work of picking the perfect spot and you are keeping an eye on your dog to make sure they continue to have a good time. Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy spending time outside with your dog!
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