Dog Park Dos and Don s

Dog Park Dos and Don s

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  1. Urban dog owners love dog parks. Let’s face it, in the city environment with very little space to speak of and thousands of dog owners, dog parks remain high in demand. They allow dogs of all ages, fitness levels and sizes to stretch their legs off-leash and run to their heart’s content. Dog parks provide a much needed compromise in areas without wide open spaces. Without them, the homeless pet and euthanasia ratios would likely be much higher because people would not have time to exercise their dogs appropriately.

    While these parks grant the community a safe place for their best friend to run and play off-leash and meet other dogs; the true intention of them has been lost. It’s too easy for the busy, social dog owner to just close the gates behind them, take off Fido’s leash and retreat to the area of other likeminded Washingtonians, while dogs just play by themselves. Granted, dog parks also present dog owners a great place to meet other people sharing the same interests and endeavors. But the true intention of them is to provide a place for the dog owner and their dog to interact with each other and engage in free-play. It’s a time when the owner should be carefree and bonding with their fuzzed friend- not checking the blackberry and trading business cards or phone numbers.
    Preparing for the dog park is like preparing for a short hiking trip. You’ll need a backpack filled with a dog bowl, water and some light treats for your dog to be praised with or to share with a new doggy friend they’ve made. Additionally, a pet and human first aid kit should always be with you. You never know when an accident or dog fight might break-out . Even the nicest of dogs might feel the need to lash out at someone, dog or human. A towel also comes in handy should your clever canine find some water or mud to play in. Most of all, bring toys but only toys you don’t mind losing. Tennis balls are an obvious choice, as well as tug toys. If sniffing the perimeter is all Fido wants to do, then walk with them. The whole point of taking them to the park is to be with them, not supervise them.
    Games to play at the dog park are limited. The obvious choices are retrieval games like “Fetch”, “Tug o’ War” and “Monkey in the Middle.” However, games like “Tag” or “Hide and Seek” can also supply plenty of entertainment. If other dogs engage in play with you and your dog, so be it. More players just bring more entertainment. Things you should never bring are stuffed Kongs or any type of other toy stuffed with food. This could cause a fight to break out. It’s safe to have treats in your pocket, just not in the toys.

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