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March 30, 2013
Maya & Friends @ Dog Park

My dog Maya makes lots of new friends at the dog park.

My Maya loves the snow but she is super-excited that spring is here again. Spring means more trips to the dog park! Before we went for a visit yesterday, I considered some pet safety tips that I needed to keep in mind.

No Food
I considered bringing Maya some goodies for training, but decided against it. If it turned out to be too many dogs there, I didn’t want envious dogs jumping in me and trying to search my pockets. Nor did I want to start a fight, as some dogs may try to fight over food.

No Toys
This same logic applies to toys. Some dogs are possessive of toys so it usually is not a good idea to bring toys for them to fight over. Even though Maya is not possessive, bringing toys might also mean her toys getting stolen.

Maya @ Dog Park with Frisbee

I broke my own rule when I brought a frisbee to the dog park for my dog Maya.

Vaccinations Up to Date
A lot of dogs visit the park, so there is a greater chance of spreading sicknesses. Not only is Maya vaccinated against rabies, distemper, and the parvovirus, but she also has a vaccination for bordetella. Bordetella is not as dangerous as the other, but it is more common.

No Running with Sticks
Maya loves sticks and she always finds one. And I always get so worried. I’ve heard first hand of dogs running with a stick, the stick getting caught in the ground as they run, and the other end of the stick getting jammed into the back of the dog’s throat. Luckily, the dog I heard of this happening to was okay (after hundreds of dollars at the vet), but it could have been far worse. I know our dogs love sticks, but please be careful.

Fenced
The only dog park in my area is unfenced. Luckily, Maya sticks around close so I don’t worry about her too much. But anything can happen. What if she sees a wild rabbit at the dog park? Will she run after it and out of my sight? Or will her training kick in? Maya is trained well when it comes to the recall, but she’s never been tested to this extent. If you’re not sure how your dog will do, find a fenced dog park. And always work on your dog’s recall. Coming when called should be something you always work on your dog with, even if it seems as though they’ve mastered it.

Maya @ Unfenced Dog Park

The dog park my dog Maya goes to is not fenced. There’s lots of wilderness to explore.

How to Handle Dog Fights
This is a tough one. Our instinct is to step in and break it up. But there are ways to break it up without endangering yourself. Here is a great article at ModernDogMagaine.com.

Watch Your Dog
Watching your dog’s behavior is your responsibility. If your dog looks uncomfortable or showing signs of getting agitated, it is your responsibility to remove your dog from the situation before it gets out of hand. It’s nice meeting other dog people, but don’t let your conversations distract you.

Keep Away from the Gate
If you’re at a fenced dog park, try to stay away from the entrances. There are two reasons for this. One, your dog will be less likely to get out and escape when other people go in and out. Two, consider the state of mind of the other dogs coming in. They are excited and tensions are high. When a dog in that state comes in and is immediately confronted by another dog, it might aggravate the situation. Keep your distance. Let other dogs come in and settle down.

Aggressive Dogs Should Stay Home
You might be wondering why I didn’t mention Pierson going to the dog park. Pierson does not do well around other dogs, so I am not taking any chances. The last thing I want is for some small dog to get hurt or some person to get bitten. You might think that bringing such a dog and keeping him on the leash will help, but it doesn’t. In fact, keeping him on a leash might make him feel even more insecure and make him more aggressive.

Pick up Poop
Dog poop is gross so pick it up. It is not just a common courtesy; it is a safety issue because poop carries bacteria and other germs.

Consider Your Small Children
If you have a small child, be aware of their safety too. Be on the lookout for big or rowdy dogs that might accidentally knock your child down. And be careful of your child being around dogs that are playing. Your child could be accidentally bitten or scratched.

Wear Outdoor Clothes
This isn’t so much as a safety issue as it is a reminder. A dog might jump on you. A dog might accidentally run into you and knock you over. A dog with muddy feet might step on your shoes. A big dog might come along and slobber all over your pants leg as he walks by. Know and expect this, and dress accordingly.

Maya had a great time at the dog park. Being a Lab, the first thing she did was find a body of water (which also happened to be a mud puddle). So we even walked a distance to the river so she could go swimming. At the area of the water, I also had to be careful of garbage. While swimming, Maya found a plastic bottle full of liquid. Unfortunately, trash is common at almost every park. So if you see it, perhaps for pet safety and for the consideration of others you can pick it up like Maya did and throw it away.

What else can you think of for dog park safety? Enjoy the spring weather and be safe!

Maya & Puddle of Mud @ Dog Park

Maya finds a big puddle of mud along one of the dog park nature trails.

Maya Goes for a Swim @ Dog Park

Maya gets to go swimming at the dog park so she can get all the mud washed off.

Maya Meets Dog Swimming @ Dog Park

Maya fetches her frisbee from the water and another dog at the park meets her at the edge.

Maya Finds Someting in the Water

What is that in the water, Maya?

Maya Finds a Bottle in the Water

Look what I found!

Maya Takes Away Garbage

Maya, that’s garbage. We have to go throw it away. Thanks for taking it out of the water.

Maya at Clinton Lake in Lawrence, KS

Maya really likes the stream at the dog park in Lawrence, Kansas. (Part of Clinton Lake)

 

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3 Responses to “Pet Safety Saturday – Dog Park Safety”

  1. Flea:

    I love your stream! You know, most of those rules apply to children at the park or the mall. All good common sense rules. Thank you!

  2. snoopy@snoopysdogblog:

    Lots of great tips! It’s good Maya is so well trained that she’ll probably come back, Mum doesn’t think I would if I saw a squirrel or cat to chase! Luckily our dog park is fenced, plus I also have a GPS on my collar if I ever did somehow escape somewhere – helps Mum to relax a little 🙂

    Have fun,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

  3. SephiAndMaya:

    A GPS collar is a good idea. Maya has gone off before to chase a rabbit, but luckily the rabbit escaped down a hole nearby. Thanks for stopping by, Snoopy! :0)