This is mainly written from the perspective of a city dweller who holds down a nine to five job and where open space is considered a premium.
Poor Fido, cooped up in the empty house for hours on end just waiting for you to come home after a hard day at work. Naturally, when you come strolling through the door he’s going to treat you like the return of a conquering hero and after greeting you is also going to want to go to the great outdoors and take care of some “personal business”. After that, the pooch is probably going to want to play a game or two of fetch before curling up at your feet and settling in for the evening.
And then the routine resumes again the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that and so on and so on.
Sounds pretty boring doesn’t it?
Well, if you want to give Fido a break from the monotony and allow him some time with his fellow canines, you might want to consider a trip to your local dog park. It’s a place where dogs of all kinds and shapes and sizes get to socialize with one another and be free from the leash for a change.
Just like happy hour for us humans, there are a few things you need to take into consideration before letting your dog have a bit of freedom.
Know the clientele
Have you ever walked into a strange bar, took a look around and somehow just sensed that some people there just weren’t “right”? Or, maybe that you felt out place because of the surroundings? Well, you should know the same thing about your dog.
Just like humans, some dogs will just not get along with each other and will start snarling and snapping at each other. Is your dog passive or aggressive when confronted? Is it big or small in comparison to other dogs in the park? Since you never know what other types of dogs will be there it’s a pretty good idea to know your own dogs temperament and how they get along with other members of their species. If you have friends who also have dogs and they already know each other and get along, it might be a good idea to schedule your visits as a group.
Don't give anybody any shit
That's right, no shit. Some dog parks have pooper scoopers on hand but play it on the safe side and bring one of your own. Don’t forget to bring some plastic bags along so you can tidy up during your visit.
Play it safe
Unless you’re in the business of breeding your dog, make sure it’s either spayed or neutered before taking it to the park. Male dogs will make friends quicker and female dogs will be spared the advances of potential suitors.
You must be 21 or over to enter
Just like bars try to avoid serving alcohol to underage drinkers, dog parks have certain rules regarding age. While nobody is asking you to prove your age you should consider the following.
Puppies, while cute as hell, might be intimidated by the sudden onslaught of so many companions. Besides, nobody want to see that adorable bundle of fur trampled or injured by their curious elders. There also the possibility that they haven’t had all of their shots and be more susceptible to disease.
While you might think it’s a good idea to bring along some snacks as a treat or reward for good behavior, it’s usually not. Dogs can get pretty competitive when it comes to food and it just isn’t worth the risk. Water is just fine.
We reserve the right to withhold service
Bars have bouncers to deal with unruly customers. Dog parks do not so it’s up to you to monitor and discipline your dog accordingly. If your dog is not getting along with others, remove him from the situation as soon as you can. This is done as a courtesy to other lovers of Man's best friend since nobody needs to be suing anybody over dog bites or paying unnecessary visits to the vet.
If you follow these simple tips, chances are your dog will be a lot happier and easier to live with.