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Safety at the Dog Park
Article contributed by Bed n Bones

Do you ever wonder how safe you and your dog are at the neighborhood dog park? This is a valid question and one where precautions are warranted.

You need to know your dog first and foremost. Is your dog the happy-go-lucky lab that loves everyone and everything, the feisty jack russell that will tolerate very little, the border collie that believes real fun only comes when rounding up every dog in the park, or the boxer that wants to jump up and box every dog in the face and the list goes on.

Every dog has behaviors it can tolerate and a limit to how much it will take. It is critical to pay attention to cut-off signals in dogs. This is the behavior that one dog tells another that it is done playing, sniffing, whatever. It can be to stop suddenly in the middle of play, go and get a drink of water, come stand next to their owner or a myriad of other subtle changes. When your dog says he is through, step in and redirect the other dog. This will let your dog know that he doesn't have to matters into his own hands but can count on you to do it for him. He will soon just look at you to let you know when he is done with a certain dog or situation. Redirection can be whistling, throwing a ball, clapping of hands, a loud, happy voice telling them the party is over here, a squirt bottle or keeping a squeaker in your pocket and giving it a quick squeeze. It is amazing how quickly every dog will stop what they are doing when they hear a squeaker. This can be a life saver when done at the right moment. Hopefully, you are at a park where their owners are paying attention to their dogs and not just chatting on the other side of a 3 acre play yard. This would be the time to ask the owner if they wouldn't mind letting your dog take a break. Be polite and let them know your dog gets fatigued quickly. It goes much further in good will then shouting that their dog is a bully.

With that said, don't let the dog park bully take advantage of your dog. If he mounts your dog, remove him. If he is standing over your dog and will not let your dog get up (very intimidating to most dogs), remove him. If he is mouthing too hard on the neck or pulling fur, time to correct the dog. Very few dogs do not know the words, "NO".

Remember, the dog park should be a fun place to exercise and socialize your dog. If it has become an unsafe environment, take your dog to a doggy daycare facility instead. No sense in waiting until a visit to the vet is in order.

contributed by: Bed n Bones
Dog Boarding on a 15 Acre Ranch in San Juan Capistrano



Bed n Bones
Dog Boarding on a 15 Acre Ranch in San Juan Capistrano

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