Exercise your dog before heading to off-leash park

By Brad Schneider, Dogtime Canine Recreation Company

The off-leash park is a great, enjoyable place for you and your dog to go. On the days when a dog park trip is planned, I recommend exercising your dog before you go — playing fetch, tug-o-war, hide and seek, scenting exercises, even sits, stays and downs.

The dog park is meant to be a place for dogs to socialize and play with their friends. Problems can occur when pet parents start playing with their dogs such as throwing balls or sticks for a game of fetch.

I witnessed just such a problem when a pet parent of a small dog threw a ball for him to fetch. A dog walker with a number of dogs in tow also saw the ball. The pack of dogs became excited and took off after the ball trampling the small dog to get it. The little dog was OK but it could have been a disaster.

All dogs have different drives and it’s best to keep there drive down so they can enjoy socializing with friends. While at the park I suggest always calling your dog back to “check in” then send him back into play session. (If your dog has become over excited chances of a solid recall could be slim.)

By watching your dog’s body language, this should let you know when he’s getting tired and that is good time to end the socializing. Tired dogs can become grumpy dogs and may react to stuff that they normally wouldn’t.

Enjoy the park and arrive and leave with smiles.  : )