Dog Park Pet Peeves
Author, Professional Pet Sitting Etc.
Most dogs enjoy a good romp in the local dog park, relishing the opportunity to run and play with some of their favorite four-legged friends and meet new friends along the way. But, as a pet parent, trips to the dog park may not be on the top of your list of things you enjoy. And why is that? Unfortunately, some fellow pet parents make the experience more frustrating than enjoyable, which is a shame, but what’s a pet parent to do? Well, you can either stop bringing your pooch to the park all together, or you may decide to offer some education to your fellow pet parents. Here’s a little help!
Pet Peeve #1 ~ Poor Park Sanitation
We all know pet parents who neglect to pick up after their pooch, leaving not only an eyesore, but the opportunity to spread disease and parasites to other dogs. How can you avoid the spread of disease, the unpleasant appearance of dog poop scattered about, and possibly make a new friend (hopefully!) at the dog park all at once? Bring extra poop bags and offer them to those who don’t clean up after their pooch leaves a pile. Hopefully the subtle hint will do the trick!
Pet Peeve #2 ~ Pet Parents Who Don’t Remove Harnesses / Choke Chains / Prong Collars
Although it may seem logical to leave a gentle leader, choke chain, prong collar, or harness on a dog when inside the park, it’s a bad idea. Most dogs tend to aim their playtime nibbles and nips at the neck and shoulders of other dogs and anything around a dog’s neck can lead to injury. Imagine your pooch having a good rough and tumble with his buddy the Bulldog, nipping at his neck and getting a mouthful of prong collar. Situations like this can lead to broken teeth, jaws, paws and legs, as well as potential dog fights if a panicked dog can’t detach himself from another dog’s neck. If you see a dog in the park with something around his neck, you can either attempt to keep your dog away from him, or you may opt to educate his pet parents on the possible dangers of their dog’s neck attire.
Pet Peeve #3 ~ Small Dogs in the Same Play Area as Large Dogs
The combination of small dogs and big dogs in one park is an invitation for trouble. Unfortunately, not all dog parks have designated play areas based on size, but they definitely should. Some large dogs may view a small dog as prey; for instance, a large Retriever may see a teacup Yorkie and think, “hey, a squirrel!” The high-pitched barks and quick movements of a nervous small dog may be all it takes to switch a Retriever’s calm demeanor to prey mode. If your local dog park does not have separate play areas for dogs based on size, it’s advisable that you find an alternative park for your own pet’s safety. You may even consider contacting the park’s management to request separate areas.
Pet Peeve #4 ~ Pet Parents Who Chat with Other Pet Parents Rather Than Supervising Their Dogs
As pet parents, it is our responsibility to monitor our canine companions. Taking your dog to the dog park is the equivalent of taking your child to a playground. Would you place your child on the swing and turn your back to chat with other parents? No! So why would a pet parent do this with their dog? Sadly, too many pet parents see a dog park as a place to let their pooch loose, sit down on a park bench, and initiate a friendly chat with a fellow pet parent while their dog runs wild. Always keep a watchful eye over your dog, because – chances are – there’s several others around you who are not keeping an eye on theirs.
Sure, we all have our own pet peeves when it comes to certain things, including visiting a dog park. But should we allow these peeves to deprive our beloved canine buddy from an enjoyable, active, social outing in the park? If any of your peeves equate to safety concerns for your pet, then the answer is yes. But, if you feel you can make a difference by sharing those concerns with others, and are comfortable approaching your fellow pet parents, perhaps some friendly conversation and education will do the trick!
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Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional. She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History.
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