Off-Leash Dog Parks – Part I

To Play or Not to Play?

In my opinion off-leash dog parks are not the best choice for toy play. Your dog may love their Frisbee or ball and both are excellent options to exercise your dog, however, the off-leash dog park is not the best place to bring out your bag of toys.

Even if your dog does not have guarding issues and is more then happy to share toys, other dogs may not. I have seen more than one dog fight break out over sticks, frisbees and the infamous orange Chuck it balls and frankly the risk is not worth it. The dogs on the field may be great playing and wrestling with other dogs and show no signs of aggression until….. toss a loose ball into the mix and all hell breaks loose. Even if you are lucky enough to be on the field with dogs that don’t have guarding issues there are always plenty of ball thieves at the park (Boomer is guilty as charged!) and you may find yourself chasing said thieves all over the field more then playing with your own dog.

Also worth mentioning, it has been my observation that many dogs don’t show any interest in socializing with other dogs when a toy is in their field of vision. So, if you head to the park in hopes to help socialize your dog and romp around with some doggie friends, your efforts may be foiled if you have a toy out on the field.

Right about now you might be thinking, why not bring my toys to the park?  It’s a public park and I can use it as I see fit. Yes, it is a public park and by definition, YOU are not  the only person using it. As members of the public it is our responsibility to use it in a respectful manner that is safe for all.

Personally, I like to leave the ball in the truck or in my jacket and will have a toss if dog friends are few and far between BUT  if the dog park is teeming with dogs , the toys go away. It is a personal pet peeve of mine to find someone throwing toys right through a pack of playing dogs; it’s just an accident waiting to happen. Unless you are fortunate enough to know all the dogs and owners well enough to ensure you won’t have an issue, use your judgement, play it safe, and find a quiet end of the park to pull out your toys or just keep the toys under wraps.

Just a thought,

Anthea

Off Leash Dog Parks – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The off leash dog park concept has grown in popularity over the past decade.  With an increase in the call to responsible dog ownership, the importance of socialization and conditioning to your dogs overall well being, and the increase in urban development and subsequent decrease in green space, the off leash dog park can be an excellent resource to dog enthusiasts.

I have frequented many off leash dog parks and as much as they can be an excellent way to exercise and socialize your dog, I have also observed many downfalls to this concept. I am by no means saying that dog parks are bad, I have enjoyed many hours watching my dog ripping around with his new found friends and overall I would say my experience has been positive. That being said, there are definite cons to this type of environment, all preventable in my opinion, and it is up to us as responsible dog owners to ensure that ALL patrons of the off leash dog park, two and four legged alike, are doing our part to provide a safe and positive environment for all.

My top three pet peeves when at the Dog Park: Owners (some, not all!), Toys, and Doggie Doo.

Stay Tuned,

Anthea