One of the most common places to take your dog is the dog park. It’s a place where you can socialize your dog, get some extra energy out, and meet like-minded dog owners. It seems like the ultimate place you would want to end up with your dog, but most dog owners have developed a fear of even coming close to one. Wanting a safe space, but finding something else altogether.
The issues we’re running into these days are the increasing number of dogs at the park, the lack of structure and training between the dog and their owners, and the very high chance of it being a disease-ridden environment.
Let’s break down dog parks to the good, the bad, and the very ugly.
Often, you will hear most dog trainers talk about how detrimental dog parks can be to a dogs mental and physical health. We do that because our experience has led us to believe it’s one of the most unsafe environments you can be in with your canine. Especially if you are trying to teach your pup how to feel calm and safe in this world.
So why do we head against them? Well, a few reasons. The first being control. In dog training, we
often like to start with little to no distractions. Having control over the environment your dog is in can lead to incredible results quickly. The dog park is one giant distraction, so if your pup hasn’t learned the basics in a learning-friendly environment, you won’t have the breakthroughs your looking for. The second reason professional trainers don’t vibe with dog parks: Energy. Sending our dogs into a chaotic space only gives them one option: to choose chaos. Our dogs match the energy that surrounds them. This is the number one reason that dog parks are the most common place for a dogfight to break out. It’s also the most
common reason a dog develops reactivity. The third reason dog parks can be incredibly unsafe is the amount of germs & disease running rampant. There’s no way to be sure of the vaccination status of the dogs running around the parks not to mention, the tons of gross bacteria that dogs carry around with them anyways. Hoping your dog won’t get sick is a shot in the dark.
Having control over the environment your dog is in can lead to incredible results quickly. The dog park is one giant distraction, so if y
our pup hasn’t learned the basics in a learning-friendly environment, you won’t have the breakthroughs your looking for.
Keeping your dog away from the park is absolutely no fun and we don’t recommend it! When heading out to the dog park with your furry friend, always ‘audition’ the place you’re going! Here are some questions to ask yourself:
How many dogs are at the park?
Are the dogs playing well with each other?
Are the owners being active with their dogs without their faces being glued to their phones?
Do you see sanitization issues?
Are there listed rules asking dogs to be vaccinated?
If any of the answers to these questions are less than satisfactory, it’s a nope from us!
There are so many other ways to socialize, train, and keep your dogs safe! Most public parks and hiking trails accept leashed dogs. What a great way to meet other pups and practice your leash work! Structured daycare and boarding facilities, like ours, are starting to pop up and is another great option for your pet. The structured part is what we cannot stress enough. Find a friend with a pup and hit your local dog-friendly coffee shop or brewery. You’ll be sure to run into other dogs, plus have a safe way to have fun with yours!