Updated: Nov 8, 2021
Dog parks can be great depending on the dog, the owner, and the park itself, but they can also be horrible ideas depending on those same criteria. Here are some questions to ask yourself on if you should be taking your dog to the dog park.
Is your dog friendly around other dogs on and off-leash?
If your dog is not extremely friendly around other dogs, they have no business being in a dog park. The dog park is NOT a place for an owner to try to fix behavioral issues. Other dogs and owners there did not consent to be the guinea pigs for your dogs behavior issues, so it is highly irresponsible and unfair for you to treat unknowing owners and their dogs as such.
If your dog is not completely friendly and comfortable around dogs, do NOT take them to a dog park and consult with a certified dog trainer or behaviorist to help you work through this issue.
Do you pay attention to your dog when you are at the dog park? You are responsible for your dog when you take them out in public. Just because you take them off-leash to play with other dogs doesn't mean that you are off the hook. If you go to the dog park and immediately get on the phone and zone out from your dog, you shouldn't bring your dog to the dog park.
If your dog is causing trouble, playing too roughly, or being too rambunctious, you should be the one monitoring your dog and breaking up play that is not appropriate. You should also pay attention so you can be your dog's advocate. If your dog is being bullied, behaving timidly, or having a bad day, you should be there to quickly get your dog out of a bad situation.
If you can't give your dog the attention he/she deserves while you are at the dog park, you aren't responsible enough to take your dog to the park.
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