Your Guide to Going to the Dog Park for the First Time

Whether you’ve adopted an adorable Pooton or a friendly Havanese, you’ll likely be taking them to a dog park at some point. Dog parks are a great place to let your four-legged friend run around, have fun, and meet other dogs. However, if this is your first time at a dog park, you may not know the unspoken rules and the spoken regulations that come with them. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you navigate your first trip to the dog park.

Train your dog beforehandyoung boy running with puppy in dog park

Even if your pup is well-behaved at home, that doesn’t mean they’ll behave the same way at a dog park. Dog parks are filled with strangers—both two-legged and four-legged—and if it’s your first time there, the environment will be strange as well. An untrained dog may get nervous or even aggressive around the other dogs and owners, and this is the last thing anyone wants. Additionally, your dog may get over-excited and run off, putting themselves and other dogs at risk.

As such, we recommend that your pup go through all levels of obedience and socialization training before you take them to a dog park.

Do not bring food or treats

Most dog parks prohibit any kind of food or treats. This is because dogs may get over-excited or aggressive when food is out. So, keep the treats and other food in the car for your dog to enjoy once you leave.

Take some time before entering the park

When a new dog enters the park, the other dogs will become immediately curious. Some of these dogs may be unleashed, so they might rush over to the entrance to greet you. While their curiosity and friendliness are adorable, the other dogs may stress your own pup out. Thankfully, most dog parks are gated, so you and your dog can stand behind the gate until the other dogs disperse. Once inside, find an empty space for your dog to enjoy and get comfortable.

Keep them leashed at first

While many dog parks allow dogs to be unleashed, we recommend keeping your puppy leashed the first time you go. This is, after all, unknown territory with lots of other people and dogs about. There’s no knowing, then, how your own pup will react even if they are well-trained. Keeping them leashed in the beginning can ensure that they don’t run off where they’re not supposed to. If your dog responds well to the dog park, then you can eventually unleash them.

Observe your dog at all times

Dogs, unfortunately, can’t talk to us. So, they can’t tell us when they’re tired, bored, or stressed. That’s why it’s our job to keep an eye on them and on their behavior. If you notice any of the following stress signals in your dog, then it’s time to take them home:

  • Yawning
  • Moving slowly
  • Excessive panting
  • Drooling
  • Stiffness
  • Tucket tail
  • Avoiding contact with other dogs or people
  • Crouched posture
  • Looking away

Now that you know what to do, it’s time to take your new puppy to the dog park! If you’d like to adopt your own Pooton or Havanese puppy, contact Family Puppies today at 574-354-2428!