When it comes to taking your dog for a walk or on an outing to a park, there is no shortage of brilliant places to go. Allowing your dog to interact with strangers and their pups, especially for the first time, can be a daunting experience. We’ve put together 5 tips for making the most of your day in the sun.

  1. Take Off the Leash

This may seem obvious but there are many owners who are hesitant about the potential outcomes of taking the leash off their dog in public. There is little point in going to a dog park if you intend to keep your dog leashed – once you’ve done the recommended training and observed the safety of the park, allow your dog to run around. Remaining leashed will cause undue stress to your dog; they can get tangled and injured by constantly pulling at your control. If you’re even slightly nervous, your dog will sense that through the leash and will replicate your anxiety.

  1. Ensure Everyone Is Enjoying Themselves

It is important to remain vigilant and keep your focus constantly on your dog, no matter what distractions you may encounter. Stationary human groups often result in too many dogs gathering in one place, so make sure you keep moving slowly around the park.

If your dog isn’t enjoying the experience or becomes nervous in the presence of other misbehaving dogs, you need to leave straight away. Alternatively, if your dog is thoroughly enjoying themselves, you should stay as long as possible. Read your dog’s body language  to assess their enjoyment levels.

  1. Don’t Bring Treats and Toys

In public areas, there is no room for possessive, guarding or aggressive behaviour. Bringing toys and treats to the dog park sets up the potential for dogs to engage in stealing or fighting. However, you might want to bring one treat or your dog’s favourite toy in case your dog does not obey your commands when trying to leave the dog park. You can use this tool to regain your dog’s attention.

  1. Complete the Proper Training

Untrained dogs have the potential to cause bad behaviour in other dogs at the park. Make sure your dog has an understanding of basic dog commands before socialising them with strangers. At the very least, it is imperative for your dog to understand the “come” command before venturing to dog park for the first time. Begin training your dog as early as possible to avoid negative behavioural habits.

  1. Relax and Have Fun

Dog parks are fun places! There should be no reason why you can’t settle in and relax while you’re out with your canine friend. Occasionally remind your dog that you’re in control by using the “come” command, talk quietly and calmly to your dog to prevent over-stimulation and you’ll both have a great day!

To get your dog ready for their first trip to the dog park or if you have any enquiries, contact the NDTF online or call 1300 66 44 66.