7 tips to keep man's best friend safe at the dog park

Off-leash dog parks are a great way for your dog to get some exercise. Just be sure to observe some basic tips to keep your pooch safe:
  1. Stay engaged with your dog. Don’t allow your dog to wander far away, unsupervised, while you chat with the humans. You need to be aware of any anti-social behavior so you can put a stop to it or leave, if necessary.
  2. Save the treats for home. Good smelling treats in your pocket may pose an overwhelming distraction for other dogs. That can be frustrating for other owners, and it puts you at risk. Besides, dispensing treats to your dog can cause others to crowd around, and that could make your otherwise placid pup agitated and aggressive.
  3. Toys for good sharers, only. Skip the toys if your dog is overly possessive. But, if your pup steals or hoards other dogs’ toys, sadly you may need to skip the park altogether.
  4. Respect leash restrictions. Leash your dog in the parking lot. There are too many distractions (and often, too much traffic) at a dog park. You put your pet at risk by trusting he or she will remain calmly by your heels as you return to your vehicle.
  5. Unleash and unharness inside the park. Remove leashes, collars, and other harnesses inside the park. Dogs can get tangled in each other’s gear.
  6. Bring water. If your park doesn’t have an on-site water supply, remember to bring your own. Keep your furry friend safe by providing plenty of opportunities to stay hydrated.
  7. Clean up. This should go without saying, but clean up after your pet. Dog poop can carry diseases and parasites. Mind your manners — and your dog’s health — and keep the play area clean.

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