Do not bring intact (not neutered) dogs to the park. A female in heat can cause aggression among other dogs at the park as well as unintentional breeding. Intact males are more likely to mount other dogs and those dogs (and their owners) may not appreciate this behavior.
Do not bring unvaccinated dogs to the park. There is likely going to be dogs that are not vaccinated and potentially ill at the park. This means there is a chance your dog may become ill from contact with these dogs or their feces. Puppies should have all three sets of vaccines before they visit the dog park for the first time. To be safe, ensure your dog’s vaccines are fully up to date before you head out by calling your veterinarian’s office.
Pick up after your dog. Although it is an off-leash park please watch your dog and pick up after them if they have a bowel movement. Many parks will have ‘poo’ bags available but tying a few shopping bags to your leash or having a dispenser means you will never be without.
Off-leash parks are not meant for socialization of puppies or fearful and aggressive dogs. These parks are often overwhelming for these pets and can cause set-backs in any progress you may have made with your timid or aggressive dog. There are many trainers and behaviourists that hold socialization sessions in controlled environments. These sessions are a much better place to help your dog gain the confidence and maintain the control he needs to join the fun at the park!
Deworm monthly. Pets that frequent off-leash parks will come in contact with other dogs (and their feces) that may be shedding eggs into the environment. There is also the potential for them to contact or consume small mammals, contaminated water or vegetation that could give them intestinal worms. During tick season it is important to give or apply a preventative and to check your pet thoroughly for ticks after each visit. There are multiple forms of deworming medication and tick prevention available through your veterinarian.
Don’t bring your dog’s valuables to the park. If your dog has a favourite toy or ball, leave it at home. These items can cause a fight if another dog shows interest in the item. Off-leash parks are often large and sometimes not maintained making it hard to find a ball or toy that you’ve thrown or your dog has set down somewhere. Save some grief (and money) and only bring toys you and your dog are willing to part with.
Enjoy your next adventure at the off-leash park!