Dog Park 101

Dog Park 101

Here at Nuzzle, we love dogs and we love getting out and having fun.  So it made sense to contact an expert and get some tips on taking your four legged friend to the dog park. Dogs are born to play and run off leash, but modern-day living dictates they stay on in most situations. The universal exception, of course, is your neighborhood dog park. With the freedom that a fence provides—and lots of playmates—a dog park can be the highlight of any pup’s day. Before you head out, however, make sure that you and your canine companion are up on dog-park etiquette.

Wait until your dog is old enough: While it’s tempting to get your new puppy out and socializing as quickly as possible, there are several reasons why you need to wait until they’re at least six months old.

Cute puppy on couch

Waiting to go to the park

First and foremost, they should have all their inoculations before they interact with other dogs so that they can stay safe from disease. The dog park is also not a good starting point for socialization; it can be overwhelming. Start small and work your way up to the dog park once your dog is accustomed to good behavior with other furry friends.

Make sure they’re covered for safety: Having all inoculations up to date doesn’t just apply to puppies; adult dogs need to be current on theirs too when heading to the dog park. This applies to spaying/neutering, flea/tick meds, and heartworm treatment, too.

Choose the right size park: Many dog parks will have two different enclosures, one for big dogs and another for smaller dogs. Pay attention to the signs designating which is which and then go to the right one. You don’t want your big dog intimidating the little guys, and vice versa.

Keep your eyes peeled: It’s tempting to just let your dog loose and chat with fellow dog owners. There’s nothing wrong with being friendly and comparing notes, but it’s also important to keep an eye on your dog to ensure he or she is behaving and/or not being intimidated by others. Be ready to redirect if there are any negative interactions underway.

Pick up your dog’s mess: This one should go without saying, but make sure you have extra poop bags on hand to clean up after your pooch. Often dog parks will provide bags and trash cans, but come prepared just in case.

Avoid the dog park if you’re in training: If you’re still training your dog on leash walking, basic behavior and the like, it’s best to wait until all that training is ingrained before heading to the dog park. Otherwise, you might undo the time and money you’ve invested.

Head out when play time is over: All dogs, of any age, will have limits as to how long they want to play at the dog park. Look for signs of fatigue, disengagement, or showing any signs of stress. When you see them, it’s time to pack up and head home.

Heading Home from the Dog Park

Heading Home from the Park

Regular trips to the dog park can become a favorite way to spend time for both you and your pet. Stick to these guidelines to get the most out of the experience so that everyone leaves happy and ready for a little couch time back home.

About the amazing Author

Amanda Loudin is a freelance writer covering health/science, travel, and supply chain management for a wide range of publications. When she's not writing, she's outdoors, usually with a four-legged friend alongside her. 

About Nuzzle Clothing

Nuzzle was created by Kebby" Holden.  Kebby is a designer, an athlete and a dog lover.  She also founded Coeur Sports which is a sportswear brand and wanted a sister brand that offered stylish, fun and incredibly comfortable lifestyle apparel.