Thursday, March 4, 2010

Celebrating National Clean Dog Park Awareness Week: March 21-27

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(c) photo copyright Carrie Boyko
 Tanner is Greeted by Park Guests

What can one person do to make a difference? Here's a start:
  • Visit Adopt a Dog Park for information, ideas, and to learn how you can officially Adopt your own favorite park.
  • Write to LetsAdoptaDogPark@gmail.com to name the park you wish to adopt and provide your name, and email. Your privacy will be protected. Your name will be listed on the site, only IF YOU WISH. Feel free to include photos of your dog (no people please) playing at your adopted park. By sending these photos to us at LetsAdoptaDogPark@gmail.com, you agree to allow them to be posted on Adopt a Dog Park or All Things Dog Blog.  Don't forget to tell us your furry friend's name!
  • Walk your entire dog park every time you visit, picking up trash, broken toys, and doggie landmines for the trash. Our government funding for public parks is dwindling, so we need to step up to make the difference. Other dog owners will notice your efforts and often follow suit, so set the example and your job will get easier.
  • Train and socialize your dog properly before taking him to a dog park. For his protection, be sure he is old enough, and has had all his shots before entering. Dog parks are not an appropriate venue for shy or fearful dogs. Your veterinarian can tell you when the time is right.
  • Be a vigilant owner. Keep an eye on your dog and his behavior, as well as other dog's attitude toward yours. Be his advocate when needed.
  • Remember to check the rules for your park. Most suggest you do not bring in treats or other food. This is for your own protection, as some dogs may be food aggressive.
  • If you choose to bring toys to the dog park, be prepared to part with them, or have them destroyed. An entire park full of dogs playing with your rubber duckie will mean certain death, so just be aware of this likelihood.
  • Train your dog to "leave it", in order to retrieve another owner's toy from him, when necessary.
  • Finally, you can keep you and your dog out of harm's way if you follow two very important dog park rules: (1) Mastering the COME command is essential to bring your dog to your side when a scuffle breaks out. You don't want your dog checking out the argument. (2) Know how to properly break up a dog fight: NEVER try to grasp a dog's collar, as your hand will be in danger of getting nipped. Grab your dog by the hips with one hand on each side. Pull him backwards away from the other dog until you are well clear of the problem. Sit/Stay your dog until he is completely relaxed and not paying attention to the other dog. Maintain a calm,in-control, attitude that will hopefully rub off on your dog. Do not allow yourself to become anxious or fretful. This WILL be soaked up by Fido, and will not help the situation at all. If relaxation does not occur, it is definitely time to go home.
  • For more dog park tips, I encourage you to read my article on Guidelines for First Time Dog Park Visits.
  • You may also wish to read my 3-part series on GREEN FAMILY FUN: Let's Visit the Dog Park. This series covers child safety as well as expanding on many of the topics included above: Part I, Part II, and Part III.
Are there questions about your dog park experiences that you would like to ask? Whether you wish to ask me, or perhaps our trainer, we would love to help you with any challenges or concerns you may have. Your comments or questions can be posted below, just left of the cute little envelope icon, or send me an email at LetsAdoptaDogPark@gmail.com. Hope to see you at the park!


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