Ever since the day you brought them home, your dog has truly lived up to the concept of man's best friend. Yet there comes a point when you know that you cannot be your pup's entire social world. Dogs need to socialize with other animals, and letting them romp with a few new dog friends helps burn off all of that puppy energy. However, you do need to make sure they are ready before you let them run through the gates of doggie paradise. Before you head out for your first dog park adventure, make sure it goes smoothly by checking these three essentials off your list.
Make Sure They Are Fully Vaccinated
It's frustrating, but not every dog owner is fully responsible for proper dog care. For this reason, you will want to avoid taking your dog to the park until they have at least had their rabies shot. If you plan to visit the park regularly, then it is also a good idea to ask your vet if they should be vaccinated for Bordetella or kennel cough. Then, make sure your dog has their rabies tag on the collar. While it may not be required, it demonstrates responsibility as a dog owner.
Scope Out The Park Alone First
All dog parks are not alike, and just like children's playgrounds, you will find there are certain times when they are better to visit. At the dog park, look for signs that it is hygienic such as disposable waste bag stands and a clean lawn. You will also want to scope out the ages and sizes of the dogs there to make sure that they are similar to what your pet is comfortable with when socializing. For example, you may prefer a dog park with a special area designed for small dogs if yours is a smaller breed or very young puppy.
Practice Socializing At Home
Dogs learn how to socialize best when they are in a familiar environment. Before you throw them into the doggie pen, ask a friend to bring their pet over for a one-on-one visit. Then, you may branch out to let your dog touch noses with a neighbor's pet while you are on a walk. Once your dog shows friendliness instead of wariness when meeting new dogs, you can be confident that they will fit right in at the puppy playground.
Taking your dog to the park is a great way to help them socialize, and you might even make a new friend or two. By making sure that your dog is fully ready and that the park fits their personality, you can be sure that you will both become regulars in no time.