Dog parks can provide great social interactions for your dog, and you might be excited to get them out there and playing! Park play can be great exercise and social engagement for your dog when managed carefully. We've put together a list of tips and tricks about how to train your puppy to play in the park.
Make Sure Your Puppy Is Ready For The Park
Before you take your puppy outside, make sure that they have been properly vaccinated and are old enough to go out. If you are unsure, talk to your vet about appropriate age and vaccination requirements for your puppy. It is extremely important for your puppy to be fully protected before they go outside, as they could potentially contract dangerous illnesses and are vulnerable.
Check Out The Dog Park Before You Take Your Puppy
Some parks provide special time slots or separate areas where small dogs can play safely. Scout the area to check out how people and their pets interact, and if there are any spots you should avoid.
Get Your Puppy used To The Area Near The Park
Once the dog park passes your inspection, you can now start bringing your puppy to the park. To warm them up to the area, walk them near the park and stop outside the fence to let them sniff and explore their new surroundings before actually getting them inside.
Arrange A Playdate With Other Owners If You Can
If you are able, arrange a day at the park with some friends who are also raising puppies or small dogs. Ideally, set the playdate somewhere they can get used to each other without the distraction of other dogs. This a great way to slowly introduce your puppy to other dogs.
Keep Your Puppy Away From Other Dogs
To begin with, keep your puppy away from larger/older dogs. Small dogs may be intimidated by larger or older animals.
Pay Attention To Them at all Times
Take care not to allow yourself to get lost in conversation or distracted. It only takes a few seconds for your puppy to wonder off.
Use The Park as a Training Opportunity
If your puppy is rough with other pets, snips at people or generally misbehaves, use effective discipline to help him adjust to his new environment. Also, take your puppy on a “test run” through the park. Make sure your puppy is consistently responding to commands before allowing him to roam.
Not everyone is a responsible pet owner. If there are aggressive dogs in the park it is probably best to leave and come again another day when it is safer.
Keep Your Puppy Entertained
Most importantly, keep your dog entertained with games. Playing tag is a great way for letting your puppy burn some energy and stay occupied. On a side note, leave your puppies toys and treats at home! Other dogs at the park may become possessive of any items you bring, so it is safer to leave them at home to have later.