Dog Park Safety
In Michigan and other parts of the country, the ongoing rise in the popularity of pet dogs has led to ever increasing awareness of the social needs that these animals have, as well as the opportunity for city beautification offered by the construction of off-leash play areas for these pets. With this in mind, dog parks have become a common fixture in towns and cities, affording dog owners an ideal location to bring their pets and allow them to play and run without concern of leash laws and the threat of a dog running out into the road or otherwise putting themselves in danger. While the benefits of dog parks are undeniable, they also pose unique risks for the people and dogs that frequent them. When a large number of unfamiliar dogs are placed in close proximity with one another and forced to interact, the result is sometimes aggressive behavior and fights which must be broken up and may result in serious injuries to both people and animals.
Preventing Attacks at the Park
Dog parks usually have a set of rules posted at them, but there is no true way of enforcing these rules without constant supervision by an authority figure. This means that the rules are typically bent and broken more often than not, and it is up to you to protect yourself as much as possible by adhering to the following simple guidelines:
- Train your dog before bringing it to the park. Basic commands such as sit, stay, and come will be invaluable in controlling your pet and preventing an altercation.
- If your dog becomes aggressive, intervene immediately to prevent the incident from escalating. If undesirable behavior continues, remove the dog and try again another day.
- If you know that a dog is aggressive or anxious, do not bring them to a park situation where they will be faced with a large amount of social pressure all at once.
- Allow dogs to adjust to large groups slowly in order to give them time to acclimate to the new social condition. Dogs which have spent little time with other dogs may not socialize well at first.
- Never drop your dog off at a park and leave him or her unsupervised. Sadly, some people view these enclosed areas as a place where they can leave their pet to play while they go take care of other errands. Sadly, this leaves the unsupervised dog, and everyone else at the park, in danger. Should your dog become aggressive, you need to be there to control the situation, and even worse, if another dog becomes aggressive and harms your dog, you need to be there to get your pet the help it needs.
By making you and your pet as safe as possible you will reduce your risk of being involved in an accident, but there is little that you can do to prevent the negligence of other owners. Be aware of the situation at the dog park and always ready to remove yourself and your pet should it become dangerous.