Mind your manners at the dog park | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Mind your manners at the dog park

Dawn Armstrong
Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A.

Ever more popular, dog parks are new features at RV parks, some are private with membership dues, entry cards and dog play equipment. Dog parks are distinct from “leash free” areas such as beaches or fields in that dog parks have contained areas where dogs are off leash specifically to socialize with other dogs. Dog parks are not children’s play grounds or adult activity centers. In fact, noisy active children can represent “prey” for already excited dogs. Inattentive, chatting guardians miss canine body language clues which can endanger their pet.

The human companion is responsible for his or her dog’s manners, health, safety and mess. Some dogs should never go to a dog park. Like some people, they are loners or stressed by other dog activity. It’s up to the guardian to recognize and accept it. Otherwise, dogs who feel threatened or uncomfortable get themselves into trouble reacting for self protection. If your dog gets over excited or aggressive to other dogs or people, leash up and leave the park immediately.

If your pooch loves to party, here’s a short list of common-sense practices to assure a satisfying, fun play time for both of you.

– Check out the scene before you take your dog in. Get a feel for the people and pet attitudes. Learn and observe dog body language. It only takes one contrary dog or person to create a threat. Choose another park if it doesn’t feel right.

– Make sure your dog is fully vaccinated before you go, including bordatella for kennel cough. Diseases are spread in drool, nips, toys and exposure to poop.

– Remember that dogs inside the park will be curious about the new dog coming. Use double gates as a transition – one dog at a time – and release your dog off leash when safely inside the fence.

– A trained dog is a safe dog. Train your dog to pay attention when you call. Dog park distractions challenge the focus and behavior of any dog. Keep your dog in sight, leash in hand for rescue if needed. Dogs talk, posture and communicate to each other in amazing ways. However, not all dogs understand their own language.

– Young puppies and female dogs in heat should never, ever be at the dog park.

– Take off choke chains, prong and spike collars. Dogs at play injure themselves and others when collars get hung up, prongs pierce skin or are forced down a dogs throat. Teeth and nails get caught and torn.

– Pick up your dog’s poop immediately and consider picking up other poop as well. A responsible community attitude makes or breaks a dog park.

– Leave treats in the car. People food and dog treats create competition. Respect other dog owners by not offering treats to their dogs.

For questions on information presented here, call (530) 542-2857

Provided by the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A. to help “Keep Tahoe Kind.”

Dawn Armstrong is the executive director of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A.


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