The dog park is a convenient place to take your dog for play and exercise. It can also be a place to socialize with other dog owners. However, it also presents some dangers. There is always the possibility of a conflict between dogs. When two animals don't like each other, the consequences can be quite serious if either humans or canines are injured. Let’s look at how this happens and what you can do to prevent it.
Find the Right Dog Park
Dog parks are everywhere now. Not all of them, however, are equally safe. Before you let your dog loose in a dog park, do your own reconnaissance mission. Look for evidence that the dog park is well maintained and attended by responsible owners.
Plenty of room, secure fencing, poop-bag dispensers and trash cans are all positive signs. It’s also a good policy to keep smaller and larger dogs separated. On the other hand, there are also warning signs that you should stay away. These include overcrowding, poorly maintained or non-existent fences and owners who are inattentive.
Train Your Dog
A well-trained dog is the best protection against unwanted scuffles with other dogs. This isn’t a guarantee that there won’t be a problem, of course. No matter how well-behaved your own dog may be, there's always the chance that you'll run into an aggressive dog or irresponsible owner.
However, if your own dog obeys command such as “come,” “stay,” and “heel,” you’ll have a good chance of preventing fights. If your dog is not obedient, you should take the time to train it. If you’re not willing to put in this effort, it’s best to keep your dog on a leash and not let it loose in dog parks.
Be Alert and Proactive
One of the biggest culprits when it comes to conflicts between canines is inattentive owners. When you let your dog loose in a dog park, you have to be alert at every moment. It only takes a second for two dogs to get into a scrap and inflict serious damage.
When you're at the dog park, don't get distracted by your phone, a newspaper or a person you're talking to. Always pay close attention to your dog. Keep the dog's leash in your hand. If you see a potential threat, remove your dog from the park immediately.
Keep Your Dog’s Vaccinations Up to Date
Despite your best intentions, there is never a 100 percent chance that your dog will never be involved in a conflict. If this does happen, you want to at least minimize the negative consequences.
Make sure your dog has had rabies, distemper and other essential vaccinations. Otherwise, you can face legal consequences and your dog can be confiscated by authorities. Make sure you have proof of timely vaccinations that you can produce if necessary.
What to Do if You or Your Dog are Attacked
If you or your dog are attacked by another dog, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Dog bites can be serious, even if they don’t appear severe. If you are bitten, go to a doctor immediately. If your dog is bitten, consult with a veterinarian. Find out if the dog has rabies vaccinations. You should also seek legal advice. An accident attorney Las Vegas and elsewhere will tell you if you might have a legal case against the other dog’s owner.
Dog parks, when properly used, are a great opportunity for dogs to get exercise. Most dog owners are responsible and keep their pets under control. If your own dog is well-trained and up-to-date with vaccinations, you’re doing your part to prevent problems. Beyond this, your best protection is to stay alert while you're at the dog park.