Vet’s advice to dog owners in Marrickville, Newtown, Enmore. How to have fun at the dog park!

Dr Sam

Vet’s advice to dog owners in Marrickville, Newtown, Enmore. How to have fun at the dog park!

Dog Park Etiquette

With spring just around the corner, we’ll be seeing a flurry of activity in our local dog parks. Off leash dog parks represent a highly stimulating place for dogs where they are free to roam, there are interesting and novel scents in plentiful supply and many different textures to sink their paws in.

At the same time, being public places, dogs with various levels of socialisation attend these canine wonderlands and so unfortunately personality clashes and arguments over toys or treats may occur.

While all-out dog fights involving bloodshed thankfully aren’t common, there are a few things us dog owners should think about before and during a dog park session to make it more enjoyable for all

1. Exercise modesty

Try and be a good leader and discourage your dog from running up to unfamiliar dogs with gusto. Watch for the tell-tale signs of fear in the new arrival (tail between legs, ears backward, slouched stance) and if identified, ensure you recall your dog.

Shelley Aukett, from Paws and Think in St Peters offers her top tip of ‘Train your dog to behave appropriately in the dog park before you let them loose on other park goers!  Over exuberant dogs can be too much for many, and shy nervous dogs may not enjoy the park at all – Make sure your dog isn’t being bullied or being the bully – no matter how friendly they are’

2. Recall

Training your pet to reliably come when called is vital if your pet gets into an argument with another dog or, if they are playing too close to the road.

3. Drop it!

Some dogs have a tendency to hoard toys at home and growl when their owners attempt to ‘steal’ a toy. This behaviour at the dog park is anti-social and could lead to a disagreement. You can reduce the obsessive toy-hoarding by ‘asking’ for the valuable toy that your dog is occupying and as you take the toy, replacing it with an even more valuable toy (such as a meaty bone). Repeating this over and over will slowly extinguish the hoarding behaviour.

Dr Sam Kovac is founder of Southern Cross Veterinary Clinic, St Peters. He sees patients from Marrickville, Newtown, Enmore, Erskineville, Alexandria, Wolli Creek and beyond.