One of our favourite things at Mind My Lead is going to the park! It’s a great opportunity to experience a new environment, socialise and enjoy the sunny Melbourne weather. But it’s important to make sure we consider ALL dogs and owners when we’re at the park, for everyone’s enjoyment. We’ve put together a list of handy tips and recommendations to make sure you and your furry pal have the best time at the park.
1. Ensure your dog is wearing the appropriate walking tools that suit your dog’s needs. This means collar, lead, etc. whatever you might need to keep yourself and your dog safe and happy at the park.
2. As an owner, you are responsible for your dog at all times. Just like kids, be sure to keep a watchful eye on your dog all the time. Make sure to watch their body language as well, a wagging tail doesn’t always mean they’re having fun.
3. Walking with your dog is a great way to engage and bond with your pup, not just a chance to socialise and exercise. There’s the added bonus of keeping them out of harms way while you bond too.
4. Pick it up! Always pick up your dogs poop and have poop bags with you. Don’t rely on parks to have poop bags. You could even put together a little doggy bum bag for your park adventures complete with poop bags and even some treats and water for your dog, so that you’re prepared for everything.
5. If you’re going to go off lead, make sure your dog is at 95% recall rate or higher. It’s for the safety of your dog as well as other park users.
6. Keep an eye out for open gates at any off lead parks, and make sure to always close the gate behind you when you enter to secure the dogs inside.
7. Be respectful of owners with dogs on leads in off leash parks. There is usually a good reason why they’re on a lead. It could be for numerous reasons including fear, they’ve never been to an off leash park, could be a rescue dog who is nervous, a dog in work mode, maybe aggressive or being trained.
8. Be mindful that not all dogs enjoy an off leash park. Just like us humans, dogs can be either extroverts or introverts. While some may enjoy going out and playing with everyone, others prefer to stay close to their owners with little interaction with other dogs. If you notice your dog being a nuisance or making another dog or owner feel uncomfortable, please recall your dog back. If your dog fails to come back when recalled, then perhaps reconsider your dog’s ability off lead. You can build up to being off lead by going to a low distraction park or at quiet times and practice short durations off lead and recall, gradually building up to longer periods.
9. If a dog new to an off leash park has a bad experience first time, it can cause long term damage to the dog and owner, causing them to become anxious in off leash situations or around groups of dogs. This is unfair to dog and owner, and can be avoided if all dog owners respect each dog and owner at the park.
10. Never hesitate to let other owners know if you would rather your dog was left alone. You dog trusts you to look after them, and that includes being vocal about their safety and wellbeing. It is important your dog understands they can trust you and your have their back!
11. Always pop your dog back on lead when you leave the park or head to your car, as to avoid any accidents.
And that’s it! It’s so easy to have a fun, safe trip to the park. So… what are you waiting for?!?