Dog parks provide mental and physical stimulation and socialization. This promotes health and happiness, builds your pet's resistance to stress and helps prevent aggressive behaviors. One advantage is your dog gets these benefits with minimal effort on your part; just stand by and observe.
Things to Do
It's difficult to play in a dog park with other pooches around; they may want to play fetch, too. Games might work if there aren't many other dogs around. Bring an old towel or sheet for tug-of-war. But mostly, let your dog roam free, investigating new sights and scents and interacting with unfamiliar animals. Dog parks are more for letting your dog do her own thing than for you to exercise or play with her.
New arrivals get swarmed at the dog park. If your pet's shy, let her linger outside the enclosure so other dogs are already aware of her when she enters. Watch your dog and her playmates closely for aggression and be ready to step in. Your dog should be fully vaccinated and protected from fleas. Not all dogs like dog parks, so if yours doesn't seem happy, take her home.
By Jon Mohrman
ASPCA: Dog Parks
About the Author
Jon Mohrman has been a writer and editor for more than seven years. He specializes in food, travel and health topics. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for English literature and San Francisco State University for creative writing.