Charleston is a very dog-friendly city and there are tons of places, like dog parks, that you can take your pups to play. But is the dog park really a good idea for all dogs? Here are some basic tips that you can use to decide if the dog park is a good outing for you and your pup:
- Don’t bring a dog that is under 4 months old. Puppies less than 4 months old have likely not been fully vaccinated, and they’re extremely vulnerable to potentially deadly contagious diseases, such as parvovirus. Skip the dog park at this age and find some fun puppy socials to attend instead!
- Skip the park if your dog is naturally shy or easily overwhelmed. A dog park can be very stressful for shy dogs. If your dog has unpleasant experiences with other dogs—if they bully or fight with her, intimidate her or just play too roughly—she might decide she doesn’t like them. She could start growling, barking, snarling, snapping and lunging to drive other dogs away, and even biting if they approach.
- The dog park is not the place for undersocialized, fearful, anxious or aggressive dogs. Many people mistakenly believe that dogs who fear or dislike other dogs just need more socialization. However, if your dog is fearful or nervous around other dogs, exposing her to the hectic environment of a dog park will only worsen her problems. Similarly, if your dog is aggressive toward other dogs, visits to a dog park might exacerbate her behavior and put other people’s pets at risk or ruin their enjoyment of the park.
- Make sure you’re able to give your dog your full attention. It’s vital that you monitor your dog the entire time you’re at the dog park so you’re always aware of what he’s doing. This ensures that you can step in if there is trouble brewing and helps you make sure your pup is having a good, safe time.
Dog parks can be tons of fun, but they also are not the right fit for all dogs… and that’s ok! It’s much better to keep your dog happy and safe than force them into a situation they won’t enjoy.