The dos and don’ts of using off-leash dog parks

Off-leash areas like a 'mosh pit for dogs'
Map:
Canberra 2600
Charlie Brown the chocolate Labrador enjoys meeting other pooches and running around Canberra dog parks. Finally it is important to note that dog parks are not suitable for all dogs, and those that are aggressive or overly shy should not be taken into an off-leash enclosure. “If owners are not watching what the animals are doing, the dogs can get into a fight and then it’s too late — it’s a bad experience for the dogs,” Ms Gregor said. If a dog’s not enjoying it, take them out and take them for a walk instead. (ABC Radio Canberra: Penny Travers)
Dog parks are a place for humans to socialise too. Photo:
Dog parks offer a chance for pooches like Louie and Tilly to socialise off the lead. “Don’t try and push them into having these interactions. Do not go into the enclosure if it is already crowded. “You should already have a dog that is good with other dogs before you go into an off-lead area.”

Dog park etiquette Park dos:Dogs coming into the dog park must be registered, desexed (unless a permit has been issued), and fully vaccinatedKeep your dog under effective control and leave if it becomes aggressiveClean up and place waste in the bins providedChildren are vulnerable to attack so supervise them carefullyKeep the number of dogs you bring to two per owner preferablyIf there are small and large dog enclosures, make sure you use the appropriate onePark don’ts:Don’t come into the park if your dog is unvaccinated, aggressive or on heatDon’t bring puppies that have not completed their vaccinationsDon’t bring in food or toysDon’t bring in children under 14 without an adultDon’t let your dog off-lead if you don’t have a reliable recall(Source: ACT Government)
Owners needed to have full control of their dog in the enclosure. (ABC Radio Canberra: Penny Travers)
Keep an eye on your dog at all times and don’t get too caught up in socialising yourself. (ABC Radio Canberra: Penny Travers)
Firstly, dogs should be fully vaccinated, desexed and registered before going to a dog park.Jane Gregor from RSPCA ACT said dogs should also have had previous interaction with other canines. “A dog park should not be used to teach your dog how to behave with other dogs,” she said. Once inside, pay attention to your dog’s cues and respond to their posture and body language accordingly.”If they’re hanging around your legs, they’re obviously not enjoying being in that park area so take them out,” Ms Gregor said. “Their world is fairly limited when it’s only your house,” she said.”But when you bring them somewhere like this, they can literally run around and sniff everything they want to sniff and they have such a good time.”Well behaved dogs only pleaseWith all these dogs off the leash, what should owners consider to ensure their visit to a dog park is a positive experience? “It’s a great way of meeting other doggy parents and talking about your dogs and finding things in common,” Ms Tamm said. “He’s much more settled dealing with dogs of different types and different personalities when he encounters them on his walks and other activities.”

Photo:
Charlie Brown enjoys meeting new four-legged friends at the Yarralumla dog park. His owner, Stephanie Tamm, has been taking him to dog parks at least once a week for more than two years. “It’s really so good for them to meet and play with other dogs, I think it makes them happier dogs,” Ms Richardson said. (ABC Radio Canberra: Penny Travers)
Ms Richardson encouraged everyone to take their dog to a dog park. “An owner should be able to call their dog and their dog should be able to come when called,” Ms Gregor said.”If it’s not that reliable, they should still have a dog that they can just go over and get straight away.”Keep an eye on your dog, read its cuesBefore entering an off-leash area, watch how the other dogs are interacting and make sure they are all having a good time. “It’s lovely being able to play freely and run around with the other dogs and he’s a very sociable dog, so having that interaction is great. “The socialisation between dogs isn’t as good when they’re on the leash.”

Photo:
Mattie and Indie go for a run at Belconnen dog park each week. Brea Richardson and Brian Kay also take their dogs Mattie and Indie to dog parks a few times a week so they can socialise with other canines. “You don’t want to make it a bad experience for them because if they learn from a bad experience it can then actually make them become dog aggressive.”

Photo:
Dogs at dog parks should respond to their owners when called. “Primarily it’s for his socialisation,” Ms Tamm said.
(ABC Radio Canberra: Penny Travers) ABC Radio Canberra

By

Penny Travers

Posted

February 24, 2018 07:00:57

Photo:
Stephanie Tamm takes Charlie Brown to a dog park to socialise with other pooches each week.
Related Story: