For many of us living in the greater New York City area, our four legged friends have limited room to roam. Dog parks are a great solution so long as dog owners make safety a top priority. To prevent your dog and others from being injured, the National Safety Council suggests the following do’s and don’ts:
- Make an initial visit without your dog. Inspect the park’s layout and physical structures, review the rules, and observe the behavior of the other dogs and owners.
- Get to know the rules. Learning and abiding by the dog rules create a culture of accountability to keep everyone happy and safe.
- Know your dog’s temperament. Unsure about how your dog will get along with other dogs? Plan a playdate or supervised encounter with another dog before going to the park. Remember in addition to being surrounded by dogs, there will be a lot of new people your dog comes in contact with. Does your dog get nervous around new people? How does he or she do with children? These are all things to consider before visiting a dog park.
- Find a park with two separate areas. Many parks have an area for large dogs and for small dogs Large dogs may inadvertently injure a small dog, simply due to their size.
- Be sure the entrance has a dual gate. This allows safe entry and exit, reducing the possibility of a dog darting out of the gate and into the street/surrounding areas.
- Bring your puppy. Puppies under 20 weeks old are more susceptible to contracting diseases due to their developing immune systems.
- Allow yourself to become distracted. Your job is to monitor your dog. Experts encourage dog owners to “keep moving through the park, interacting and staying connected with their dog”.
- Bring food of any kind. While this may seem harmless, some dogs are very food aggressive.
- Assume all dog interactions are friendly. Warning signs of a stressed or agitated dog are a stiff or frozen stance, hard stare, trembling, hair standing up on the back of the neck, showing teeth, growling, and low or slow wagging tail.
- Bring a child. It isn’t a good idea to attempt to watch your dog and your child at the same time.
As dog owners, it’s our responsibility to keep our dogs safe, and to keep those who come into contact with our dogs safe. If you or a loved one were bitten by a dog due to someone else’s negligence, contact us today.