Happy Dog

With these rules, you and your pup will enjoy an afternoon at the dog park.

Photo by Jessica Monte Photography

Dog parks can be some of the most enjoyable places in the region when everyone follows the rules.

Dog parks are great places to take your four-legged friend so they can run and play with other dogs. But before you go, make sure you know the rules.

Photo by Jessica Monte Photography

Social engagement is a vital ingredient for a healthy dog.

Don’t take a sick dog. 

Of course your dog should be vaccinated, but it can still get sick. When pets don’t feel well, they can be grumpy and aggressive. Also, “We do not allow unneutered dogs over the age of six months, as it can cause aggression if near other dogs,” says Ken Ellis of Vint Hill Dog Park in Warrenton.

Unleash—thoughtfully. 

On your first visit, you might think it’s wise to leave the leash on to stay in control, but a nervous leashed dog might react aggressively to other dogs. Instead, visit the park when it’s quiet and introduce your dog to the space off-leash. Keep the visits short until your dog seems comfortable and confident.

Keep an eye on your pup. 

The dog park is not the place to relax. If you don’t pay attention, your pooch may become the object of bullying—or turn into a bully itself.

Take care of business. 

Although many parks stock them, always take poop bags and clean up after your pup.

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