- Step 1: Have your dog sit and wait before going to the car Keep your dog calm before traveling by having them sit and wait before you walk them out to the car for the trip to the dog park. At the car, have them sit and wait again before jumping in.
- Step 2: Have your dog sit and wait before exiting the car Have your dog sit and wait again before they get out of the car at the dog park.
- TIP: Take your dog on short car rides to the dog park or other fun places to help them get over a fear of cars.
- Step 3: Take your dog for a brisk 15-minute walk Take your dog for a brisk 15-minute walk after exiting the car. Keep them on the leash and beside you for the entire walk. Stay calm and assertive to help your dog remain relaxed.
- Step 4: Enter the dog park with the dog on leash Enter the park with your dog on a leash. Be sure that the leash remains limp and that you dog isn't pulling or getting overly excited.
- TIP: Remember that socialization with other people and dogs is particularly important for puppies between three and 12 months of age. Introduce them to new situations, like pet stores and the dog park.
- Step 5: Unsnap the leash when the dog is calm Unsnap the leash when you are sure that your dog is calm and in control. Let your dog explore on his own and get adjusted to the sights and smells of the park.
- Step 6: Stay alert Stay alert the entire time you are at the dog park, but keep a calm and relaxed demeanor. Keep an eye on your dog at all times.
- TIP: Practice basic recall commands like "come" at home, before you go to the park. Ask your dog to "come" if you see them getting into trouble.
- Step 7: Watch for potential problems Remember that not all dog owners will be as responsible as you. Watch for potential problems, like children or dogs playing too roughly. Keep your dog away from trouble, and both you and your pooch will have a fun and rewarding time at the park.
- FACT: Over 45 million households in the United States own at least one dog, according to the American Pet Products Association's 2009-2010 National Pet Owners Survey.
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