Many cities and neighborhoods in the Austin area have dog parks available for off-leash exercise and interaction with other people and dogs. This can be an enjoyable way to spend time with your dog, provided you observe some basic safety practices and be aware of individual dog park rules. Some of the cities in our area of the Austin real estate market that have dog parks are Bee Cave, Spicewood, Lakeway and Georgetown. Not to mention many of the unique and beautiful dog parks in the City of Austin.
Though each dog park may have unique rules, below is a list of best practices when visiting an off-leash dog park.
•Be sure your dog is healthy and up-to-date on his vaccinations and parasite control. Making sure your dog is protected from parasites and disease is part of responsible pet ownership. Let your vet know that you take your dog to dog parks, depending on the area you live in he may recommend additional vaccines. •Keep your dog on leash prior to entering the off-leash park. •Remove your dog's leash once he enters the off-leash area. Leaving him on leash hinders his ability to communicate with the other dogs and can create an aggressive incident. It may also cause your dog to become leash reactive if he is restrained while other dogs are off leash. •Pay close attention to your dog. he is in a situation with many unknown dogs that are off leash and is relying on you to keep him safe. Do not become deeply involved in conversation with another person, and it is best to put your phone away. •Keep your dog in designated size appropriate play areas. Small dogs can be easily injured during play by larger dogs. and may also be severely injured or even killed if they get into an aggressive situation with a larger dog. •Clean up after your dog. It is part of responsible pet ownership and prevents the spread of parasites and illnesses. •Do not bring babies, toddlers and young children to the dog park. It is difficult to supervise a small child and a dog in a large group of unknown dogs that are not on leashes. Many dogs have not been socialized to children, or they may simply be over excited and could accidentally hurt a child. The situation places a child at significant risk. •Do not take your dog's favorite toy to the dog park. he may feel the need to protect his treasured belongings, which may trigger an aggressive incident. •Do not allow your dog to harass or mount other dogs. Even if your perception is that your dog is just playing, he may be frightening or irritating another dog and this can cause a negative interaction. Redirect your dog to another activity by walking away and calling him to come along with you. •At any point in your dog park visit if your dog or any other dog's behavior is making you feel uncomfortable and concerned it is best to leave then. Even if you have only been there a few minutes, it is better to leave on a good note and come back another time than to risk a negative interaction or injury to your dog. •If you missed the warning signs and your dog is involved in an aggressive situation whether or not he was the aggressor, leave the park immediately. Dogs need to be in familiar and calm place to recover from these types of situations, and it can take several days depending on the level of escalation.
As with all situations in life, it is impossible to control ever situation. Observing basic safety practices and being aware of potential problems and addressing them accordingly will make visiting the dog park a fun and enjoyable experience.