In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, time outside the confines of our houses is cherished. People seem to be taking advantage of our off-leash dog parks more than ever and, in the majority of cases, they are doing so responsibly.
Unfortunately, there are always some who either forget the rules or decide they are above the rules. I know our readers are responsible, and do their best to enjoy the parks safely. If you happen to see someone breaking the rules, however, please let them know, if you can safely do so.
Everyone thinks their dog is friendly. Most of the time, that’s true. Dogs have great personalities and everyone loves to pet a dog. In some situations, though, some dogs are not friendly. When they are defending their owners or attempting to establish alpha position in the wrong circumstances, some dogs can be very dangerous to other dogs or people.
While you may be at a "leashless" park, you still need to monitor and maintain control of your pet.
Here are some things to remember:
• Be present and have your dog within view at all times;
• Ensure that the dog is not in heat and does not act in a dangerous or aggressive manner towards humans or other dogs;
• Remove the dog from the off-leash area immediately if the dog is in heat or acts in a dangerous or aggressive manner towards humans or other dogs;
• Ensure that your dog comes when called;
• Have a leash available to restrain the dog if needed;
• Remedy any harm caused by the dog, including filling in holes dug by the dog; and
• Immediately remove and properly dispose of any excrement left by the dog.
Following the rules makes the off-leash park experience safer and more enjoyable for everyone.
Breaking the rules can lead to fines in some instances, and these can be considerable.
Another thing to be aware of is the potential for harm by allowing your dog to accept treats from another park user. Even if you know the person, you don’t know what is in the treats.
Treats to another dog must only be offered with the owner’s permission They could contain something the pet has an issue with. You wouldn’t let your children accept treats from strangers, and you shouldn’t let your dog do so, either. There are bad people out there, and there could be poisons or drugs that may sicken or kill your pet.
If someone wants to give your dog a treat, offer them one you know is safe, and if you want to interact that way with someone’s dog, ask if the dog’s owner has a treat that you can give.
Our world is filled with more and more rules, and it can be frustrating to deal with all of them.
In this case, though, off-leash parks are provided for everyone’s enjoyment, and that can only happen safely if everyone follows the rules.
Pets Are People, Too
Jeff McFarlane is the owner of Thrive Pet Food Market. Contact him with your questions or ideas firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thrivepetfoodmarket.com