Page 12 - LeMagSpring2015
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AKC’s Tips
on Socializing & Dog Park Etiquette

A well-socialized and secure puppy is a happy puppy. This               If you’re an urban or suburban dog owner, you’re likely familiar
means helping him early on to feel that the world is a fun and          with the local dog park. It’s a canine oasis, where your leash-less
safe place to be—whether encountering other dogs, children,             pet is free to sniff, run, and socialize with other dogs. But like
or strangers on the street. Ideally, your pup will be content in        any social activity, it's important to know basic rules of etiquette.
any setting, and even when you’re not home. Give him plenty of          And in this case, it's not just a matter of a social faux pas—fail-
stimulation, socialization, and encouragement or you will risk          ing to comply can put your dog and other pets at risk.
problems such as aggressive or fearful behavior, excessive bark-
ing, and separation anxiety.                                            Should your pet show signs of illness or a contagious disease,
                                                                        don’t bring him/her to the park.
Take your puppy to a dog park regularly, but don’t overstimulate
him. If he doesn't enjoy the experience, though, don’t force him        Don’t bring a puppy less than 4 months old or a female dog in
into it. Keep his social periods brief at first, so as not to overdo    heat.
it. (Don’t allow socialization before he is fully immunized.) And
always pick up after your dog, wherever you go.                         Keep an eye on your dog! Don’t let your dog be aggressive with
                                                                        another dog.
To discourage separation anxiety—which often results in pup-
pies engaging in destructive behavior—supply your pup with              Obviously, you should pick up after your dog.
chew toys to keep him appropriately occupied in your absence.
You’ll want to make sure that both his teeth and mind are busy.         Don’t bring food for yourself or your dog.
Sometimes dogs need to work off steam in ways you don’t have
time to provide.                                                        Bring a portable water bowl for your dog—water bowls at dog
                                                                        parks carry the risk of communicable illnesses.
Consider signing your dog up at a dog daycare center, if there is
one in the neighborhood, or hire a dog walker to take your pup          Keep your small dog in the designated small-dog section of the
on an extended walk to burn off energy.                                 park—even if he/she enjoys hanging out with the big dogs.

If your puppy meets another dog on the street or at the dog park        Bring a ball, but be prepared to lose it.
who seems aggressive, calmly lead your dog
away. Never try to force an interaction that could turn danger-         Don’t let your dog run in a pack. Intervene when play starts to
ous.                                                                    get too rough.

At the earliest opportunity, take your puppy for a brief ride in
the car. Stop by the vet’s office, just for a visit and a treat, so he
considers it a positive place to spend time.

Because puppies sometimes see kids as equals, they may react to
them in unpredictable ways. Put your pup into a “sit” or “down”
when meeting toddlers or babies. He should never be permitted
to jump on them.

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