If you're fortunate enough to have a Dog Park in your hometown, take advantage of it. Exercise your dog and you'll both benefit.
Even if you walk your dog regularly, there's no substitute-from the dog's point of view-of being able to run free through a grassy field and romp with canine companions. At your first visit to the park, you may be surprised how fast your dog can run, and how happy he looks doing it. Dogs need vigorous exercise to stay in good cardiovascular shape, and maintain muscle tone, just like people do.
If you live in an apartment or condo, or have a small back yard, your dog may seem perfectly content to stay within those confines, but the reality is, exercise your dog should be at the top of your to do list. In the U. S. , we feed our dogs so well that canine obesity is an increasing problem. Overweight dogs are prone to many different kinds of diseases and ailment, from heart trouble to damage to joints. Reducing food intake is of course one way to cope with this problem, but your dog will have a much better chance to lose weight if you step up the amount of exercise he is getting.
The dog park is a useful tool for socializing your dog, right from the time he has had all his vaccinations and it is safe for him to play with other dogs. Watching how your dog interacts with the other dogs there can give you important indications of whether there are any behavioral problems you need to correct. For example, if your dog displays aggression towards certain other dogs. Aggressive tendencies need to be corrected immediately, before you start to have these same problems at home, directed at children or visitors. If your dog acts submissive or does not want to play with the other dogs, or just stays huddled by you, that can be a problem as well. You may need to take him to the park several times over a period of weeks so he gets acclimated to this new and exciting environment and can take full advantage of the experience.
The car trip to the dog park itself can also be useful for your dog's development and socialization. Most dogs need to experience a car trip several times before they get used to it, and so you can control unwanted behaviors such as standing up and blocking your view of the rear view mirror, excessive barking, or jumping from the back seat to the front. Frequent short trips to the dog park are ideal for working on this kind of training, so that when summer vacation comes, your dog is ready to go on longer car trips.
Many dog parks have luxury features such as shaded sitting areas with chairs for dog owners to relax, or even amenities such as shallow pools so dogs can wade through and keep their paws cool. Don't forget that the park offers an exercise opportunity for you as well. Try a brisk walk around the perimeter of the park, or bring a ball and play an active game of fetch with your dog. Exercise your dog and you at the same time.
A dog park can also be a great “research facility" for you to use in choosing your next dog. You get the chance to observe different breeds in action and see which ones have the temperament and activity level that fit your lifestyle. If you are thinking of adding a second dog to your household, you may find that your current canine companion plays with certain breeds more than others, and he may help you make a decision about what breed would be ideal.
Exercise your dog at the dog park and get lots of great benefits.
Free report Keep Your Dog Healthy & Safe Brian Hill is the author of several nonfiction books and the proud two legged companion of Rose, an Irish Setter, and Kate, an English Springer Spaniel. Read Rose and Kate 's blog.