Dog Spring Training — How to Get Your Pup Ready for the Season

Spring is finally here! Now is the time to take advantage of the good weather and kick off a dog spring training routine. So, get outside and hit the ground running with your pup!

Keeping your dog active is essential to being a successful pet owner and making sure your dog stays as healthy as possible. Dog spring training can help your dog burn off any weight he — and you — gained over the winter. After all, exercise is just as important for your dog as it is for you.

Both young dogs and adults need a lot of activity to stay healthy, and even senior pets benefit from consistent exercise, like a daily workout, to help maintain their health. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you choose, just pick what works best for you and your dog. Whether you’re going for a long walk or a run, your dog will be happy just to be by your side. Even if you’re just going to play frisbee in the park, you and your dog will still be able to get the activity you both need to stay healthy.

Good exercise is one of the best ways to spend time with your dog, and dog spring training is a great way to make sure your dog is getting enough activity. You can also use dog spring training to help build endurance that will carry your pup throughout the rest of the year. Consistent workouts with your dog will help you be able to do more together, and longer workouts mean more time spent together with your furry friend.

Exercise is one of the best ways to spend time with your pet. It’s especially important for large breed, working, and active breed types. Dogs are wonderful athletes and most can adapt to strenuous exercise, provided they have had adequate opportunity to “train” and the environmental conditions, like heat, are not too extreme. During any dog spring training regimen, make sure that you always have plenty of water — and maybe even some treats — on hand.

Recommendations for Dog Spring Training

Daily exercise is recommended unless the weather is especially dangerous or a medical problem limits your dog’s activity. Obviously don’t go out in a lighting storm for a jog around the block, but your dog might also have a condition that can make exercising more difficult. Obese dogs and those with heart and lung conditions may be at a higher risk, so be sure to talk with your veterinarian before beginning a new exercise regimen.

Spring weather can be unpredictable — warm one day and cold the next. Be certain your dog has plenty of water available at all times, and provide a place to cool down out of the sun. In addition, if the temperature drops sharply, exercise should be limited. And, don’t forget: even in cold weather, an exercising dog needs plenty of water.

Almost all dogs, especially older dogs, those with heart and lung problems, and those with thick hair coats, are likely to have trouble with hot and humid conditions. It’s better to exercise in the early morning or evening when the heat is less than 80 degrees and the humidity is less then 30 percent thus avoiding the hot and humid conditions. Try and plan your workouts ahead of time so you don’t run into a problem with the weather.

You should also always keep your dog leashed, for his protection and the protection of others. When you’re around other people, the one situation you have control over is how your dog reacts if he’s on a leash. Especially if you’re going to be in public, having your dog on a leash is important to making sure your time together is calm and productive. Even an obedient dog may suddenly want to greet another animal or person. In high traffic areas, this could easily lead to tragedy. Be aware of your surroundings and be aware of your dog when you’re exercising in order to make sure that you both stay safe.

Now get out there and get started with your dog spring training!

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Have Some Fun, Start Playing With Your Cat!

Playing with your cat is a great way to form a bond with her. Cats, like all mammals, engage in play as youngsters and continue to do so even after they have grown up. Play is a complex learning activity that helps kittens develop social relationships and helps them hone their physical and mental skills.

But it is also fun, which is why adult cat continue to do it. You can spend many enjoyable hours just watching with amusement as your cat plays. Watching a cat play is one of the most entertaining pastimes afforded to the cat owner. And playing with your cat can be even better, but first you need to understand how cats play.

A cat’s play takes three forms, though often it is sometimes difficult to separate them.

Social Play

Social play is how kittens learn to interact with their littermates, their mother, other cats, other household pets, and you. During social play, kittens test their world and learn their place in it. Kittens develop personality traits based on their playful interactions that accompany them into adulthood. As a kitten grows, social play with littermates gives way to social play with their human caregiver(s), assuming that the kitten is adopted into a family and is not simply fending for herself.

Object Play

Poking, batting, and tossing around small objects are ways that kittens learn about how to deal with prey. During such play sessions they develop the survival skills that they might need if they ever have to provide for themselves. You may see your kitten stomp on her toys, flip them over, and circle them once they land – acts that mimic overpowering and killing a prey animal for food. Object play teaches a cat how the world and things in it feel, what is animate and what is inanimate. She may jump up from her toys as if noxious, invisible rays emanate from them, and then dissolve into fits of sheer delight and discovery.

Locomotor Play

An active cat is a confident cat. The running and jumping of locomotor play helps a kitten increase strength, coordination, and flexibility. Locomotor play also stimulates a cat’s appetite while helping to keep her physically fit. In addition, locomotor play helps eliminate boredom. An active play session at night can help reduce a cat’s nocturnal perambulations, which otherwise may keep the cat’s owner awake.

In addition to the physical lessons play teaches kittens and cats, play also teaches emotional ones. Kittens learn that playing is just plain fun and that it feels good to run, jump and cavort with other cats and animals, including human ones.

Playing With Your Cat

Playing with your cat can seem like a pretty simple task, but not all cats play alike. Here are a few tips that will make playtime a more fulfilling time for you and your cat, whether you are a first-time cat owner or a feline veteran.

Safety is always first. Some cats will play with nearly everything they can find, whether or not it’s safe for them. Be sure to inspect every toy for loose threads, breakable parts, or bits that can be swallowed accidentally. Don’t forget to make sure that the toy is safe for you too; letting Fluffy nibble on your earrings is probably not a great choice. Many behaviorists suggest against using your hands as a toy as it can encourage cats to nip and scratch them.

Cats respond to different stimuli. Just like humans, cats have individual preferences for what kinds of toys they prefer. Some like toys with jingling bells or crinkly cellophane inside. Other cats go crazy for any toys with a lot of motion or parts that dangle. Some prefer lots of different toys and others like only one type. Spend some time finding out what things make your cat perk up, and you’ll have a better chance of finding a game that they love. A cat wand with detachable ends, such as the Neko Flies wand is an inexpensive way to vary the toys you use with your cat.

Mix it up. The same repeated motion or sound can quickly become boring to your cat. Try waving a cat toy in different patterns, tossing toys down stairs or across a room, and swap out toys occasionally to keep the experience exciting. Vary the speeds with which you flip their kitty wand or drag their toy across the carpet.

Puppy Play Dates: How Dog Buddy Match is Bringing Dogs Together

Sometimes we forget that we are our dog’s whole world.

We are their guardians who provide them with food, love, and praise. And dogs are social animals who form strong bonds with people, so it is not surprising that they may feel somewhat anxious when separated from their social group.

For this reason, many dogs experience separation anxiety when left home alone. Unless you have an awesome job that allows you to bring your pup to work with you, or you are able to work from home, it’s likely that your dog is home alone for the better part of the day.

Luckily, avid dog-lover Sam Lovett came up with the idea of Dog Buddy Match — a networking tool that allows neighbors to meet, connect, and design a plan to have their dogs stay together during the day to help reduce separation anxiety and keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

Understanding Separation Anxiety

Some dog parents overlook the symptoms of separation anxiety — barking/howling, urinating/defecating, chewing, escaping, and/or pacing — assuming that these behaviors are just bad manners, rather than symptoms of distress. For this reason it is important to understand what separation anxiety looks like, and how you can help alleviate that stress.

In some cases, dogs may be genetically-predisposed to anxiety but inappropriate or insufficient socialization experiences during the juvenile period is the most likely cause. For some dogs, no initiating trigger can be identified. Symptoms of separation anxiety may develop gradually over time or may appear in full-blown form the first time they are left alone.

The onset of separation anxiety sometimes occurs after the dog is exposed to an experience that disrupts their social bond. This can occur when owners board the dog for vacation or change their work schedule. It may also occur when a household member leaves or dies, or when the dog is relocated to a new house or household.

Overly indulgent owners may promote separation distress in predisposed dogs. Owners of dogs that show separation distress are often nurturing, empathetic people who indulge their dog. They allow the dog to follow them around the house and encourage the exuberant welcome the dog gives them when they return home. Somewhat less-nurturing (but by no means neglectful) owners may help instill independence in the dog thus circumventing the worst throes of the problem and permitting its gradual resolution.

Finally, don’t confuse separation anxiety with a lack of stimulation, which often leads dogs to engage in excessive and destructive behaviors.

The Importance of Mental and Physical Stimulation

Various levels of environmental deprivation occur when dogs are inadequately exercised, spend too long indoors, do not receive adequate attention, or do not have an opportunity to engage in species-typical behaviors.

The opportunity to get adequate exercise is arguably one of the most important aspects of a dog’s mental and physical enrichment. Exercise is not only good for the body, but it also generates mental dividends that last all day long. Most people think they are doing the right thing for their dog if they take him for a mile walk every day, or turn him out in the back yard to sniff around when nature calls, but that’s merely scratching the surface. Twenty to 30 minutes of aerobic (running) exercise is minimal for a healthy dog. This can be provided by throwing a tennis ball or a Frisbee for the dog to catch, or by taking him for a jog or an off-lead hike over open terrain.

It can also be accomplished with doggie play dates, which are great ways for dogs (and their owners) to meet, greet, socialize, and play in a safe and comfortable environment.

All dogs need to learn socialization skills. When they are puppies, their moms generally teach them some social skills when it comes to interacting with siblings, but they also need to be taught how to interact with other dogs, strangers, and people in general. A dog that is not exposed to other dogs will more often than not react in an aggressive manner should he happen to come into contact with a “strange” dog. It also helps a dog become at ease with their owner paying attention to other dogs. Dogs that have not been socialized can react with hostility when their owner shows any kind of attention to another dog.

Play dates help dogs to learn how to react and behave appropriately with other dogs, as well as how to behave around people they may not know. And, of course, playing keeps them busy, gives them a release, and allows them to just have fun!

Don’t Just Go for Walks: Unique Ways to Get Active with Your Dog

Walking the dog. Is it enough?

If you walk your dog every day, that’s fantastic. If you have a very large or very small dog, that can be plenty of exercise and stimulation. However, if you have a sporting dog, working breed, or a mix with either, walking is helpful, but it might not be enough. Walking is a wonderful warm up for a high-energy dog, but they need more exercise. If you are a high-energy person, a walk may not be enough for you either.

Exercise is good for you and your dog. So why aren’t you working out together? We’re not talking about taking your dog to the gym, although you may want to check out Doga (yoga for dogs). We’re talking about getting outside and enjoying some fresh air. After all, if you’re cooped up in an office all day, chances are your pooch is cooped up at home too. Dogs that don’t get enough exercise and activity can quickly develop behavioral problems. Come to think of it, lack of exercise can make people cranky too. You could both use the workout.

Daily exercise is recommended unless the weather is especially dangerous or a medical problem limits your dog’s activity. If there is a medical problem or your pet is obese, consult your veterinarian about exercise limitations.

But if your dog is ready, willing, and able, here are some great ways to get active with him.

Take a Hike

Hiking with your dog can be one of the most joyful experiences of pet ownership. Besides being great exercise, it’s a good way to spend quality time with your canine chum. Taking a walk in the woods seems like a simple thing to do, but you can maximize your enjoyment and your dog’s safety by preparing ahead of time.

Before going hiking, check for any restrictions in the area. For example, national parks and some state parks do not permit dogs on hiking trails. Most parks also require your pet to be on a leash, unless you are in a designated dog park. Leash walking is always a safer option as it decreases the chance your pet will wander into trouble. Unusual sights, sounds, and smells may tempt the unleashed dog to stray deeper into the woods or bring about encounters with other animals that could cause a confrontation.

Strap on the In-Line Skates

Some rollerblading enthusiasts live for the mornings when they can leash up their pooch and go for a nice sprint together along a shaded park path. Not only is it great exercise, but the dog is often delighted that their human buddy can keep up with them. However, among rollerblading enthusiasts, there is no solid consensus on whether dogs and skating mix. But all agree that it should not be attempted unless you are a highly-skilled skater and have confidence in your dog’s obedience training. They further agree that skating with dogs should only be done in an area without vehicles, and at a time when fewer people are about.

But, if you’ve confident in your skill and your dog’s training, then by all means give it a try. Just remember, even the smallest obstacles — pebbles, cracks in the pavement, etc. — can trip up even the most skilled skaters (and their dogs).

Hop on a Bike

With a few precautions and a bit of conditioning, dogs are natural biking partners. Most dogs love to get out and run, but size and endurance are important considerations. Among the best biking partners: Akitas, Labradors, huskies and collies.

You can take your dog cycling with you at any age, except when he’s a small puppy. Most well-conditioned 2- to 5-year-old dogs can maintain a speed of about 10 mph for an hour or more — just right for trail riding. There are some dogs, however, that aren’t designed to be out in the heat, namely short-nosed dogs such as bulldogs and the Pekingese.

Start your dog’s conditioning program slowly, going just a few miles each day, building up the distance gradually. If your dog is over 5 years old, he may be starting to slow down, so ease up. Your dog can run with you for many more years, as long as you don’t overdo it. If your dog lies down during training or lags behind at a speed under 5 mph, end the session immediately. Keep in mind, too, that we’re talking trail riding here. If you’re going to be riding on pavement or in traffic, do the dog a favor — and leave him home.

Get Stimulated! How to Exercise and Play with Your Cat

Have you ever watched your cat exercise? Perhaps your kitty’s exercise regimen consists of a mad dash around the house — a furry bullet dashing from room to room. Or possibly it’s jumping up on horizontal (and even vertical) surfaces, tearing up the carpets and furniture, or attacking your feet in the middle of the night.

Exercise is as important to your cat as it is to you. Young cats, as well as healthy adult cats, need periods of exercise. Even our senior pets need regular exercise to maintain their health and well-being.

We all know that exercise affects us both physically and mentally. The same is true for your cat. Your kitty can become depressed if not sufficiently stimulated. He may keep you awake at night if he does not receive enough exercise during the day. Cats are wonderful athletes, but they generally like to exercise for brief periods only. A vigorous play session before bed may help you both get some sleep.

Here are some of our favorite ways to get active with our cats.

Understand Them

The first step in exercising with your feline friend is understanding how cats play. Cats, like all mammals, engage in play as youngsters and continue to do so even after they have grown up. Play is a complex learning activity that helps kittens develop social relationships and hone their physical and mental skills. But it is also fun, which is why adult cat continue to do it. A cat’s play takes three forms, though often it is often difficult to separate them.

Social play is how kittens learn to interact with their littermates, their mother, other cats, other household pets, and you. During social play, kittens test their world and learn their place in it. Kittens develop personality traits that accompany them into adulthood based on these playful interactions. As a kitten grows, social play with littermates gives way to social play with their human caregiver(s), assuming that the kitten is adopted into a family and is not simply fending for herself.

Object play — poking, batting, and tossing around small objects — is the way that kittens learn about how to deal with prey. During such play sessions they develop the survival skills that they might need if they ever have to provide for themselves. You may see your kitten stomp on her toys, flip them over, and circle them once they land – acts that mimic overpowering and killing a prey animal for food. Object play teaches a cat how the world and things in it feel, what is animate and what is inanimate. She may jump up from her toys as if noxious, invisible rays emanate from them, and then dissolve into fits of sheer delight and discovery.

An active cat is a confident cat. The running and jumping of locomotor play helps a kitten increase strength, coordination, and flexibility. Locomotor play stimulates a cat’s appetite while helping to keep her physically fit. In addition, locomotor play helps eliminate boredom. An active play session in the evening can help reduce a cat’s nocturnal perambulations, which otherwise may keep the cat’s owner awake.

In addition to the physical lessons play teaches kittens and cats, play also teaches emotional ones. Kittens learn that playing is just plain fun and that it feels good to run, jump, and cavort with other cats and animals, including human ones.

Choose the Right Toys

There are tons and tons of cat toys on the market. But do you know your cat’s toy preference? Is your cat a birder, a mouser, or a bugger? Does your cat prefer toys that mimic birds, mice or catching bugs? There are many types of cat toys made for cats and each cat has his or her own preferences as to what stimulates them to interact.

Buy several cat toys and roll them or toss them to your cat to determine his or her preference. Watch to see which type of toy is most interesting to your cat. For example, you may see a trend of your cat preferring toys that simulate birds such as bird shaped toys, toys that chirp, toys made of a bird-type substrate (feathers), or toys that create bird-like movements (fluttering toys). Other cats will prefer toys that mimic “catching small rodents,” such as cat toys shaped like mice, toys that squeak, toys made of fur, or toys that have jerking movements. They may also enjoy tossing, biting or carrying their “prey.” Movements that simulate bug catching are a favorite play type of many cats. You can test this by giving your cat a kibble of food to chase, use a laser light on the floor or wall, or by playing with a string with a knot on the end and moving it quickly.

Exercising Your Dog

Exercise is as important for your dog as it is for you. Young dogs and healthy adults alike need lots of it, and even senior pets need a regular daily workout to maintain their health. The type of exercise you choose depends on the age and fitness of your dog and your own lifestyle. Dogs are adaptable and are happy to play Frisbee in the park or take long walks in the neighborhood.

Exercise is one of the best ways to spend time with your pet. It’s especially important for large breed, working, and active breed types. Dogs are wonderful athletes and most adapt to even strenuous exercise, provided they have had adequate opportunity to “train” and the environmental conditions are not too extreme.

Recommendations

Daily exercise is recommended unless the weather is especially dangerous or a medical problem limits your dog’s activity. If there is a medical problem, consult your veterinarian about exercise limitations. Keep in mind that obese dogs and those with heart and lung diseases may have a problem, and be sure to consult your vet before starting a new regime.

Be certain your dog has plenty of water available at all times, and provide a place to cool down out of the sun. When the temperature drops below freezing, exercise should be limited, unless your dog is really used to this weather. This will often vary with the breed and hair coat. If the wind picks up to more than 10 mph, be careful to prevent hypothermia or frostbite. If your dog is shivering, get him back indoors or in some form of warm shelter. If you live in an area that gets cold and icy, remember that road salt can burn your dog’s feet. Don’t forget: even in cold weather, an exercising dog needs plenty of water.

Almost all dogs, especially those with heart and lung problems and those with thick hair coats, are likely to have trouble with hot and humid conditions. It’s better to exercise in the early morning or evening when the heat is less than 80 degrees and the humidity is less then 30 percent (avoid hot and humid conditions).

Safe Chew Toys for Your Dog

Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs. All dogs investigate the world with their mouths, especially during puppy hood. Teething, unease, monotony and inadequate exercise can be contributing factors. However, chewing behaviors can be directed toward inappropriate items, such as furniture, pillows and shoes. It is up to you to teach your dog what is appropriate to chew on. One way to do this is to offer your dog a variety of chew toys.

When choosing toys for your dog, you should always consider what would be safe for your dog. Chew toys should always be size-appropriate for your particular dog. For example, a Great Dane could easily strangle on a small rawhide chew. Any strings, buttons or loose fabric should be cut off the chew toy. There are some toys that should only be given to your dog when supervised. Some examples are cow hooves, rope toys and stuffed toys. Cow hooves can splinter and cause choking, while rope and stuffed toys can fray or become unstuffed and cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed. Any toy with a squeaker should be closely supervised, as most dogs find it necessary to destroy the squeaker, which may then be consumed.

It is a good idea to rotate your dog’s toys periodically. If your dog stops playing with a toy, put it away. In a few weeks reintroduce the toy. Your dog will think it’s new. This will break the monotony, and save you money. Keep a variety of types available for your dog. 

All chew toys have a certain element of risk involved. Extra strong chewers can tear apart just about anything, even so called indestructible rubber. Some toys can cause chipped teeth, while others can cause gastrointestinal problems. But with forethought and supervision, you can make your dogs toys as safe as possible.

Here is a list of some safer chew toys for your dog:

  • Rawhide chews – various sizes and prices
  • Sterilized natural bones
  • Nylabone® – these bones are consumable but last a while. They come in a variety of flavors such as carrot, cheese and spearmint
  • Roarhide® bones by Nylabone® – these bones are actually reformed rawhide particles that are safe to consume.
  • Booda® bones – made of consumable cornstarch, they come in lots of flavors
  • Super Tuff Rhino® series by Nylabone® – these are made of super durable rubber
  • Kong® – these have the reputation of being the toughest chew toy on the market. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes. They can also be loaded with peanut butter for added entertainment
  • Sustained release balls – these products allow you to load them up with treats and leave it up to your dog to figure out how to get the treat out
  • Cow hooves – with supervision
  • Pig ears – your dog will eat these in seconds.
  • Stuffed toys – always be on the lookout for holes and frayed edges.
  • Five Games That Will Delight Your Dog

    Summer is a wonderful time to spend outdoors with your dog. Here’s your chance to reclaim the outdoors. Get your dog and go out to your yard or the park for some fun. To help you along, we’ve compiled some activities and tips on how to make them more enjoyable.

    Fetch

    This time-honored game requires nothing but a lightweight ball of relatively soft material (if it is too hard, the ball could damage your dog’s teeth) and a willing dog. Make sure the ball isn’t too small, otherwise he could accidentally swallow it while leaping. (Depending on the size of the dog, even a tennis ball could be too small.)
    The object is of course to have your dog bring the ball back to you. That isn’t always the case; sometimes the dog trains the owner to run after the ball. Unless you don’t mind running at your dog’s whim, here are a few suggestions:

    • Don’t play if your dog pushes the ball at you then snatches it away as you reach for it, or if he dances around with the ball in his mouth, teasing you. You’re just reinforcing the idea that he can give you orders.
    • As the pack leader, YOU decide when to bring the ball out and when to throw it. Keep the ball in a special area that your dog is aware of, so when he sees you bring the ball out, he becomes excited and eager to please.
    • Follow the practice of performers to “leave ’em begging for more.” In canine parlance, that means quit the game while he’s still interested, not when he becomes bored.
    • Lavish praise on him immediately when he retrieves the ball and brings it to you.You can substitute the ball with a Frisbee. To learn how to teach him the game, see the story Teaching Your Dog to Love Frisbee.

     

    Hoops

    What would you rather do, watch overpaid athletes strut around a basketball court or play hoops with your dog? Teaching him how isn’t difficult, and he’ll be grateful for the chance.

    • Take a container such as a big cooking pot, laundry basket or large plastic pail and weight it down with a heavy object (so it won’t get knocked over).
    • Introduce your dog to the basket and the ball. As he watches, drop the ball into the bucket several times, while saying “drop.”
    • Give him the ball, then bring him over to the bucket and say “Drop.” Do this until he drops the ball in the basket, then immediately praise him (you might give him a small treat as well). You’ll have to repeat this several times before he makes the connection between the reward and the action.
    • When the connection is made, roll or throw the ball to him and watch him doggie-dunk it!

     

    Swimming

    If there’s a body of water nearby, your dog may want to go for a dip (only allow this if it’s safe AND permitted). Most dogs take to the water like ducks, but if he’s new to swimming, you’ll want to make sure he can swim. Never just throw him into the water, and always supervise his water activities.

    • Stand in shallow water and call to your dog. You may want to coax him with a toy or a treat.
    • Your dog should use all four legs to doggie paddle. If he paddles with just his front paws, lift his rear legs to help him float. He’ll quickly understand that he needs all his legs to swim.
    • Swimming is strenuous to any creature not used to it, so don’t let your dog swim for too long. If you’re at the beach, watch out for strong tides, and don’t let your dog drink saltwater. (You should also be aware that your dog is a target for sea lice and jellyfish.)Incidentally, if you take your dog to the beach, you should bring along fresh water and shade. Dogs can get sunburned too.

     

     

    Hula Hoop

    Begin by holding a hula hoop (still available at most toy stores, believe it or not!) upright, but on the floor. Lead your dog through the hoop, then reward him with praise or a treat (or both). Repeat several times.

    • Raise the hoop several inches off the ground and lead him through again. Then let him go at it!
    • Keep raising the hoop a little more each time to make it more of a challenge, rewarding your dog each time he makes it through. Quit before he gets bored or no longer wants the treats.

     

    Tug-of-War

    Dogs like playing tug-of-war, but it is important not to let the game get out of hand. Because dogs are, by instinct, hunters, the game reminds them of catching prey. For that reason, stop playing when the game starts to appear too serious. If your dog starts to take winning seriously, it’s time to play a less competitive game. And don’t ever show off your dog’s grip by picking him up with the rope in his teeth.

    Parks & Recreation: 7 Tips for Enjoying Dog Parks

    It used to be that playgrounds were only for kids. Thankfully for your dog, those days are over.

    Dog parks represent one of the fast-growing segments of city recreation services within the U.S. today. Millennials are repopulating urban areas in record numbers, and by some estimates there are now more American households with dogs than with kids. Consequently, the demand for dog parks has soared in recent years.

    These playgrounds for dogs provide an excellent alternative to traditional forms of dog exercise. By letting your dog off the leash in a controlled, supervised setting, your canine can receive the same level of exercise while also being socialized and having a great deal of fun.

    The modern dog park is hardly a simple enclosed piece of grass. While the breadth and quality of features varies considerably, many dog parks now include double-gated entry and exit areas, shade for hot days, benches for humans, water access, and tools for waste cleanup. Some dog parks even furnish canines with obstacle courses and other sources of stimulation.

    But how can you be assured your local dog park proves safe and enjoyable for your canine? Read on for our tips.

    1. Make Sure Your Dog is Prepared to Visit the Dog Park

    Before venturing to the dog park, there are various factors and precautions you should consider for the well-being of both your own canine and his companions within the park.

    As much as you’d love to bring your 10-week-old puppy to the dog park, you simply cannot. Not only are puppies tiny in stature, but they also lack the necessary vaccinations to be exposed to other dogs in this setting. Most puppies are not fully immunized until approximately 16 weeks of age.

    Spayed and neutered dogs are less aggressive than their reproductive-capable counterparts. Accordingly, it may be worthwhile to delay visiting the dog park until your dog has been spayed or neutered. At the very least, leave dogs in heat at home.

    Provided your local dog park does not furnish drinking water and cleanup tools, you will need to bring these items with you. It also doesn’t hurt to keep a first-aid kit in your car.

    2. Ease Your Dog into the Dog Park Environment

    While a dog park ultimately proves exciting and enjoyable for most dogs, you should proceed cautiously until you know how your dog will respond to this type of atmosphere. The first visit to a dog park may serve as a culture shock for a timid canine, especially if he previously hasn’t been exposed to many other dogs.

    Avoid peak hours for your initial visit to the dog park, as this will make it easier for your pooch to adjust to this circus-like environment. Peak hours at most dog parks tend to be on weekends, as well as before and after work on weekdays.

    Your first visit to the dog park should be kept short (perhaps only 20 minutes), and you can gradually increase the duration of your dog-park experiences as your canine develops a comfort level.

    3. Ensure Your Dog Follows the Code of Conduct

    Dog parks are generally reserved for well-behaved dogs who are not prone to fighting. After all, many dog parks have a rule requiring all dogs to be unleashed within the park for safety purposes. If your pooch’s behavior is not yet suitable for a dog park, you should delay your visit until you conduct obedience training.

    Because dog parks represent neutral territory, dog fighting is less common in this setting. Still, fighting does occur and your dog must not exhibit a level of aggression toward fellow park-goers. It may seem like a fine line between high-energy playfulness and aggression, but you must be able to recognize the difference in your dog.

    Dogs who bark incessantly may be tolerated at some dog parks but less tolerated at others. Develop a strong grasp of the rules and dynamics pertaining to your particular dog park.

    4. Follow Owner Etiquette

    Owners, too, must behave responsibly while at the dog park. First and foremost, make sure to provide constant supervision for your dog, especially if small dogs or children are present. Contrary to the beliefs of some, the dog park is NOT a place to drop off your dog while you run errands.

    Should your dog be acting aggressively or otherwise misbehaving at the dog park, it’s the owner’s responsibility to recognize this and know when it’s time to leave – even if your visit has been short-lived.

    Parks & Recreation: 7 Tips for Enjoying Dog Parks

    It used to be that playgrounds were only for kids. Thankfully for your dog, those days are over.

    Dog parks represent one of the fast-growing segments of city recreation services within the U.S. today. Millennials are repopulating urban areas in record numbers, and by some estimates there are now more American households with dogs than with kids. Consequently, the demand for dog parks has soared in recent years.

    These playgrounds for dogs provide an excellent alternative to traditional forms of dog exercise. By letting your dog off the leash in a controlled, supervised setting, your canine can receive the same level of exercise while also being socialized and having a great deal of fun.

    The modern dog park is hardly a simple enclosed piece of grass. While the breadth and quality of features varies considerably, many dog parks now include double-gated entry and exit areas, shade for hot days, benches for humans, water access, and tools for waste cleanup. Some dog parks even furnish canines with obstacle courses and other sources of stimulation.

    But how can you be assured your local dog park proves safe and enjoyable for your canine? Read on for our tips.

    1. Make Sure Your Dog is Prepared to Visit the Dog Park

    Before venturing to the dog park, there are various factors and precautions you should consider for the well-being of both your own canine and his companions within the park.

    As much as you’d love to bring your 10-week-old puppy to the dog park, you simply cannot. Not only are puppies tiny in stature, but they also lack the necessary vaccinations to be exposed to other dogs in this setting. Most puppies are not fully immunized until approximately 16 weeks of age.

    Spayed and neutered dogs are less aggressive than their reproductive-capable counterparts. Accordingly, it may be worthwhile to delay visiting the dog park until your dog has been spayed or neutered. At the very least, leave dogs in heat at home.

    Provided your local dog park does not furnish drinking water and cleanup tools, you will need to bring these items with you. It also doesn’t hurt to keep a first-aid kit in your car.

    2. Ease Your Dog into the Dog Park Environment

    While a dog park ultimately proves exciting and enjoyable for most dogs, you should proceed cautiously until you know how your dog will respond to this type of atmosphere. The first visit to a dog park may serve as a culture shock for a timid canine, especially if he previously hasn’t been exposed to many other dogs.

    Avoid peak hours for your initial visit to the dog park, as this will make it easier for your pooch to adjust to this circus-like environment. Peak hours at most dog parks tend to be on weekends, as well as before and after work on weekdays.

    Your first visit to the dog park should be kept short (perhaps only 20 minutes), and you can gradually increase the duration of your dog-park experiences as your canine develops a comfort level.

    3. Ensure Your Dog Follows the Code of Conduct

    Dog parks are generally reserved for well-behaved dogs who are not prone to fighting. After all, many dog parks have a rule requiring all dogs to be unleashed within the park for safety purposes. If your pooch’s behavior is not yet suitable for a dog park, you should delay your visit until you conduct obedience training.

    Because dog parks represent neutral territory, dog fighting is less common in this setting. Still, fighting does occur and your dog must not exhibit a level of aggression toward fellow park-goers. It may seem like a fine line between high-energy playfulness and aggression, but you must be able to recognize the difference in your dog.

    Dogs who bark incessantly may be tolerated at some dog parks but less tolerated at others. Develop a strong grasp of the rules and dynamics pertaining to your particular dog park.

    4. Follow Owner Etiquette

    Owners, too, must behave responsibly while at the dog park. First and foremost, make sure to provide constant supervision for your dog, especially if small dogs or children are present. Contrary to the beliefs of some, the dog park is NOT a place to drop off your dog while you run errands.

    Should your dog be acting aggressively or otherwise misbehaving at the dog park, it’s the owner’s responsibility to recognize this and know when it’s time to leave – even if your visit has been short-lived.