The Benefits Of Dog Parks
Although many dogs live their entire lives as the only pet in the family, the species is by nature a pack animal. In really a domesticated dog simply adjusts his or her view of the pack to include the humans as the pack. If the dog is well adjusted, well socialized and obedience trained it is very likely that the dog sees the humans, or at least one member of the family, as the pack leader. This dog is happy to follow directions, knowing that the human will take care of all the other worries and concerns. This is further instilled by the owner feeding, playing and interacting with the dog in a positive, benevolent leader type of way.
However effective this pack type of attitude is for a dog there is still a real benefit in a dog having routine interactions with other canines. Not only does it provide socialization for your dog, which helps him or her be confident, self-assured and emotionally happy, but it also provides a great incentive to exercise. Many dogs raised as single pets have problems with weight gain and even obesity as they mature since they simply don't have any incentive to get out and run around. Sometimes the kids growing up, the family getting busy or changes in the household routine further work to decrease the amount of structured exercise a dog gets per day.
A dog park can certainly be the answer to any of the issues mentioned above. These areas, designed for off-leash dog activity, are perfect for your pet for several different reasons. The biggest one is that for single pet families this provides a place where your dog can interact with other well-socialized dogs off leash, allowing them to run, romp and play just as dogs do in nature or when they have a companion dog. In turn this high level of socialization leads to more physical exercise and activity as the dogs run and explore with each other within the confines of the fenced dog park.
However, not all dog parks are created equal. It is important to make the first trip to the dog park without your four legged friend and check things out. Get into the park and walk the perimeter, check that the fence is secure and well maintained all the way around. You should also look for a park that allows you a clear line of sight to the dogs in the park so you can keep an eye on your pet at all times. Areas that have heavy brush or hills that the dogs can get around or behind makes supervising your pet very challenging.
In addition be sure to check the cleanliness of the park. Most parks are designed for users to keep the area clean including removing dog toys, waste and garbage after each use. A clean park is a sign of caring, responsible dog owners, an important consideration for allowing your dog to run free with their dogs. Finally if you have a small or toy dog check to see if they have a separate part of the smaller canines if you have any concerns about your dog romping around with larger dogs.