Best Kept Secret for Your Apartment Pooch
Excessive barking or whining. The constant pitter-patter of nervous paws on hardwood or tile floors. Scuffles with other animals in common spaces. When you live in an apartment, the challenges of dealing with hyper or anxious dogs are automatically amplified. Shared walls with neighbors and limited outdoor space can create awkward and uncomfortable situations between you and the people who live around you.
For conscientious dog owners, there exists a magical place that can help you and your dog stay in the good graces of your neighbors: the dog park!
Why the Dog Park?
Frequent trips to your neighborhood dog park can help your canine companion release all of its pent-up energy, provide proper socialization, and help strengthen the bond between man and dog. This, along with proper training and positive reinforcement, can result in your dog being calmer and less likely to annoy your neighbors when they are home alone. Dog park adventures also give you, as the owner, peace of mind because you know your dog is receiving regular mental and physical stimulation, which keeps dogs happier and healthier in the long run.
While frequent walks or jogs with your dog achieve some of the same benefits, dog parks allow off-leash fun and the ability to play fetch without worrying about your dog running off. Having unleashed dogs in public spaces is one common complaint by neighbors, so restricting off-leash time to designated areas is an important part of responsible dog ownership.
After deciding this is a good option for your dog, you should research local dog parks. Some may be one-size-fits-all parks, while others may be separated into two sections by size. Some parks have dog-specific training features. Determine what kind of setting is best for your dog based on their temperament, play style, and history of interactions with other animals. If your dog parks are government-owned, find out if you need a special license or key to gain proper access.
Making the Dog Park Your Second Home
If you plan on spending time at the dog park, take precautions to keep yourself, your pet, and others around you safe. Vaccinate your dog following recommendations from your veterinarian. Use parasite prevention products to ward off diseases from creepy crawlies. If your dog is not spayed or neutered, get that done and make sure they are healed before taking them to the park. Make sure your dog has a collar or harness with an identification tag on it, and ensure that the contact information on the tag is current. That way, if your animal accidentally gets out of the enclosure and runs off, you can get them back as soon as possible.
While at the park, supervise your dog at all times. Look for signs of stress or aggression. Read their body language and recognize any patterns that may occur. Remember: Nobody knows your dog better than you, so it is your responsibility to make sure they are playing in a safe and healthy manner. It is also your responsibility to stop your dog from bad behavior, so make sure it is well-trained enough to listen to your commands if the situation demands.
Clean up any messes they leave behind.
Also, while not mandatory, it’s good to socialize with other owners. You don’t have to be extremely extroverted, but just checking in with them can do a lot to make people feel comfortable. Remember not to engage or interact with somebody else’s dog without their permission. Your dog may start to bond with certain dogs it sees at the park regularly, so it’s good to know when those owners are there. You may even be able to synchronize schedules to maximize time together. Your dog may not be able to thank you with words, but their tail wags and better overall behavior will let you know they’re grateful.
Of course, the best way to treat your pup is to buy a home with enough yard space to call its own. Give us a call at 855-HEY-JEFF to buy a home with us and check out our guide to moving with pets to make the process easier.