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Human Etiquette Tips for the Dog Park
Before visiting a dog park, call your veterinarian to ensure your dog is current on all core immunizations and a Bordetella vaccination.
Your dog should be current on his flea and tick preventatives.
Always pick up any feces your dog may produce.
Turn off your cell phone or any other distractions and focus on your dog’s play.
Do not bring very small breed dogs, dogs under 4 months of age, intact males, nor females in heat.
If your dog is not having fun, go for a walk outside of the dog park.
Dog parks: they are great for socialization, exercise, and mental stimulation for many dogs. But certain dogs may feel threatened or anxious. Whether you and your dog have a good dog park experience or a bad one depends largely on your understanding of your dog, advanced preparation, proper training, and good etiquette.
Is your dog usually playful and sociable? Does she get along well with other dogs, or can she be aggressive? Is your dog nervous or shy around other dogs? Animal welfare groups say to let your dog's temperament guide you on visiting a dog park1—or whether you should opt for other activities instead.
National veterinary associations urge dog owners to ensure dogs are trained well enough to come when called at a dog park, even in spite of all of the other enticing distractions at the park.2 Ask your veterinarian about a good dog training class in your area and make sure your dog learns how to focus exclusively on you when you issue a command, especially when other dogs are present. This is crucial if you need to call your dog away from an escalating situation.
Being pounced, sideswiped without warning, or having a bunch of high-energy dogs come at you like a speeding train can scare certain dogs, as well as people. Train your dog to greet other dogs and people politely. Also, be present while your dog is playing so that you can interrupt if your dog becomes aggressive, involved in ganging up on another dog, or if your dog becomes the target of an attack.3
Not all dogs enjoy the dog park, and that is all right. Toy breeds should avoid dog parks altogether because their size can make them an attack target for larger dogs. Sometimes a walk around the neighborhood, a game of Frisbee in the backyard, or a smaller play group with dogs your dog already feels comfortable with is a better option.
1. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, staff: Pet Care: “Dog Parks”
2. Yin, Sophia, DVM, MS, The Art and Science of Animal Behavior, “Dog Park Etiquette Poster”
3. Association of Professional Dog Trainers, Dog Park Information: “Dog Park Tips”
4. Association of Professional Dog Trainers, Dog Park Information: “Dog Park Etiquette”
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We Support Humane Society and Rescue Group Adoptions
COURTESY (free) Health Exam Tuesday - Friday (by appointment only)
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Adoption documents required for courtesy exam.
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I moved to the Bay Area with my cat, Buddy, in the Summer of 2015. After going to the same veterinarian for nearly my entire life, I was very anxious about finding a new vet which I could trust to take care of my cat. The vet staff at Pet's Friend Animal Clinic are wonderful! I have now taken Buddy here twice, both times to see Dr. Allison Moore. You can tell that she, and the rest of the staff, truly care about you and your animal. I'm very relieved to have found this exceptional clinic, and I plan to continue taking my cat here for the foreseeable future!
We have been taking our doggie girls to Pet's Friends since they opened. Although there have been many changes over the years, the loving care they have given our dogs, myself, and wife has always been consistent. That's because you can tell they love animals and want to help them live a long, happy, and healthy life. The Doctors are special - they take time to explain medical process, explain options to us, and really listen to our concerns. The Pet's Friends' staff treats us like family. The staff provides more than just administrative and technical support to the Doctors - they provide a professional atmosphere of confidence while making everyone feel at home. I would not hesitate recommending them to my friends.