One of the most challenging aspects of puppyhood and puppy development is handling the energy level of your new pup. Puppies go from 0-60 faster than a Ferrari on crack and it can leave puppy parents in a daze. Cooped up energy can lead to naughty behaviors including chewing up those new Christmas Pradas, digging holes in the yard, or sneaking out and exploring the neighborhood. But what is the best way to get the energy out, expel the crazy, and get your little devil to sleep like an angel?
Well, there are many methods of course including running, biking, fetch, and long walks. In the end, how you decide to exercise your puppy should depend on your lifestyle, but we recommend you give the dog park a fighting chance, and here are some tips if you are new to the dog park scene.
When should our puppy start going to the dog park?
This question is posed constantly and answers vary depending on the trainer or vet you speak with. We recommend you start bringing Fido to the park as soon as possible, which usually equates to right after your pups second full round of shots (roughly 4 months old). Your puppy will be interacting with a lot of dogs and humans at the park, sharing water bowl and gnawing on the same slobbery toys as the other dogs, so it is crucial that your pup is fully protected before you embark on the dog park journey together.
Why is the dog park good for puppies?
The two main reasons we recommend frequent visits to your local dog park are socialization and exercise. When your puppy is young, he is extremely impressionable. Socializing him with other dogs and humans (especially children) is essential at a young age. If your pup grows up without contact with other dogs he could develop a territorial demeanor or become fearful of others. Both of these characteristics are extremely hard to break and consistent contact with other dogs at a young age will make your pup much more amiable in social situations.
Secondly, the park offers a great energy release for your puppy. Wrestling with other dogs and playing chase around the park will release more energy than a typical stroll around the block. When you get home your baby will conch out for hours at a time, giving you a chance to get caught up on work or much-needed sleep. Remember what Cesar said, “A tired dog is a good dog!”
How do I know other dogs at the dog park will be friendly?
Well, the bottom line is you don’t, and you should always be cautious about other dogs. Trust your gut; if you see a dog that looks threatening or aggressive don’t take the chance of an attack. It is not only physically dangerous, it can also be damaging for a young dog’s psychological development. Generally speaking though, you can assume that if a dog owner is confident in bringing his dog to the park then the dog is typically friendly with others.
Your pup may be shy at first, but if you give it some time he will eventually come out from behind your legs or poke his head up from under the bench to see what’s going on. Don’t push your puppy into any encounters he isn’t comfortable with. When he is ready he will come out and play with his new friends. And don’t be overly concerned about “rough housing” as my mother called it. Dogs are pack animals and they are used to wrestling with their littermates from before you even came into the picture. As long as there is no whimpering, yelping, or growling, your pup is having fun.
If you plan on bringing your pup to the park regularly then pick a good time spot and make it a routine. You will meet other dog owners in the area and who knows maybe love will blossom, for your puppy of course…
Let us know about your dog park experiences in the comments section.
Bringing a new family addition into the home is extremely exciting! Becoming a new puppy parent comes with a ton of new joys, challenges and responsibilities. PupBox was created to help new puppy parents like yourself, by providing all of the toys, treats, accessories and training information you need, when you need it. CLICK HERE to learn more about PupBox.
And remember, puppyhood is fast and is gone before you know it. Make sure to savor the time when your pup is young, and take lots of pictures along the way!