Exercising at Dog Parks

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Does your Fido or Fifi need some exercise? Have you considered adding a day at the local dog park to your pet’s routine? Visiting a local dog park can be a great way to give your pet a change of scenery and add some extra exercise time to help maintain his or her weight.

Dog parks have been gaining in popularity in recent years as more towns add leash laws and pooper-scooper requirements to their municipal books. While these rules will apply at most dog parks, visiting a well designed park can give you more freedom to exercise your pet in a friendly environment–around other pet owners. Convenient dog waste receptacles are placed throughout the area, but be sure to take extra disposal bags with you because some facilities supply the baggies and some do not.

When choosing a park, look for designated areas for small, medium and larger canines. The pictures of a large Harlequin Great Dane standing beside a Teacup Poodle are endearing, but this could lead to tragic outcomes between unfamiliar animals. You need to find a park with a variety of dog park equipment for all sizes, too. Larger breeds need extra room to run and a variety of landscapes to work on the leg muscles. Small hills and uneven trails will work all muscle groups better than a flat, boring run.

When you visit the park, be respectful of other pets and their owners. Wait your turn and try not to crowd another group. Some parks have numerous pet waste stations scattered around the park. If you have trouble locating dog waste receptacles, look for fire hydrants, dog houses and miniature trees. Many parks use these designs to make the areas stand out. Always carry your own disposable dog waste bags just in case.

A dog park can be a wonderful place to take your pet to practice social skills. When you see a pet and his owner that you would like to meet, always ask from a distance before approaching them to introducing your pet. Some dogs (and some owners) are shy and may not be as friendly as your own dog. Before they can climb the doggie ladders together, they may need some sniffing time in close proximity of both owners.

Find a park that offers your pet a water feature. Many larger dogs enjoy a quick dip in a pond on a hot summer afternoon. Parks that offer a small pond usually offer a deck or dock to jump from or a gradual slope into the water for hesitant animals. Be sure people are allowed before diving in with Fido.

A good dog park will have climbing features with broad steps, dog park equipment of all sizes to climb into and over, plenty of pet waste stationsand large areas for Frisbee or rigorous games of fetch and catch. Ponds and wading pools are great for summertime and lots of drinking “fountains” keep your pet from becoming dehydrated during a vigorous workout.

Dog parks offer dogs and people to practice their social skills and get some needed exercise. Both people and canines can use more exercise in the sun. Visit your local park today.

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