Which dogs should go to a dog park?
- Young dogs benefit the most from dog parks. Young dogs are packed full of energy and excitement, and are able to burn their energy in a reasonably quick period of time. Experts suggest that dogs under two years old should not spend more than 60 minutes at a time playing. They can become exhausted, both physically and mentally, causing unneeded stress.
- Puppies peak socialization period is from about 3 weeks to 16 weeks of age. It’s not recommended to take puppies to dog parks, but it’s critical for their development and sleep habits that they interact with other dogs early in their lives. Play dates in the homes of families, friends, and neighbors who have healthy dogs is a great idea. Once they’re fully vaccinated, let them loose in the park.
- Older dogs benefit from dog parks, too! As dogs age, they tend to be more picky with who they’re willing to play with, but it’s important for their mental condition that they continue to socialize. Find a time when the park isn’t crowded and introduce your aging pup to new dogs!
Which dogs should avoid dog parks?
- Unneutered males typically experience social problems at dog parks. Intact males have a high testosterone level that can make him the target of harassment and aggression from other males.
- Dogs exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
- Aggressive or under-socialized dogs should avoid dog parks. It’s common for owners to mistakenly believe that their dog simply needs more socialization. In most cases, if your dog is fearful and aggressive, taking them to a park will only magnify the problem. Go on frequent walks and seek help from a dog trainer to correct the issue.