Visiting a park affords your dog the opportunity to exercise and socialize with other canine companions. Being a public place, every visitor to a dog park has the right to enjoy their stay without being harassed or intimated by another.
If your dog misbehaves at a dog park, his or her actions would pose a nuisance to other users and in situations where it causes harm to others, cost you financially. Dog owners have the responsibility to keep their pets in check at all times.
- Teach basic commands: The most effective way to control your dog’s behavior is training her to obey your commands. Enroll both of you in a training program where your dog learns basic cues like “heel”, “sit” “stay” “leave it” and so on.
- Train under different conditions: These commands should be taught in various locations privately and then publicly so that your dog becomes accustomed to them and they become second-nature. A dog that responds to instructions in a backyard may behave differently in a place filled with other dogs. Your pet may get carried away by the activities and the excitement of seeing many others and ignore your calls. You need to take the time to expose your dog to training under different conditions. Exposure to different environment and conditions should be gradual and you should only take on a new challenge after your dog has mastered one. For example after training privately in the backyard, you can then enlist the assistance of friends and family members for the same training in the same location. You can then graduate your dog to obeying these commands in a new environment with more people and so on.
- Leash Training: You should also let your dog get some leash training to enable you have some control. Learn to assert your authority with the leash. Discourage leash pulling by doing the opposite of what your dog desires.
- Use Treats Sparingly: While training your dog to obey, use treats only for the first 2 to 3 sessions and as time goes on, use other means such as cuddling, patting on the back or verbal encouragement to reinforce positive behavior. Prolonged use of treats would make your dog become used to being bribed before obeying commands.
- Remain Calm: Shouting or running after your misbehaving dog is likely to increase excitement and reinforce the negative behavior. If your dog acts naughty, it means they need more training later on.
- Leave Immediately: Don’t punish the act on the spot, simply take your pet straight home and do more training. It is important that you head home after an episode of bad manners and not to some other place like a store so that you don’t inadvertently “reward” your dog in the process.