About Dog Parks
Dog parks can be great places for your lab to get some exercise and play with other dogs. Not every dog should visit dog parks. If your lab is a bully or is easily bullied, you might want to consider finding other ways of playing with your lab.
Dog parks are managed by the county or city in which you live. You need to research the dog parks you plan to use to know whether special licenses are required and what resources are available to your lab once you're there. Some dog parks offer running water and small pools and others do not. Some are grassy and others have a lot of gravel or concrete areas.
Pick a time of day that will be good for you and your lab. Many dog park visitors are regulars and they keep to a schedule. Check out the dogs and owners at the times that you and your dog are most likely to go. Are any of the dogs bullies? Are their owners paying attention to what’s going on? Is there a separate area for the smaller dogs to play? Are there a large number of intact males? Dogs need exercise, including play, but playtime needs to be a good experience.
Dog Park DON'Ts
If you do go to a dog park, DON’T:
- bring a dog under 4 months old
- take a timid dog to a busy dog park
- insist that your dog stay at the dog park, even if he / she seems uncomfortable
- use treats or toys when other dogs are nearby; this can start a fight with other dogs in the park
- let your lab push itself too hard; labs can run past the point of exhaustion
- let your dog off-leash in an unfenced dog park if he doesn’t respond to your verbal commands every time
- allow dogs to form loose packs or bully others
- talk with the other owners if you can’t watch and supervise your dog at the same time
- take advice from other dog parents who are not dog professionals
Dog Park DO's
If you do go to a dog park, DO:
- check your dog’s overall health with your veterinarian and remember that Lab Rescue requires that your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date and so do most dog parks
- make sure the fence and gates are secure
- leave if you notice that the dogs have potential health or behavior problems
- leave if your dog is being a bully or being bullied, the play is getting too rough, or your dog is not having fun
- take water and a water dish in case water is not available at the dog park