Dog Park Tips

Leash-Free Parks | Beneful® Dream Dog Park

A leash-free dog park sounds like a dog's dream come true, but it may not be right for every dog. See what you should consider.

More and more, leash-free parks are popping up all over the United States. While that may seem like a dog's dream come true, there are pros and cons to be considered.

Is Leash-Free Right for Me?

Leash-free parks can offer extra exercise, the opportunity to hang out with other pet owners, and other dogs for your dog to play with. Although there is a lot of fun to be had at these parks, here are a few things to consider:

• Does my dog follow verbal commands well when there are other people or dogs nearby?

• Is my dog up-to-date on all his vaccines?

• Is my dog friendly with all types of people and dogs?

• Does my dog share toys well with other dogs?

• Will my dog stay near me if he sees a squirrel, rabbit, or other small animal?

If you answered "yes" to the above questions, leash-free parks may be worth a try. If you are still a little unsure, consider taking your dog to a leash-free playgroup first, to see how he does. Many veterinarians and large pet stores offer playgroups for dogs on a weekly basis.

Sniffing Out Local Leash-Free Parks

Various websites offer information and reviews about leash-free dog parks all over the United States. Look at the parks online and read the rules and pet owner reviews to be more prepared. It's a good idea to practice a little leash-free time with your dog before making your first appearance at a leash-free park. As your dog will likely be excited about the new adventure, it may be a good idea to go at an off time or with another friend and dog you both know.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Although most pet owners have lots of good things to say about leash-free parks, there are some concerns as well. Many do not require dogs to be up-to-date on vaccines, or to be spayed or neutered. Another concern is with owners neglecting to clean up after their pets. Some of the better parks have multiple waste stations around their parks that include bags and disposal containers.

Finally, although your sweet pup may be well-behaved, other dogs at the park may not be. As a dog owner, you have to be prepared to keep your dog safe if an aggressive situation arises.

So before you head to a leash-free park, make sure you do your homework. Being fully prepared will mean a great experience for you and your pup.

Authored by Petcentric by Purina.