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Giving your dog time to socialize with other dogs – and their humans – helps keep him happy, tired, and healthy. Dog parks are a great place to let your dog run and play, interact with other dogs, and to meet people (for both of you!).

In addition to knowing what to do if you encounter an aggressive dog, following these tips will help you be a good dog park patron and ensure a positive experience for you and your dog.

What to do at the Dog Park

  • Make sure your dog is in good health before going to the dog park.
  • Ensure your dog is up-to-date on all vaccinations, flea, and heartworm treatments to avoid passing these ailments on to other dogs.
  • Observe the other dogs in the park to try to determine if they may have any potential health or behavior issues that could affect your dog, as well.
  •  Clean up after your dog, always. Be prepared with plastic baggies and locate the waste receptacles in advance. During play time, monitor your dog for signals that she is about to eliminate and pick up quickly to avoid messes for yourself, other dogs or people in the park.
  • Supervise your dog and interrupt if his playtime with another dog seems to become too rough or if your dog or another dog is becoming aggressive. Closely monitor your dog and intervene if it appears he is trying to eat something he discovered on the ground. Dog parks can be ideal places for dumping garbage, discarded food items, even drug paraphernalia, and these can injure your dog or cause serious illness.

Things to Avoid at the Dog Park:

  • Do not take a dog younger than four months to a dog park. At this stage, puppies are still learning socialization skills and they are small and easily injured by larger and more aggressive dogs.
  • Do not take aggressive or skittish dogs to crowded dog parks. Dogs that are sensitive or fearful may act out aggressively when confronted with more playful dogs.
  • Avoid treats or toys. Even the most even-tempered dogs will react to protect their treats and toys from curious dogs.
  • Do not let your dog off-leash in an unfenced park. Strong-willed dogs, and especially puppies that haven’t received obedience training, can get very excited by new sights and smells and dart away quickly.
  • Avoid bringing intact males or females in estrus to a dog park. 

If your dog is very antisocial, consider seeking a professional trainer to improve socialization behaviors and ensure a happy and healthy experience for you and your dog.

Consider Investing in Dog Insurance  

Looking for more ways to keep your pup happy and healthy? Consider investing in a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1   Get your free quote today. 

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.   

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.