Just as a playground for children requires supervision, so do dogs at the dog park. It may not seem like it, but your dog’s behavior is a reflection of you. Dogs who are unruly and untamed pose a threat to the people, as well as the other dogs in the park. When this occurs, owners could be perceived as irresponsible, and, according to our legal source at the best injury lawyer in Charleston, SC, they could also be held culpable for unfortunate incidents that occur.
1. Consult the veterinarian about the dog’s overall health prior to taking him or her to any dog park. Take the dog regularly for examinations and ensure that he or she is current for all vaccinations. Being aware of the dog’s health can prevent interactive issues. Physical problems are usually a precursor to behavioral problems ahead.
2. Refrain from taking the dog to the dog park if he or she is in any way uncomfortable. That is a sign that there could be problems ahead should the dog become further agitated. Instead, use the yard if possible or take the dog to another place he or she enjoys.
3. Dogs under four months of age or that are very sensitive should not be taken to a dog park. It is not worth the risk that he or she could have a bad reaction. Other dogs sense fear and also may react badly. Instead, supervise these dogs in more private and wide spaces such as large parks when there aren’t many other people or dogs around.
4. For obvious reasons, always be courteous and clean up after the dog. Being prepared with bags and a scooper makes this easier.
5. Bring along and use toys and treats to divert attention when other dogs are nearby. This can be very useful if you sense a behavioral change that could escalate into something unpleasant.
6. Observe how other dogs are behaving in the dog park. If there are potential health or other problems evident, quickly divert your dog to another area.
7. Always be aware of whether or not the dog is enjoying itself. When the dog seems to be disturbed for some reason, it is time to pull back the reins, so to speak. Take that as a sign that it is time to take the dog elsewhere, ideally home. Incidents of dog attacks can be greatly minimized by taking into account the dog’s temperament.
8. Many dog parks have rules that animals must be on leashes. Even if it is allowed, do not let a dog off-leash if he or she has had problems before or is not responsive to verbal commands.
9. Ensure that you are aware of the dog and other dogs at all times. For example, do not let yourself get distracted on a cell phone. It is your legal responsibility to supervise the dog at all times. This is only possible by giving the dog full attention. Just as with driving a car, unfortunate incidents can happen in an instant.
10. Supervise dogs when playing and interrupt rough play. Be prepared to leave the dog park if it is apparent that the dog or other dogs are being bullies, playing too roughly or not appearing to have fun.
Unfortunately, there have been quite a few incidents surrounding dog attacks on both humans and other dogs. When this occurs, there is a legal liability for the pet owner that can be traumatic and dangerous, as well as very costly. Following the above etiquette tips will make trips to the dog park more pleasant and safe for everyone.
Ann Bailey has three dogs of her own and contributes this review of safe dog interactions on behalf of Howell and Christmas Legal group, one of the best injury lawyers in Charleston, SC. In the event of an accidental dog bite, consulting an attorney is the safest way to mitigate damages for both parties.