Learning About the Boxer Dog Breed

How To Keep Your Small Dog Safe At The Dog Park

by Leslie Gibson

Dog parks provide the perfect way for owners to get their dogs outside, off the leash, and into a more social environment with other dogs and people. If you live in an apartment or in a busy urban area, a dog park can enable you to keep a higher-energy dog happy without a backyard. But when your dog is on the smaller side, you may find yourself more concerned for his or her safety in the dog park. Smaller dogs are simply more likely to get stepped on or to become injured by other dogs. Here are a few ways you can keep your little one safe at the dog park.

Make sure your own dog is kind and obedient.

As much as you might like to think any aggression is always the fault of the other, larger dog, sometimes small dogs do initiate the fights and aggression. Before taking your small dog to the dog park, make sure they have socialized with plenty of other dogs one-on-one. Also make sure they listen to your commands when off-leash. Taking them to some obedience classes can help with both of these principles. Many pet stores offer obedience classes, which are affordable and scheduled in the evenings when you're likely to be available.

Choose a dog park that closely monitors behavior.

Some dog parks take a more hands-on approach to management than others. Look for a dog park that has established rules and enforces them. One of these rules must be that aggressive dogs must leave and are not permitted to return to the park. 

Look for a park with a small-dog area.

Some, but not all, dog parks offer a separate area for smaller dogs only. The weight limit may be 20 or 30 pounds. If you can find a dog park near you with a small dog area, this is likely your safest option. If one is not available, you'll just want to pay even closer attention to the other tips on this list.

Stay close to your dog.

Yes, the whole point is to let your dog off the leash. But you do not just want to let them roam as you sit on a bench and read. Keep an eye on your dog; stay within 20 feet of them, or so. This way, if you do see them starting to have a conflict with another dog or person, you can step in.