Puppy socialization can be difficult, especially for pet parents that work a normal 9-5 job. Dog parks are NOT a good idea for most puppies, since there’s no telling what personality type of dog your pup might encounter. The last thing you want for your precious new best friend is to have them have a negative experience with other dogs, which can result in fear and aggressive behaviors as they get older. It’s far better and safer to have your pup encounter other humans and dogs in a controlled environment for the few year of their life, as it sets the stage for a healthy & happy puppy.
The Problems with Socializing Your Puppy at a Dog Park
Dog parks are a great way for your dog to get exercise, but they have a large number of hazards, particularly for young pups.
- Vaccinations: it would be great to believe that all dogs at the dog park are properly vaccinated, but sometimes it’s impossible to know. That means your young pup could be exposed to any number of illnesses from other dogs. Additionally, since dogs parks are open to wildlife, your pup runs the risk of picking up diseases like leptospirosis (common from rats & raccoons), ticks, and fleas. No young pup who isn’t fully vaccinated should go to a dog park, and they absolutely must have a flea & tick preventative on as well.
- Dog packs: dogs form friendships, and good owners will often coordinate their schedule to allow their dogs to meet up with their doggy friends at dog parks. While there’s nothing wrong with this, it can be overwhelming for a young pup to suddenly be swarmed by a large pack of dogs who are all familiar with eachother and view your pup as an outsider. Bullying can occur, which can damage your pups confidence and make them wary of other dogs.
- Dog fights: this is the big one. Dog fights are almost inevitable at a dog park. Dogs are allowed to run free, and with limited to no supervision. Some dog parks are so large that a group of dogs might be able to get away from their people quickly, making it hard to quickly break up a dog fight. Since there’s no ‘quality control’ or assessment of the dogs prior to going into the dog park, you can never be certain if the dogs therein have been properly socialized, if they have aggressive tendencies, are resource hoarders, etc. Are you prepared to break up a dog fight? It can be incredibly scary, and things will happen quickly- you would need to act fast, and do it properly to help minimize damage to yourself and your pup. It’s often NOT worth the risk! Read more from this blog about why dog parks can be a dangerous place.
Puppy Day Care is a Great Alternative for Socialization
Puppy day care, like the one at Dogtopia, is a great alternative for exercise & socialization for your puppy. We ensure that ALL dogs are fully vaccinated, going so far as to call and check vet records before ever allowing a new dog to play and socialize in our facility. We have antimicrobial flooring inside and in our outside run as well, ensuring that your pup won’t pick up anything yucky or dangerous on their feet. And with a skilled, trained room attendant in each play room, constantly supervising the pups, you can breathe easy knowing that your new friend is being watched over by the very best. Even better: you can check in on them with our handy webcams!
Ready to get your pup started on the journey to being a happy, well-adjusted adult dog? Contact us today for a tour!