Keep this in mind when you visit a dog park

Keep this in mind when you visit a dog park

Here are some guidelines that will help you take your furry friends for a day out in the park

Shagun Ohri with Grace, Goofy and Snowy at Cubbon Park.

Taking your dog for a walk in the city can be quite overwhelming. The unrelenting traffic alone can make both the dog and its parent anxious. However, things are not all that dire in Bengaluru, thanks to the numerous pet-friendly parks scattered around the city. For those new to the city or new pet owners, here are a few guidelines that would help you when you take your little furry friend for their walk.

Cubbon Park is a favourite among most pet owners. The sprawling 12 hectares of land is home to many, from squirrels to dogs. While many strays that live here are passive and friendly, taking your puppy to the park would require you to stay on high alert. Very often, they get territorial when a new dog visit, which can devolve into something nasty. “Carry some treats with you. Even dogs that have grown up on the streets know to sit when they are being offered food, and this will calm them down,” says Shagun Ohri, pet parent and regular at Cubbon park. “However, if you are not confident, or if your dog gets anxious around strange dogs, it is best to turn around and walk,” she adds. 

Tips and tricks

Starting out

It is best to take your dog to the main lanes of the park as opposed to the actual dog parks, initially. Taking a friend or two along, or another dog that your pet is comfortable with would make the experience much more relaxing for both of you. 

Carry treats with you. This does not only help with strays, but with your own dog. “More often than not, they are distracted when they are taken out. They might get anxious because of the traffic, noise and the people. Or, they might just be too excited. It is always best to carry a treat, like boiled chicken, that can help you redirect their attention towards you,” shares Ohri. 

ID for your dogs

Make sure that your dogs are tagged. Have their name, and your number on your dog’s collar and harness. It is a precautionary step for if ever you lose your pet. 

Going off-leash

It is always best to train your dog to respond to four basic commands: ‘Sit-Stay’, ‘Heel’, ‘Leave it’ and ‘Come’. Take some time to work on recall, for which your dog needs to be able to recognise your voice and a particular command. Over time, you will be able to allow your dog to walk off-leash. However, it is important to not remove the leash completely off your pet, unless you are sure, they will respond to your command.

However, never allow your dog to go off-leash outside the park. “Not everyone loves dogs. Some people are genuinely afraid. You must respect those around you as well,” says Priya Chetty-Rajagopal, founder of CJ Memorial Trust that successfully led the campaign to allow dogs into Cubbon. 

Interacting with other pets

Not all dogs are friendly, so make it a point to check with the pet guardians, before allowing your dog to approach. If your dog isn’t particularly friendly, make sure you make that clear to those who approach you. Remember, all dogs are different. 

Your dog feeds off on your energy. If you get worked up in the presence of other dogs, your dog is likely to pick up on that anxiety. Stay calm, and either pick up your dog and walk away, or ask your pet to heel, so you would be covering him. 

Interacting with people

If your pet does not enjoy being petted, feel free to voice it. Your pet should be allowed to feel safe regardless of where he is. 

Etiquette

It’s unsanitary and just plain rude to leave your dog’s poop on the sidewalk. Always carry a poop scoop or newspaper with you. Dog parks or otherwise, public areas are meant for all, and it is not okay to expect others to clean up after your dog. “You don’t get to have the rights, but not the responsibilities,” adds Rajagopal.

Remember that dog parks are public spaces, which means other dogs needs are just as important. If your pet is an aggressive one, take extra care to ensure that he is on his best behaviour. 

Do not take your dog for walks in public parks if they are unwell, or in heat. 

Dog-friendly parks

Cubbon Park, Kasturba Road

Sadashiv dog park

Kaikondrahalli Lake park, Sarjapura Road

Dog Park at Elephant Road, Bannerghatta

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