Still a little asleep, I feel his tail whipping the air. Slowly, I open one eye, then the other, and see this dog staring at me for a while now. He just jumped into bed to wake me up, his internal clock said it was time for the whole household to get started. A few seconds later, the clock rings. He was right.
I look out my window, and I think it’s finally not that bad out there. I put the clothes on at my fingertips, and slip out hoping to run into as few people as possible. I’m already used to what my playful neighbor judges my morning getaways, but living in front of La Fontaine Park often offers you a wide audience.
Every morning, at the park, I walk around the two lakes. A walk that lasts about thirty minutes. We always meet the same dogs, always in the same place: each one has a precise schedule, set to a quarter of a paw.
Halfway through, I find that my dog has worked well and I decide to spoil it. I branch off at the third tree after the bush, he knows the way. He knows what is going on and starts to trot happily. We’re going to the dog park.
Dog parks are places where they can run freely, in a reserved and often fenced area. However, it is not for all dogs, and you have to know your pet well to know if it has its place in such a place. We think we please them, but a dog that does not appreciate contact with its congeners will not like it.
Why should we pay attention to the dog park?
First you have to be able to read the dog’s body language. Having a basic notion in this area when deciding to adopt a dog is, in my opinion, the least we can do to be able to communicate well with it. With this tool, you will be able to react better if your dog shows signs of discomfort, that is, he is not comfortable, and therefore, you should change something in the environment. For example, a dog who does not feel comfortable often licks his nose, yawns excessively, looks away, shows teeth, etc. I strongly suggest you go to a course or training on canine language, Which I think should be mandatory to get a dog.
So you have to be prepared to leave the dog park if you notice that yours is not comfortable. It is perfectly normal for a dog, as for a human being, not to love everyone. If there seems to be tension between your dog and another, be responsible and simply leave the place. There’s nothing wrong with having a dog that doesn’t get along with all the dogs, you just have to know when to leave. Also, if you get out, don’t tie your dog in the pen. Wait in the space provided.
The moment to leave can be a key element in exercising the most control over your dog’s safety. I strongly recommend that you do the recall before going to the dog park. The best trick is of course to do it at home, and then to find a time when the park is not occupied in order to practice the recall again. Everything will then become easier when you want to leave, or simply call him to avoid being involved in a dispute, conflict, etc.
You should also encourage your dog to come back to you regularly at the dog park, with the help of treats. It’s quite simple; it’s a matter of giving him one or two every time he comes back to see you. It will strengthen the bonds between you and your pooch. He will learn that he can come back to you if he experiences a situation that makes him insecure.
However, the dog park should not be a place of daily exercise. It should instead be done during a good interactive walk, that is by incorporating training. This is the best way to physically, mentally and thus have a better relationship with your pooch. Going to the dog park every day, meeting other dogs daily can create hyper-excitement in your dog and, in some cases, increase his aggressiveness. Personally, I prefer to have a more enthusiastic dog to see humans than dogs, so that’s why I favour walks or dog-human interactions.
It is essential not to force your dog to do something that frightens him. I often hear “my dog is not comfortable, but by coming to the dog park, he will get used to it”. This method, in the canine environment, is called “flooding the animal”, which is a bad method, since it is probably more traumatic than anything else. For example, imagine being locked in an aquarium full of spiders to overcome your fear of these bugs. Your dog would probably feel like you: traumatized. Bringing your fearful dog to the dog park when there are many dogs is not a good option.
On the other hand, starting with a rather calm dog can increase his chances of gaining confidence. As long as he has positive experiences, you can go back. Otherwise, it’s not the end of the world, and don’t force your dog to do something he’s afraid of.
The Disadvantages Of The Dog Park
Bring your own bowl of water for the park or let it drink directly from the jet. I recently learned from a veterinarian that dogs can have oral warts, which are transmitted between them. The veterinarian therefore advises never to share the bowls of our dogs to avoid them! In addition, it is also in this way that dogs can transmit various diseases. Be on the lookout.
Conflicts in the park are possible. Everything happens very quickly. A dog that does not want to play, and one of which does not respect the limits, can be a problematic situation. It is also to avoid fighting that it is strongly advised not to bring toys or food to a dog park; some dogs could protect resources and cause unwanted altercations.
Bullying as we know it in humans can also be experienced by dogs. Some are more harassing and your dog could be a victim. A dog who follows another dog constantly, does not respect the limits imposed by the victim or straddles them expresses unwanted behaviors. You must then calmly remove your aggressor dog and redirect it to other activities. He may also have to be isolated for a while to calm him down.
When to go to the park?
First of all, it is advisable to make your dog expend a little energy before going there. A dog too excited could undo the order established in a park. We must also think about finding a time in the day that suits us, while avoiding the sun at its maximum and too busy periods.
By going to the same park often, we meet the same people. We start to get to know them and their dog. So, if my dog doesn’t like one, I know what hours to avoid. When you arrive at the park, make a habit of looking at the dogs present, and identify those with whom your dog might not get along. I noticed that the dog will never go too far from its master and thus, by positioning itself as far as possible from less welcoming dogs, we can avoid quarrels.
Better lock your phone or hide it in the back of those big pockets. This special moment that you share with your dog should not be about managing your emails. Watch your pet have fun; learn to recognize its signs of play and discomfort; prevent potential fights by staying alert; your dog is your responsibility and you want the dog park activity to be a positive experience.
In short, you should always be careful when you go to the dog park since you can’t control other dogs, see other humans. If everyone does their part and takes good care of his dog, this canine space, while remaining occasional, can become an ideal place to go and have fun with his companion.
The 15 general rules of the dog park
- Access is not recommended for children under 12 years of age.
- Dogs must be in good standing for their rabies vaccination. They must also be free from parasitic diseases.
- Dogs must be kept on a leash until they reach the double doors and will be released there.
- Dogs are the only animals allowed in the park and must be accompanied by a person aged 14 and over.
- They should have a medal issued by the City, up to date.
- Watch your dog at all times.
- Prohibition to use toys when there are several dogs.
- Do not feed your dog inside the park or bring food or alcohol for the human.
- Park doors must remain closed at all times.
- The human must immediately pick up the dog’s feces and must bring bags to do so.
- It is strongly recommended to sterilize both males and females.
- Females in heat are not allowed in the park.
- Smokers should turn off and discard cigarette butts in designated areas and not on the ground.
- The human must have control of the dog.
- The human must take legal responsibility for his dog and the damage he could cause.
Top 10 Dog Parks on the Island of Montreal
- Outremont Dog Park (Bates Road/Rockland Avenue) Very large unique dog park with a racetrack and a small wooded area.
- Beaconsfield Dog Park (521 Elm Ave, Beaconsfield, QC H9W 6E4) Very large park with parking, forest trail and small dog pen.
- Champion Park (behind Monseigneur-Richard High School - Rhéaume Building) Wooded dog park with a relaxed and community atmosphere. Possibility to take a long walk on the water’s edge afterwards.
- Percy Walters Park (Dr. Penfield Ave/Redpath St) Huge dog park with multiple floral arrangements.
- Parc Liébert (rue Cirier/rue Sainte-Claire) A park with everything you need for your dog to have fun; several educational messages present.
- Montgomery Canine Park (Dunkik Rd/Glencoe Ave) A medium-sized park with several fun attractions such as painted hydrants and benches.
- Parc canin de la polyvalente Pointe-aux-Trembles (15204 Sherbrooke Street E, Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC H1A 3P9) Dog park in a multi-purpose park where people are super involved for the safety of the users of the place.
- Angrignon Dog Park (Trinitaires Blvd/Jogues St) A dog park offering some elements of agility in a natural environment.
- Parc de la Fontaine (boul. de l'Île-des-Soeurs/place de la Fontaine, Verdun, QC) A place with the possibility of making three separate enclosures in a park with lots of trees.
- Parc La Fontaine (Émilie-Duployé Ave/Sherbrooke St)