The African Wild Dog is a very social creature. So social, in fact, that specialists have observed them engaged in a very structured hierarchy; they are actually known to settle problems in non-violent, submissive ways, and younger dogs are often allowed first places at kills in order to fill alpha male vacancies. What does this have to do with your domesticated breed at home that wouldn’t know the first thing about the wild outdoors? The answer is simple: dogs are social. In order to fill this need, a countless number of dog parks have been developed, which are a great idea; but there are some very important precautions you should consider before bringing your pet around other animals. Here’s a list of some, courtesy of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA):
Dog parks are usually best for young, energetic dogs that have a lot of juice to burn. Age two and under is ideal. Also, since lots of other breeds fill the area, it’s best if your dog loves to interact with other dogs (as opposed to simply tolerate).
Take caution to neuter or spay. Otherwise, unwanted sexual activity between dogs is a possibility. Also, unneutered dogs might get targeted by other males due to their high testosterone levels.
Check with your local vet concerning your dog’s overall health. Vaccination is vital to prevent diseases spread from other dogs, and roughhousing can injure your dog if she has any chronic injuries or related health conditions.
When deciding on a park location, check the stats. Ideal spots normally have secure fencing and gates (double gates are the best), ample room for your dog to romp around, clean-up stations with trash cans and bags, stations that provide water and shade, along with divided areas for bigger and smaller dogs.
Happy hunting and look out for part two!