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A Pet Sitter’s View on Dog Parks

Dog and people alike love dog parks! I go to the Nampa dog park in Nampa, Idaho on a regular basis. It’s great we love it. It’s a nice six acre parcel of fenced grassy areas. Besides the main park, they have a small dog area and a water area.

As a pet sitter, I am contemplating whether or not to include trips to the dog park as one of my pet sitting services. I currently offer dog walking (on leash) and pet sitting. In considering this option, I’ve thought of the pros and cons of offering such a service. I think I’ve come up with some things worth communicating to the average pet owner, so I’m writing this article.

Dog parks are a great way to exercise dogs. Most dogs love to play and running, unrestricted is just great fun for them. There are some things to consider, however. Do not go to the park if your dog does not get along with other dogs or is aggressive in any way. Take care of these issues with a dog trainer. You want your experience at the park to be a positive one for both you and your dog.

When entering the park, do a quick surveillance of the population there. Do you see any dogs not getting along, playing too rough, or being anti-social in any way? If so, just stop and watch for a few minutes to make sure things are safe for you and your dog. If you are confident things look OK, I recommend taking the leash off and letting them go. I personally believe that the best way for them to meet and greet is off-leash. If you are nervous about this idea, you can leave the leash on your dog, but let him drag it. That way, if a fight arises you can grab the leash. If you hang onto the leash, the dog will feel your nervousness and it will just not be good. Trust me on this.

If you have a small dog, I recommend starting out in the small pet area of a dog park. While he might get along great with all dogs, he can get hurt easily if a large dog steps on them or grabs them by the neck and starts shaking them. While you are in the small pet area, you can look around and determine if it is safe to enter the main area. Better safe than sorry I say!

Your pet will inevitably get hot if you take him to the dog park during the summer months. The Nampa dog park has common dog buckets and fountains. They also have a stream. While you can try to get your guy to drink out of a container you bring, good luck with that. You are just going to have to get used to the idea of group drinking!

One last thing. I recommend having your pet vaccinated with a bordatella shot. It’s like children in a daycare. Your dog will be exposed to many things at the dog park. Better to error on the safe side.

If you allow your pet sitter or dog walker to take your dog to the dog park, make sure to give them instructions and only allow a well seasoned, dog savvy person to do so.

Lastly, have fun! I once saw a guy and a gal meet at the Nampa dog park and go off for a nice dinner afterwards! What a great idea I thought! These parks are great places for both dogs and people. Good luck and have fun!

My name is Julie Fredrick. I am a professional pet sitter and owner of The Pet Sitter, LLC of Boise, ID. I’ve been in the pet sitting business since 2003. My services include pet sitting, house sitting, dog walking, and pet taxi services.

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