Have fun and stay safe at the dog park
Taking your dog to a dog park is a great way to exercise and socialize your canine companion. Dog parks offer fresh air, open space, and freedom—a chance for your dog to be a dog. But not all dogs enjoy the experience and not all dog parks are safe for your dog. Visiting the Dog Park gives you inside information on deciding if your dog is ready for a dog park outing, whether the design of the park makes for safe play, and teaches you simple things you can do to prepare for a great dog park experience.
Learn practical skills
• Evaluate your dog’s personality and temperament to decide if he’s dog park-ready.
• Learn about design features a well-planned dog park should have.
• Teach your dog four simple behaviors to make him dog park-safe.
• How to read canine body language to avoid problems.
• Dog park etiquette for both dogs and humans.
BONUS! Information on small dogs in dog parks, conflict resolution, and how to find a dog park
Praise for Visiting the Dog Park from experts
Cheryl Smith barks an honest appraisal of what dog parks are all about, the good, the bad, the clean and the messy. I especially appreciate the chapter "Canine Observation Skills" because she recognizes that what dogs are saying to one another is important--after all they are /dog /parks.
Steve Dale, syndicated columnist "My Pet World" and host "Pet Central" WGN radio Chicago
Cheryl Smith has hit a home run with this much-needed book. It equips the dog owner with everything he or she needs to know before visiting the dog park. Canine body language, appropriate play styles, and conflict resolution are covered in depth.
Sarah Kalnajs, author of Language of Dogs and Am I Safe? DVDs
Cheryl S. Smith is an award-winning author of eleven books on dogs, including Dog Friendly Gardens, Garden Friendly Dogs and Right On Target! She is a frequent contributor to dog magazines and lectures on a wide-range of dog-related topics. Cheryl is a member of the Association of Dog Trainers and the National Association of Science Writers and is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. She lives with her three dogs in Port Angeles, Washington where she teaches dog training, hosts a call-in radio show PetSmith, and tends her extensive gardens.
Click here for printable Dog Park tips adapted from Visiting the Dog Park.
What reviewers are saying...
“As author Cheryl S. Smith states in her introduction, in a perfect world, dog parks wouldn’t be necessary. But the world is far from perfect, and the dog park can be (or at least seems to be) a great option for providing dogs exercise and social opportunities… In this easy-to-read manual, Smith provides everything you need to know to make going to the dog park fun and safe for you canine. She starts off with instructions on training your dog so you can help it succeed at the park... She also instructs you on appropriate human dog park behavior. The “Canine Observation Skills” chapter provides excellent scenarios in which the author describes many different interactions at the dog park and allows the reader to interpret them… The book also provides helpful instructions on conflict resolution… In one slender volume, Smith provides practical information on virtually every aspect of visiting the dog park. If visiting a dog park is in your future, read this book before you go.”
“Noted dog trainer, certified dog behavior consultant and award-winning author, Cheryl S. Smith, has written the ultimate book for anyone who takes their dog to a dog park or is thinking of doing so. Including everything from various canine personalities to how to train your dog and how to observe other dogs to better understand each individual situation, Smith leaves no stone (or dog biscuit) unturned! Dog park etiquette for people as well as their dogs, evaluating your dog to know if he's ready for a dog park experience and far more is packed into this excellent paperback.” Rated 5 out of 5 paws
“This topic is near and dear to my heart as I go to a dog park several times a week. They are not for every dog, and there are people who bring dogs that have no business being there. But when the park is filled with appropriate dogs and people, my dogs think there is no better place under the sun. Smith’s first chapter is devoted to who should and should not use dog parks; it’s a sad statement on society that oftentimes those who have no business being there are clueless about it. (Give them this book.) Smith goes on to discuss people who aren’t suited to the park (people who can’t control their dogs, who ignore their dogs while socializing with other people, and don’t obey the rules.) She discusses the design and rules of dog parks. Dog parks can generate some level of controversy as to whether or not they are worthwhile, but Smith outlines both the pros and cons so well that if you have any questions at all about whether or not you should go with a certain dog, she can guide you to the answer.”
OFF LEAD AND ANIMAL BEHAVIOR
“This book offers pet owners valuable information. This paperback helps owners decide if their dog is ready for a dog park outing, whether the design of the park is sage for play, and also teaches owners simple things to prepare for a great dog park experience. The author instructs readers on how to read canine body language in order to avoid problems, as well as dog park etiquette for both dogs and humans.”
“Cheryl S. Smith is a dog trainer who hosts her own radio show, PetSmith, and has authored 11 books on dogs. Smith’s Visiting the Dog Park: Having Fun, Staying Safe is an excellent and comprehensive introduction to dog parks. This book is not only for new dog park users. Much of the content… should be read periodically by all dog park users. This book begins with what some may consider an alarmist tone, cautioning that dogs and people are bitten and fogs have even been killed at dog parks. It is important for new users to very clearly understand that there are good reasons for dog park rules and that not all dogs are dog park dogs… Perhaps one of Ms. Smith’s most important discussions… addresses small dogs and dog parks. Many dog parks have been built with separate areas for small dogs and large dogs. However, this is not always the case, especially with older dog parks... This leads to one of the book’s most important points: Know your dog before going to a dog park. Even experience dog park users will find interest in Ms. Smith’s discussion about how dog park design can influence dog behavior. Ms. Smith emphasizes the importance of more experienced users helping newcomers understand the reason for the dog park’s rules... Ms. Smith also provides the reader with step-by-step instructions on how to teach dogs commands such as recall, touch/targeting, and settle. She advocated teaching dogs these commands before taking the dog to a dog park… If those considering taking their dogs to the dog park for the first time were to read only one chapter of Visiting the Dog Park, it should be the chapter entitled “Let’s Go to the Dog Park.” Using a step-by-step approach to describe a visit to the dog park, Ms. Smith informs readers about what to wear and what to bring to the dog park. Another valuable chapter in Visiting the Dog Park addresses canine observation skills. The hardest thing for any novice dog park user is to distinguish between play and aggression… Again, know your dog. Ms. Smith’s description of defensive, offensive, and neutral postures; greetings; and the postures of play will be very helpful to all dog park users… Ms. Smith makes good use of photos and illustrations in this chapter to help readers better understand the difference between play and aggression… Visiting the Dog Park’s chapter on conflict resolution discusses the warning signs of trouble: acting out, body language, clumping, and dog possessiveness… In addition, the book includes useful Internet references on the topics of dog socialization, canine body language, and positive dog training. Good things do come in small packages, and Visiting the Dog Park is no exception. In just 128 pages, Ms. Smith has done an excellent job of identifying and discussing the important aspects of how dog parks work, and how dogs and their people can have fun at the dog park while staying safe.”
APDT CHRONICLE OF THE DOG
“Many of the mistakes and mishaps that occurs at the dog park are firmly rooted in a lack of knowledge and preparation. Many dog owners tend to rely on the “expertise” of other owners at the park, and may even fall into the trap of peer pressure when they don’t have enough knowledge to know what is appropriate for off-leash play. Thanks to Cheryl S. Smith’s book, Visiting the Dog Park, dog owners can now enter the dog park, or choose not to, with confidence. This easy to read, easy to understand handbook answers all of the questions that dog owners have, while also pointing out issues that many might not have considered…What I enjoyed most about this book is its sense of balance. Readers are often reminded that they are part of the equation when it comes to dog park enjoyment and safety. Rather than an opinion-laden commentary on dog parks, Cheryl offers a common sense, straightforward, and amazingly complete description of the pros and cons, choices, considerations, and all-important preparation involved in taking one’s dog to play off leash at the park.”