Dog park is a great place for you and your pet

Driving down Interstate 70 last weekend, the sight of wagging tails caught my attention as I drove past the Canyon View Dog Park.

There were dogs of every size and shape running and happily playing in the large fenced in area. Their owners, taking advantage of the beautiful spring day, were standing in small groups watching their four legged friends frolic. While watching the scene, I realized how beneficial the dog park is for both people and pets as a venue for socialization.

Referencing, I was surprised to learn the park is approximately 3.2 acres. It is enclosed by a 6-foot chain-link fence with two separate double-gated entrances to two different areas, one for small or senior dogs, the other for larger active dogs. Each entrance has an area where an owner can leash and unleash the dog before entering or exiting the park,the website says, because it is preferred that dogs be off leashes when entering the park to avoid fights or conflicts associated with reactive leash behavior.

Watching animals interact is always a fascinating study in animal behavior. When given the opportunity to “check out” a possible companion, most dogs are gregarious in their approach. Tails are often held high but wagging, while their scent glands kick in and communication between the two animals becomes a smell fest. It usually starts at the head but inevitably ends up in the hindquarters.

Docile dogs will often lay down and roll on their backs to portray submissiveness while more aggressive dogs will either play or fight. A well-socialized pet will typically join in the fun and want to play, but if your canine companion displays aggressive tendencies toward other dogs, you need to work on their socialization skills before you take them to the dog park.

The dog park website has a link to a list of rules that should be read prior to taking your pet to the park. Dogs must be current on vaccinations and have a valid Mesa County license. Unaltered male dogs and females in heat are not allowed in the park.

There is a water feature at the park, but the rules recommend veterinarian consultation prior to use of the pond if your pet’s immune system is vulnerable. Spike, pinch or choke collars are not allowed in the park.

These are just a few of the rules. Refer to the city’s website for the complete list. The main emphasis reiterates that ultimate responsibility for a dog’s behavior at the park is on its owner.

You bear the risk for your dog’s conduct, and you will be held legally responsible for any damage or injury caused by your pet. Make sure your dog can readily adapt to the social frenzy at the park before you enter the grounds.

Dog parks were developed to create a place where our canine companions can enjoy themselves. They offer a safe, enclosed environment where pets can run off leashes while providing an opportunity to socialize with other dogs.

In addition to providing your pet with a stimulating communal setting, dog parks are a great place to meet people with similar interests. It is amazing how conversations easily start when the topic is pets. The common bond many people have is the relationship they have with their four-legged friends.

Charlé Thibodeau has been passionate pet caregiver for more than 30 years and is the owner of Ah, Natural! Ltd. If you have a pets question you would like Thibodeau to answer in her column, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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