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Summertime is a great time to explore the dog parks in our Schaumburg and Chicagoland area. Dog parks offer dogs the chance to socialize and get lots of exercise, and owners the chance to interact with other dog lovers. However, without the right precautions, dog parks can also be dangerous places for you and for your dog. Here are a few of our best tips for keeping your precious pup safe during your next visits to the dog park.

Stay Away from the Entrance
The entrance and exit area of a dog park can be quite busy. As soon as you enter, keep on moving with your dog, avoiding setting up camp near this sometimes chaotic area. Once your dog is acclimated to the park, keep moving as well instead of hanging out on the same bench the entire time you are there. This can assist with territorial behavior from your dogs and others.

Stay On Leash for a Bit
One of the benefits to a dog park is the chance for your dog to run without his leash, which is especially alluring for owners who have a small backyard. However, resist the urge to take the leash off right away. Instead, keep your dog on the leash while you both explore the park. Your dog will know his expectations while on leash, thanks to leash commands he learned at Dog Training Now, and you’ll be close enough to intervene in case of emergency.

Try a Long Line Next
After you and your dog are comfortable with the dog park, consider switching out his leash for a longer line. Our Trainers use long line leashes often during our training programs with great success. The long lines (leashes that are 15 – 20 feet long) give your dog more freedom while still giving you the control you need to be sure your dog is safe.

Practice Makes Perfect
While your dog is on the long line, be sure that he obeys when you give the Come command. This command is especially important in dog park situations, as you need to know that your dog will return to you when called. Practice the Come command at the dog park often so that he learns to obey consistently.

Keep Your Eye Out
Your dog may be a friendly guy, but not all dogs are. Unfortunately, some dogs can become agitated or territorial in dog park situations and your dog can become injured or scared if approached in this aggressive manner. Be sure that you are keeping your dog safe by watching other dogs in the park. If you are concerned, stick close until you are sure your dog is secure.

Remember, dog parks are not the only solution to healthy exercise and socialization. A nice hike or neighborhood walk (on leash) can be just as beneficial for your dog and can be a safer option for you to consider. Enjoy the dog park – in moderation and with a close eye.