This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Beneful. All opinions are 100% mine.
I am grateful for any opportunity to safely socialize my rescue dog at dog parks, his camp, the beach and public parks around San Diego. He was timid and scared when he first arrived after what we suspect—based on many signals and behaviors—some degree of abuse and neglect.
Beneful has been helping build and upgrade dog parks since 2010, as the company sees them as unique places for dogs and owners to bond and socialize. The goal of the 2016 Beneful Dream Dog Park Project is to provide financial and hands-on support to at least 12 dog parks in the U.S., and this year, with GoFundMe is helping to reach that goal.
I am happy to share their message as dog parks have played an integral role in my dog’s rehabilitation and have enabled me to become a better dog owner. Here’s why.
Socializing Is Good for Dogs
Before I took my rescue to our local dog park, I had him interact with other dogs at a supervised off-leash camp with trainers observing his behavior. Luckily, he loves other dogs and after many sessions, they thought it was completely fine for me to take him to our local dog park to interact with other dogs. I’m convinced that doing so has only improved his social skills with dogs and humans.
I Could Learn About His Behavior
Watching him play with other dogs has enabled me to learn which personalities he agrees with which has proved incredibly helpful when also walking on a leash around the neighborhood. I know which dogs he would prefer to approach and avoid. He does not like aggressive dogs. He absolutely adores little dogs which can be a little intimidating to their owners as he’s 80 lbs.
He is also a little clumsy. If someone is throwing a ball, he’ll go after it, not really pay attention to where he’s going and crash into things… so I avoid group ball sessions. I keep him on a leash when other dogs are on a leash (and, of course, when at the beach and other parks that require it) and he’s fine with that.
I Became Less Nervous
Because I understood his behavior a bit more, I became less nervous when walking him around our neighborhood and in other public places. He’s a pitbull so I am naturally on edge due to the prejudices against them.
We All Get Exercise
This goes without saying but a session at the park helps dogs stay happy and healthy. My dog is physically and mentally wiped out after interacting with so many dogs. And, a little outdoor activity is good for me, too.
Exercise Keeps Behavior in Check
When I do not exercise my dog, as I actually often can’t when his allergies flare up, he gets fidgety and anxious. He is much easier to manage with a daily outing involving exercise.
It’s Social for Humans
A dog park is a great way to meet your neighbors. Seriously, the social component for humans cannot be underplayed. Studies have shown that dogs break down normal communication barriers between humans.
Simple Dog Park Etiquette
Please keep an eye on your dog at all times, make sure he or she is current on vaccines and not aggressive. Not every dog is fit for the dog park and that’s okay, too.