Many new families comment on their adoption application that they will take puppy to the dog park. We think it's time to write a blog about this and shed light on the subject. For many reasons dog parks are NOT such a great idea for puppies, and even older dogs for that matter. Read on…

Firstly, bonding with your puppy is such an important matter.  You want your pup to connect with you and your family as the centre of his universe!  This connection continues to develop as your pup grows up, and creates trust, loyalty and confidence in your puppy.  While spending time in the dog park, your puppy might well be bonding to other dogs rather than you!  Use your time with your puppy to interact closely and for YOU to be the centre of puppy’s bonding experience.

At Ridgy Didge we promote lots of early socialisation for puppies. Dogs are a lot like us and enjoy socialising and playing with good friends whom they have had time to get to know and feel safe with, and trust. Most other dogs will be bigger, stronger and more confident than your young puppy, so meeting new dogs for a new puppy is a BIG deal!

Each encounter needs to be controlled and carefully managed so that it’s a positive experience that will increase your puppy’s confidence. Dog parks don’t facilitate this!  Your puppy needs to gradually meet new dogs of different shapes and sizes over time and see them repeatedly. Pups can still have a good experience from a distance and as their confidence grows, allow them to get more up-close and personal.  It is the same process for meeting new people, little or big! 

It’s your job to enable your puppy to feel trust and confidence in you as his handler and to know he is safe at all times. Again, dog parks don’t facilitate this!  Not all dogs at a dog park will have been trained and socialised properly. It would be a huge setback if your new puppy has a negative encounter early on. Lifelong detrimental issues can result from overwhelming dog park encounters. It would be sad if you thought your puppy was having fun playing at the dog park when he is actually being chased and bullied by another dog, or just physically overwhelmed. We hear stories from people whose dogs suddenly don’t want to go out, or go for walks!

That 'game' might be stressful for your pup!

You would do much better to find a friend with a dog of similar size and developing safe playdates for your pup.  And your puppy will also meet new and varied dogs from the safety of your arms or beside your leg, in your social outings.

Ultimately, a well socialised dog is unfazed by many different environments, other animals, people of all shapes, sizes, clothing and voices, etc.  However, at the start of their socialisation journey, too much unfamiliarity at once can be overwhelming and your puppy may feel insecure and frightened.

Remember too that your puppy/dog is learning respectful manners out in the big wide world, and dog park dogs may not be modelling the manners you want to instil in your impressionable young pup.

Eventually, with time, positive socialisation and good experiences, your puppy will grow into a dog that is happy to interact around many different dogs, big and small, but always in a secure environment, always looking to you to keep him safe while building relationship and trust with you, not the dogs in the dog park.  

If you would like to adopt a Ridgy Didge Australian Cobberdog, please read our Adopting a Puppy information, before you continue the adoption process. For more information, pm us on Facebook, or contact us at our website. Like and follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with ongoing puppy news and announcements.