Category: Informative

How to Show Your Dog You Love Them! 1

How to Show Your Dog You Love Them!

We get dogs because we love them, right? We would play and cuddle with them all day long if we could! While that sounds great, providing our pups with some structure does improve their quality of life and reduces mental stress. Why? Because every living thing has and needs boundaries. It’s just nature!

Here are some ways you can show pup you love them in a way they will understand and appreciate.

  1. GO ON AN ADVENTURE WALK
    Allow pup to stop and smell the flowers, literally! Climb over rocks, walk through water and squeeze under branches with pup on an adventure walk. This could be on a dog-friendly hiking trail or even at the local kid’s park. Get creative and challenge pup’s mind and body. 😌
  2. MAKE YOUR OWN FORAGING TOYS
    Here’s a recipe for some mealtime boredom busters with ideas of what you could do but, essentially, foraging toy’s are anything that allows your dog to work for their food. How hard they have to work depends on a few things, such as, have they ever needed to work for their food? Do they know how to use the toy? For first-timers, placing some kibble in an empty tissue box or a store-bought “ball with a hole” toy will be difficult enough. For a more keen pup, there are snuffle mats, you can play hide-n-seek with food, try wobbler toys, various Kong™ toys and anything you can come up with at home!

Sometimes I put my dog’s dinner in an empty egg carton. It makes it harder for him to gulp it down and he seems to enjoy figuring out how to get the food out!

Organix Dog Spa
  1. GIVE PUP A MASSAGE
    It might sound silly but pup can benefit from a massage every now and again, just like we can. I’m sure you’ve seen pup wake up from a nap and stretch out his back and legs, throwing in an almighty yawn. 😪 Dogs experience muscle soreness just like us. Why not try giving pup a massage after your next walk? Apply an even, firm pressure in circular motions starting at pups hip joints, working your way down the back legs, back up, down the spine, to the shoulders and down the front legs – repeat. Add in a forehead and ear massage and that’s it!
    If done correctly, most pups will start to lean into your hands and may even turn around to better position themselves for the massage. 😁

ARE YOU PATTING PUP AT THE RIGHT TIME?
When you pat or talk to your dog you are telling them “yes!”. Remember that every time you give your dog any attention. If your dog jumps on you all the time, think, are you holding your arms out and “accidentally” patting them while saying “oh no! Spot! Get off me!”?
Because all that pup hears is “hu#%f! Spot! hr&nk!* Good Dog!”.
Why? Because attention is affection and affection is positive.

“…attention is affection and affection is positive.”

I’d love to never have to tell my dog, “no”, but our pups should be raised with an understanding of yes and no, just like our human children. 🙄 Cuddles aside, this Valentine’s Day I encourage you to do something your dog will find fun – not just you! Challenge their mind and body and encourage good behaviour.

10 Easy Ways to Save the Environment in Your Everyday Life

At a Glance
– Looking after the environment is easier than you may think.
– Below I list 10 easy things you can try in your home.
– Check out some of the companies I love & trust.

As Jane Goodall once said, “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.”
I believe change starts with one person and I’m a huge believer in “the little guy”. There are lots of easy small changes you can make to your everyday life which can make a big impact on the environment without impacting your life.

  1. Choose Recycled or Bamboo Paper for your Household
    I use and love “Who Gives a Crap” paper in my whole house! They have recycled and bamboo paper options for your toilet paper, paper towels and tissues. 🧻
  2. Choose Sustainable Compostable Cleaning Sponges
    They’re just a good as your everyday sponge yet are made of compostable materials. Also, they’re really cheap! What’s not to love?!
  3. Use Cruelty-Free, All Natural make-up & Haircare Products
    It does exist and you don’t have to compromise on quality you just have to do your research.
  4. Use Bio-degradable Rubbish Bin Bags & Doggy Bags
    Honestly, yes they aren’t as strong as a plastic bag but there are good biodegradable rubbish bags out there. I use BioBag bags for the house and Oh Crap! doggy bags and am very happy with the quality. It’s a really easy switch and you know you’ll be helping out the environment a substantial amount as everyone throws away garbage. 💩
  5. Use Deodorant Powder or Creams instead of Deodorant Sprays
    I’ve only recently found out just how bade deodorants and antiperspirants are for your health and the environment so I immediately made the switch to a deodorant powder – it’s kind of like talcum powder.
    Firstly, oh my gosh! It works so well! And my skin feels so soft. Secondly, oh my gosh read this for reasons why traditional sprays and roll-ons are so bad!
    I really like this product from Lush but there are heaps of products to try. I can almost guarantee you’ll find one you love. 🥰
  6. For the Ladies, Give Re-Usable Feminine Products a Try
    There are a heap of options now so there’s no excuse not to try something! You might be pleasantly surprised at how effective and easy to use some of them are to the point you’ll be saying CYA! to pads and tampons for good!
  7. Ditch Plastic Straws & Cups
    Get yourself a reusable coffee/tea mug and metal straw. Most cafes will discount your coffee if you bring in a reusable cup saving you $$ in the long run and opting to bring a metal straw with you if you know you’re going out for shakes. 🥤Forgotten your straw? You know you can drink without one?! Weird right! – Sorry, a bit of sarcasm. 🤭
  8. Carry a Drink Bottle
    Once you start carrying a drink bottle with you, you’ll wonder where it’s been your whole life! It encourages you to drink more water and stops you from dehydrating yourself. Many people say they drink when their thirsty but I guarantee if you had a water bottle on your desk for the day you would drink way more water than if you didn’t. Having water at hand means you won’t be tempted to buy bottled water or soft drinks when you’re out which means less plastic waste.
  9. Switch to a Bamboo Toothbrush
    Bet you never realised how many plastic toothbrushes you throw away? That’s okay, someone has invented a great alternative, a toothbrush made of bamboo! It’s no different to your usual toothbrush, the only difference is the material so there’s no compromise on oral hygiene.
  10. Re-Useable Food Wraps & Covers
    While shops have already started implementing reusable bags, there are still heaps of plastic bags & food storage items that you may not have realised you are using in your household. If you’re still covering bowls of uneaten food in cling film you can give Silicone Food Covers a go. They come in an array of sizes and stretch to fit over most bowls & jars.

To Get You Started
There are a heap of products out there that you can try, I know because I’m always looking for better alternatives to everyday products. Check out some of the brands and products I love below. You won’t be disappointed and you know you’ll be doing the environment and your health a huge favour.

Who Gives a Crap – Toilet Paper / Paper Towels / Tissues
I love this company! 100% of their products are made without cutting down any trees and they use 50% of their profits to help build toilets for those in need.
Their paper is made of bamboo or recycled paper and contains no dyes, ink or fragrance so their safe for everyone. I’ve got all of their products and can happily say their products are just as good, if not better than supermarket brands. The bamboo paper is a little softer but I’ve had no issues with the recycled paper as well. The paper towels are great! They don’t fall apart as easily as cheap paper towels do, but, just remember they’re not designed to be as strong as say, Vileda or Handee. In saying that, I’ve used Who Gives a Crap paper towels to clean the algae off the INSIDE of my fishtank before with no problems. 🤭
I can’t rate this company high enough!

Modibodi – Feminine Hygiene Products
Most feminine hygiene products are made up of plastic which means a huge contribution to the amount of plastic waste entering our landfill sites. One single pad takes 500-800 years to degrade naturally in landfill making even proper disposal not much help to the environment.
Modibodi is absorbent underwear that feels no different than your everyday underwear and can be washed and reused. That means no waste. No feeling uncomfortable.

Oh Crap! – Doggy Bags
In Australian, there are approximately 4.2 million dogs which create over 1200kg of waste! So you can understand why we’re told to ‘Pick Up’. But that also means if we are all picking up, we’re adding 1.3 billion plastic bags to landfill every day.
There are lots of ‘green’ doggy bags that have come out recently but I always go back to my Oh Crap! doggy bags. Many other brands are only degradable or are biodegradable, but take a long time to break down in commercial composting conditions – not your household compost bin or landfill. This is why I always read the packaging. 🧐
These bags break down completely in landfill within 3 months! They’re made of cornstarch which is sustainable and the texture of the bags is actually quite nice and silky – if you’re weird like me and that’s considered a positive. And yet they are strong enough to withstand a bit of moisture and water so your dog’s poop stays in its bag! 🤢
Bonus! The guy who runs it is super nice!

Natural Value Walnut Cleaning Sponge – Cleaning
These sponges are so great! Sometimes when it comes to cleaning products you have to settle for an inferior product. It might be harder to use or more ‘fiddly’ but with these sponges, you definitely don’t have to settle. They feel and work exactly the same as your everyday artificial sponge despite being made out of crushed walnuts and plant cellulose. These can be thrown in your compost bin or regular bin and will break down 100%.

ZUII Organic – Make-Up
A great alternative to unnatural chemically produced makeup and skincare is Zuii. They have an excellent range of skincare and makeup which is formulated using REAL flowers, they even have tanning products! The best part is that their makeup is formulated to improve your skin’s condition at the same time so you’re not just covering up your skin or putting pretty colours on your face, you’re actually hydrating, soothing and in some products, reducing fine lines.
70% of everything your skin comes into contact with is absorbed, so why not ensure it’s only absorbing good things?

Flora and Fauna – Website
This site has heaps of great stuff! It’s my go-to website when I’m looking for a natural alternative to something I’m using – I also do a monthly order of household supplies. I encourage you to jump on and have a look around. Most items I’ve mentioned can be bought from this website so for me, it’s a one-stop-shop. 🌱

Sustainable, green, eco, all of these words can often be thought of next to weak, fragile and inefficient, and that’s because quite often green products aren’t filled with harsh chemicals or made of super-strong materials that last forever which can make these green products seem “not as good”. This is just a mindset issue. There are good and bad products in every niche, you just have to try them until you find something you like. I’ve been switching out the products I use for a few years now and I admit, some green-eco brands just don’t work good enough for me, but I keep trying until I find a product I like. And there are products that work just as well as others – without harming my body, my pets or the environment.
Using the above lists, I encourage you to start to think about the products you are currently using and try switching them out for a more sustainable option.

Disclaimer: Myself, nor, Organix Dog Spa, have any affiliation with any of these products. We just think they’re awesome!

Dog Friendly Holiday: Apollo Bay, VIC

We all need a break from time to time. I know myself how hard it is to work a whole year straight, sometimes I’ve worked a few years in a row without doing anything else except wake up, tend animals, work, eat, sleep, repeat! 😓
There’s nothing like getting out there and changing up the routine by going away for a little while. Even just a few days to refresh the mind.
Oh, wait! Yes, there is! Getting to go away with your pup!

In search of the perfect weekend away, not too far to drive, dog friendly, with something to do, I found a great little place in Skenes Creek which is just 15mins to Apollo Bay. It was one of the best mini holidays I’ve ever been on. And yep, we went in winter.

Accommodation

It didn’t take as much searching as I thought it would to find a place to stay with pup. AirBnb was my search engine choice as I felt it was the most reputable. Always check in what way exactly the place is dog-friendly and ensure it suits you and your dog. We were lucky enough to find a place with a fireplace so Stretch was super happy to stay in the unfamiliar surroundings – by the fire of course. We had a huge range of DVD’s to watch at night and were happy to hang out inside once it was dark.

Things to Consider

Just because dogs are allowed doesn’t necessarily mean that the accommodation has thought about your dog.
1. Is there a fenced yard?
2. Is there somewhere comfortable for pup to sleep?
– If your dog sleeps inside, are they allowed inside? If not, you might have to look elsewhere to avoid confusing pup. After all, they may have slept inside their whole life!
3. Is your dog destructive?
– If your dog is a chewer just know that you’ll be paying for any damage and could risk getting a poor review yourself depending on how you’ve booked. Not only that, but you may want to go back there someday!
4. If you plan on doing some things without pup, will they be comfortable being left alone in an unfamiliar place?
– Some dogs will be fine, some dogs might not. This is where crate training comes in handy!
5. Have you brought ample food and supplies so pup feels at home?
– Toys, blankets, food, treats maybe their bed or something they love from home.

Dog-Friendly Places to Visit

There are actually lot’s of things to do in and around Apollo Bay with your dog! We didn’t even get a chance to do everything we could have.

Beaches
Most beaches we came across were completely dog friendly year-round with Christmas holidays being the only exception. Just check the signs before heading onto the beach.

Apollo Bay, Beach – The sand at this beach was clean and firm which made it easy to walk on with shoes as it was winter so I wasn’t keen on wetting my feet haha! The waves although rough were incredible to look at, I would consider keeping pup in the shallows though. 😅
The beach area is huge too so you have plenty of opportunities to create your own space or meet other people and their dogs. The locals loved Stretch (our dog) despite him not wanting anything to do with anyone! 😂 Walking from one end to the other took about 2hours with a few stops in between to take in the scenery and have a sniff around.
Petticoat Creek Beach – This beach is a short drive or a 10-15min walk from where we stayed at Skenes Creek and is dog friendly year-round.

Nature Walks/Hikes
There are some crazy beautiful places in the Ottways and surroundings.

Beauchamp Falls – Starting from Beauchamp Reserve. Distance: 1.5kms. Time: 1hr return. Difficulty: Moderate

Stevenson Falls – Starting from Stevensons Falls Reserve. Distance: 1.5km. Time: 1hr return. Difficulty: Easy
This was a beautiful walk. You get a mixture of secluded forestry, natural pathways and wide-open space lined with red gums. It is an easy enough walk for any dog until the last 500m which takes you up to the waterfall. Yes, that’s right, you will actually get to see a magnificent waterfall at the end of this walk! 😍
To complete the last 500m, there is a steel grate bridge with holes wide enough for pups feet to potentially fall through! Carrying is required.

Dandos Campground – Via Lardner Track, near Gellibrand River. 
Great Ocean Walk – From Marengo to GONP boundary near Three Creeks Crossing. You can join in on some of this walk from Apollo Bay as the track passes through the main beach and town.

Food, Glorious Food!

Fisherman’s Co-Op – Outdoor picnic-style seating looking out over the pier. Most of the fish served at this friendly fish ‘n’ chip shop is caught locally. So you can watch the fisherman going in and out of the bay and returning (hopefully) with your lunch! Dog’s are of course welcome to sit with you on either the balcony overlooking the bay or at their picnic tables on the fake grass. Both lovely spots.

Apollo Bay, Fisherman’s Co-Op

Great Ocean Road Brewhouse – Cannot believe I didn’t get a chance to go here! Most dog friendly locations are dog friendly because they allow pup to sit outside with you, this place, however, has a dog friendly beer garden which also serves doggy beer! Non-alcoholic of course and purely aesthetic. 😎 Oh and not to mention your dog can join you in the tasting house next door and have his picture taken on the wall of fame! (Seriously, why did I not go here!)
Situated in the main shopping strip, the Brewhouse overlooks the foreshore and has ample pool tables to keep you entertained.

I highly recommend visiting Apollo Bay with your dog during winter. Obviously, most activities were weather permitting and we were lucky that it didn’t rain while we were there and were able to go out to the beach, hiking, eat at cafes and wander around the town. At night, when the temperature dropped, we kept warm by the fireplace. A great, relaxing and yet still adventurous weekend away.

Why I’m Not a Mobile Dog Groomer.

Mobile grooming can be a great option for both the groomer and the dog owner in certain circumstances. For owners, it can be convenient not having to transport your dog anywhere and for the groomer, there’s a sense of freedom from being able to work from just about anywhere.
Some dogs are extremely nervous in unfamiliar places or bad travellers, although these things usually improve over time, a mobile groomer might be their only option. And that’s fine. We’re all individuals and we all have different wants and needs.

When I began setting up my business, I thought about what type of service I wanted to provide, what feeling I wanted to leave my clients with and exactly how I wanted to be able to handle the dogs.

For me, a mobile grooming unit was not an option.

I have the freedom to provide dogs with an entire grooming experience. They are welcome to browse through my pet-friendly backyard, toilet & sniff around real grass and plants, run & play in the sun and even cosy up inside with a soft toy. For me, this is a far superior option for dogs and a service I would not be able to provide if I were mobile.

Pro’s & Con’s
For the groomer, it’s a business choice. Simple as that. For the pet owner, you have your pup and yourself to consider when deciding between a mobile or salon groomer.

A mobile groomer is really good if:
– Your dog is elderly &/or not good with travelling
– Your schedule is hectic and you feel you have no time to get to a salon
– You’d prefer not to dirty your car! 😅

But, there are some really nice perks with Salon grooming.

A salon/spa groomer is really good if:
– Your dog likes to play with other dogs/people
– Your dog enjoys outings
– You’d like more service options
– Drop off/pick up fits better with your schedule
– You like being able to pick up a few products while you’re there
– Your dog requires a little more time spent with them
– Your 2-3 dogs like to/need to stay together

Of course, every groomer is different! And each provides a different kind of service. It’s up to you to determine what you want from your dog’s groomer and what your dog may need. It’s important to find the right fit for your dog, after all, they’ll be visiting them a lot!


Grooming Terms for the Dog Owner

You’ll be surprised at all the different ways you can say the same thing. Different people can use different expressions and different words to describe the same situation. That can be personal preference, how they were taught or just what they know to be correct.
All of this can make a grooming consultation really confusing for both groomer and owner.
Below, are commonly used terms and what they mean.

All of these are interpretational. Every groomer & customer will have their own idea of what they should be, so always ask questions and clarify terms with your groomer.

Teddy Bear Trim, Puppy Clip or Winter Cut
One length all over, generally with a round shaped head (or Teddy Head) and the tail and ears are left long but tidied. It is commonly performed on dogs who are clipped shorter in the summer months and kept longer during winter, hence the term: winter cut.

Summer Cut
The body is clipped short, leaving longer hair on the dogs head and tail. The length of the body is dependant on the groomer and owners interpretation so be sure to specify the length as simply stating “Short” can mean a whole lot of things. A Summer Cut is, however, generally left just long enough for the dog to still have some coverage, roughly 4mm.

Tidy, Half Groom, Hygiene Clip or trim
The bottom, paw pads and belly will be shaved short for hygiene and is generally accompanied with a paw trim to remove any hair touching the floor, eye/visor trim so your pup can see and/or to remove any tear staining and some groomers will also style the head, although, this is not usually included and may incur extra costs.

*A Trim does not refer to the length of coat to be taken off, it refers to the act of tidying up the dogs coat for a neat appearance. Any amount of length that is taken off the body would be considered a Full Groom.

Full Groom/Full Clip
A Full Groom may refer to any breed of dog receiving a complete and ‘proper’ groom. Eg.: Both a Border Collie & a Maltese Terrier Could be booked for a Full Groom but would both be getting completely different services.
A Full Clip, however, refers specifically to the entire dog being clipped to any length either as requested or based on coat condition.

A Samoyed enjoying a warm bath & Deshed!

Hand Scissored Trim or Comb Clip
A specialty service often provided to those who want a very specific or stylized trim which requires the groomer to cut the dog’s hair completely by hand – with no clippers. This can be time consuming and requires a patient dog, but, the results are often amazing. Think Boo the Pomeranian.
Some groomers can also achieve this look using clipper blade attachments and then finishing off the cut by hand, this is considered a Comb Clip and still takes extra time but saves your groomers arms, fingers & wrists from fatigue.

Deshedding
A service often provided to double coated breeds who are shedding. It refers to removing the dog’s loosened undercoat to prevent matting and excessive shedding. It involves a lot of brushing and a hairy snow storm courtesy of a thorough wash and turbo dry!

Why can’t I get the style I’m after?

  1. Your dog may be too fidgety, scared or dislike grooming.
    It may be best they receive a more simple haircut to avoid frustrating them.
  2. They may have the wrong coat type.
    If you like the fluffy look, your dog has to have the type of hair that sits outwards and fluffy!
  3. Too knotty.
    If your dog has too many knots and/or mats in their coat, the best thing may be to shave it all off and start again.
  4. The wrong style for the dog’s lifestyle.
    If your dog loves to swim at the beach but you love their long flowing hair without the extra sand, your best option may be a shorter cut to ease maintenance. This is your choice though.

Other Common Terms Your Groomer May Use

The ‘Quick’
If your dog has white nails you should be able to see a pink line through the nail, this is the blood supply, or, Quick. This is as short as the nail can be trimmed to without causing bleeding.
If your dog has black or dark nails, you cannot see the Quick, the only way to trim the nail is little by little. You may then be able to see a tiny black dot appear after a fresh cut. That black dot is a sign you’re getting close to the Quick.
In saying that, don’t be upset with your groomer for accidentally trimming too short and causing some bleeding. It’s very common, very easy to do and easily treated. Remember, not all dogs will happily sit there while your groomer fiddles with their nails.

Matting
This is a knot once it’s gone rogue! A knot occurs once the hair has entangled around itself.
A , however, is a knot that has been untouched for quite some time and has been entangling itself for a while.
They have the ability to twist and tighten to the point bruising and sores develop underneath the mat, often resulting in it needing to be shaved off the dog. Depending on the lifestyle of your dog they could occur in as little as a few weeks. They’re often aggravated by friction, water, clothing and dirt.

Anal Glands
This scent gland is located around the dogs bottom and is full of a smelly fluid which is commonly expressed during ‘toileting’. A dog who hasn’t been able to sort it out themselves is often seen scooting around, licking their bottom, leaking from their bottom and even in pain.
I personally believe this is a medical issue and although some groomers know how to express them, a vet should be informed to try to rectify the problem. Expressing the anal glands offers some relief, but, without knowing the cause, it will most likely come back again and again.

Dew Claw
Think of it as your dog’s thumb. It’s the little toe sitting just at your dog’s wrist and can sometimes be on your dog’s hind feet as well.

You should always clarify what you mean with your groomer but this list should definitely help bridge the gaps a little! If you have any other terms that you’re unsure of, don’t hesitate to message me or comment below and I’d be happy to give you an answer, otherwise, a fairly educated guess if I’m unsure  😅 

Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Ice Treats

Prep: 10 Mins – Cook Time: 30 Mins – Freezer: 1 Hour+

INGREDIENTS
1/4 Pumpkin Diced
1 Small Sweet Potato Diced
1 Scoop Vet’s All Natural Grains
1/4 Cup Dry Dog Food

WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Pot & Ladle
Stick Blender
Silicone CupCake Tray and/or some Freezer Safe Toys

https://www.organixdogspa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/20181119_111211-2.mp4
Chunky Mixture After Blending.

METHOD

  1. Boil the Pumpkin and Sweet Potato until soft.
  2. Blend together keeping the mixture a little chunky.
  3. Add the Grains last and stir to combine.
  4. Once the mixture has cooled, use a ladle to scoop the mixture into the CupCake Trays or Toys. 
  5. Place the patties/toys into the freezer for about an hour or until frozen.
  6. Feed to your dog when you’re leaving the house to keep them entertained or on a hot day to keep cool! 😀

Add the grains after blending to avoid them getting stuck in the blenders blades!

TIPS
If the mixture is flowing out of the toys,  place them into a silicone pattie to prevent losing the mixture. Once frozen the toy should come out of the silicone easily.

Use toys that are easy to clean and are freezer safe such as rubber Kong toys.

If your dog doesn’t like the toys or treats, try feeding them unfrozen. Not all dogs will enjoy the icy cool feeling 😛

TIPS
If the mixture is flowing out of the toys,  place them into a silicone pattie to prevent losing the mixture. Once frozen the toy should come out of the silicone easily.

Use toys that are easy to clean and are freezer safe such as rubber Kong toys.

If your dog doesn’t like the toys or treats, try feeding them unfrozen. Not all dogs will enjoy the icy cool feeling 😛

Not all grains are created the same! We use Vet’s All Natural as it’s formulated for dogs by a vet in Australia. If your dog has an intolerance or r vet has recommended your dog stay away from grains – check with them if this ingredient is ok or just don’t add it!

https://www.organixdogspa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/20181119_174748.mp4
Lulu, French Bulldog – A very happy customer.

SUBSTITUTE IDEAS
Pumpkin – Butternut Squash
Sweet Potato – Broccoli Florettes
Vet’s All Natural – Dry Dog Food
Add Watermelon or Strawberries for A Fresh Summer Flavour! 😛

Add some dry food pieces that your dog likes to encourage them to give the treats a try!

These icy are a great way to keep your dog cool but to also alleviate boredom. By freezing the mixture inside a dog toy, your pup now has to work hard to get the food out. As the mixture melts from either the weather or your dog’s tongue, the more appealing the toy becomes and the more your dog will work at it as they are being rewarded as they are playing.
Pretty cool stuff, huh!?

DISCLAIMER
I used paper cupcake liners and silicone trays as I made way too much mixture. I know my dog won’t eat the paper but it’s safer and better for the environment to use your dog’s toys and/or silicone cupcake trays. 🙂

10 Steps to Dog Park Etiquette

I love the dog park! Seeing other dogs running around having fun, chasing toys and rolling everywhere possible, and mine walking beside me trying not to get in the way of the other dogs fun like the grumpy old man that he is…
While arriving at the park and letting your dog go and run amuck might sound like normal park etiquette, there are a few things we should consider for the safety of everyone at the park. Respecting the rules prevents dogfights and uncomfortable situations from arising.

The following list is what I believe should be followed by everyone at the dog park. These rules help to protect the people who visit and their dogs. Because let’s face it, not every dog at the dog park is happy-go-lucky!

  1. Don’t feed your dog around other dogs.
    You don’t know if all the dogs around you are OK with food being given to just your dog. If a dog is food aggressive, they may just run over and attack your dog to get to the food!
    *If your training out at a park, make sure the treats are secured on you, you’re away from others and no dogs are trying to join in on your session and your treats are bite-sized.

  2. Do not be afraid of big dogs.
    Most people with small dogs will assume large dogs will play too roughly and hurt their precious fluffy, but that’s not true at all. You should be looking at the demeanour and play style of ALL the dogs rather than their size. If your dog looks like they’re spending most of their time being trampled on and getting bowled over, find another group of dogs to play with. That’s not to say they’re not still having fun! But it is safest to at least limit this activity. They should get to play a little rough 😉

  3. Always, ALWAYS, ask to pet or approach someone’s dog – off leash or not!
    Just because they’re out running around with other dogs and zipping past you does not mean you can bend down and ruffle their fur. Not all dogs are comfortable with strangers.

  4. Pick up after your dog.
    There are free bags at most parks or at least bins, so no excuses. I’d hate to step in dog poo so I wouldn’t leave it for anyone else. I’ve picked up rubbish before and used it to scoop up poop! It’s a win win for the environment and the park 😀

  5. Do not pick up your dog when a situation is getting heated.
    Ever thought, “ooo that dog is being too ruff (haha sorry couldn’t help it!) with Fluffles… I’ll go pick him up out of the way.” NEVER. EVER. Do that. The second you attempt to pick up your dog in this situation, the other dog just might attack. This is part of the fight or flight instinct, you’re forcing your dog to flee which initiates the other dog to fight. Instead, ask the owner of the other dog to distract or call them away and you can call away your dog.

  6. Pay attention to your dog.
    Never not know where your dog is. We all get stuck into a doggy conversations from time to time. Guilty! But I always know where my dog is. Most dog fights happen when owners aren’t paying attention.

  7. Don’t let your dog get their freak on!
    Haha! But seriously no humping! It’s rude and dominating in the dog world and another thing that could cause a fight. Clap your hands or call your dog away if they’re the serial humper!

  8. Take off all walking tools!
    Don’t leave walking tools on your dog other than their collar. Harnesses, halters and choke chains can end up getting caught on feet and plants and could even injure your dog if they roll over and land on a buckle or strap, so it’s best to remove them so your dog can have a proper play.

  9. Read the atmosphere of the park before entering.
    You know your dog better than anyone else. Have a look around, which dogs match your dog’s energy level and play style? If the park is big enough you can stay with the compatible dogs or ask another owner if your dogs can play away from a particular dog or group. If the park is smaller, you may just have to wait for a better day or if you think you can handle it, try entering with your dog on a leash and try to meet just one dog. But remember to stay calm!

  10. Never enter the park if the dogs are rushing the gate!
    Fights happen in small spaces. Wait for the other dogs to move away so your dog can enter freely. You want it to be a positive experience for your dog and they shouldn’t be bombarded when entering. On that note, enter the park calmly, don’t allow them to drag you in and pull on the lead till you release them. They’ll charge around the park trying to release all that tension they just built up. Ask for

 

Not all dogs are perfect candidates for the dog park but I believe all dogs should be able to experience the dog park without worrying about any negative interactions. If your dog is still learning I’d encourage you to visit the largest dog park you can find. This will allow your dog to not feel entrapped or overwhelmed with the number of dogs in their space and it also allows you to move away from any dogs your dog isn’t comfortable with.

Need some space at the dog park? Follow the yellow dog project’s idea by tying a yellow ribbon to your dogs lead.

Remember to stay calm, dogs pick up on body language and feelings. If they feel you are tense as it might be your first time at the park with your dog, your dog might also start to feel tense. Relax, be respectful and have fun!