Trainer Cesar Millan, who published his first book, Cesars Way, last month, offers these tips for owners heading to the dog park:
1. Make sure your dog is spayed or neutered, has all her shots, and is in good health. Under no circumstances should you take a sick dog to a dog park!
2. Do not use the dog park as a substitute for a walk! If you drive to the park, leave your car a block away and take your dog on a vigorous walk of at least 35 minutes to drain some of her energy before entering the park. Never take an over-excited dog to the park.
3. While at the park, don’t punch out on your calm-assertive leadership. Be aware of your dog at all times, and take responsibility for her behavior.
4. A calm-submissive dog will not attract another dogs aggression, but an excited dog, a weak, timid dog, or an aggressive dog can become a fight-magnet.
5. Know your dog! If your dog has poor social skills, is overly fearful, or is dog-aggressive, or if you have not yet established your calm-assertive leadership with your dog, find a more controlled way to introduce her to the company of other dogs, such as play dates with one or two other dog owners.
Posted: May 3, 2006, 5 a.m. EST