Practicing Dog Park Etiquette At Zilker Dog Park
Whether you’re lounging near Barton Springs’ pool, running or biking along the Lady Bird Lake trail, or enjoying one of the Blues On The Green concerts, Zilker Park seems to have something for everyone, after all, they don’t call it Austin’s most loved park for nothing!
Dog owners have much to love about Zilker as well, namely the nearly 46 acres dedicated entirely to dogs. Enjoying the Zilker dog park is a no-brainer as long as you and your pooch practice proper dog park etiquette.
Fun And Frolicking
Besides being a great way for an exuberant dog to burn off excess energy, dog parks provide the opportunity for your pup to practice his or her basic social interaction skills, receive positive behavior reinforcement, and of course have fun!
Review our principles of dog park etiquette before you head out to ensure a good time is had by all (your dog and the other dogs at the park).
Zilker Dog Park may be huge (45.65 acres to be exact), but it is not fenced. While it can be tempting to peruse your emails or chitchat with other dog owners, it’s important to keep your sweet pet in your sight at all times. If your dog does not respond to your verbal commands consistently, or has yet to learn the basic obedience commands, avoid Zilker (and any other dog park) until the issue has been addressed.
Keep It Healthy
For your dog’s protection, make sure he or she has been fully vaccinated and is at least 6 months of age before entering any dog park. Similarly, your dog should be on a year-round parasite prevention protocol to protect against fleas, ticks, and heartworm (all of which are problems in the Austin area).
Respect The Leash
Zilker Dog Park is a dedicated off-leash area, but local leash laws still apply to the areas immediately surrounding it. Make sure your pup is leashed until you get to the entrance, after which point he or she should be off leash. Taking a leashed dog into a dog park is never a good idea, as many dogs become aggressive while on-leash. Not to mention the fact that leashes can easily become tangled in the legs and bodies of passing dogs, putting your dog and the other at risk for injury or strangulation.
Dog Park Etiquette
We know your dog is a perfect angel, but it never hurts to review the principles of dog park etiquette:
- Before entering with your dog, take a moment to observe how the other dogs are interacting with each other. If you don’t like what you see, come back another time.
- Make sure to pick up your dog’s feces. Bring your own plastic bags in case the supply provided by the park is empty.
- If you notice any unwanted behavior from your dog, or he or she becomes the target of an aggressive dog, intervene immediately.
- Leave toys and treats at home, as these can be sources of competitiveness or resource-guarding aggressiveness.
- Bring your own fresh water to offer to your dog. Communal water bowls can spread disease, such as Leptospirosis.
In the event your dog has been in a fight or another accident while at the dog park, please seek emergency care for him or her, even if there are no visible signs of injury. Heart Of Texas is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to meet your pet’s emergency needs.