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Dr. Scott Sandeman

Dr. Scott Sandeman

Shorter days and cooler temps often mean that the dog park may be a little less busy. Now is the perfect time to get in some sessions before the deep freeze and snow and ice of winter make it less hospitable.

Even with less traffic, a review of some rules to follow for good citizen dogs is in order.

If you are visiting a park that you haven’t been to before, try to let your explore the area when no other dogs are around-your pet will feel more comfortable when there is a lots of activity. In fact, avoid allowing your dog to be surrounded by dogs it doesn’t know at the park while be restrained on a leash. If you have visited before and your dog knows the park, let him or her off leash as soon as you are in the enclosure.

Make sure to read the rules of the park –most parks will have them displayed prominently. Only vaccinated dogs should be allowed in but even those that are fully protected against common canine diseases should stay home if not 100% healthy.

Make sure you closely observe your dog at all times-a change in body language that says your dog is getting upset should signal an end to the day. If possible, try to end on a positive note- a quick toss of a ball or small treat may make a return visit better.

Lastly, always be considerate of the other pets and people visiting and clean up after your dog no matter where in the park your pet has to go. Good citizens are always welcome!

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Questions? Send them to Dr. Sandeman, Home & Garden, Quad-City Times,  500 E. 3rd St., Davenport, IA 52801. Or, email to papertrained@ mchsi.com. Dr. Sandeman cannot answer letters or email personally, but questions of general interest will be answered in this column.

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