Dog park safety and etiquette

Alvern Gardens is celebrating becoming dog friendly by putting in a dog park. To help our current and prospective residents  prepare for taking their dogs to the park, here are some tips on safety and etiquette.

Dog parks are a wonderful place to give your pet the mental and physical exercise he needs. Dogs big and small need to blow off steam regularly, especially if they live in an apartment. Many dog parks operate under a “use at your own risk” disclaimer, so safety is in the hands of the patrons. In order to enjoy a dog park safely, visitors must follow all the rules posted at the park as well as the following safety tips.

  • Never take your dog to a dog park without knowing how it behaves around other dogs and people. Any dog entering a dog park should already be socialized towards people and other dogs. Your dog should also be fully trained to listen to voice commands. At the bare minimum, your dog should understand and obey: heel, sit, stay, leave it/drop it, and down.

    Dogs welcome at Alvern Gardens Apartments
    Dogs 40 lbs and under are now welcome at Alvern Gardens Apartments in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Soon, they will have access to a dog park on the property.
  • Rowdy or aggressive dogs are dangerous to the other dogs in the park as well as your owners, so if you know your dog to be aggressive, don’t take it to a dog park. If your dog becomes aggressive, leave immediately. If another dog is being aggressive, politely point this out to its owner and ask them to leave. As at most dog parks, aggressive behavior is not allowed in the Alvern Gardens Dog Park.
  • Bringing in food or treats for people or dogs is typically prohibited, and it’s certainly not advised. If your dog doesn’t listen without being offered a treat, it’s not ready for the dog park. The sight or smell of food and treats could cause quite a stir, with all the dogs wanting a bite. Plus, even though your dog might not have trouble sharing, you have no idea if any of the other dogs might become aggressive around food or treats. Bringing water, on the other hand, is a good idea. A hydrated dog is a happy dog, especially on a hot day.
  • Dog parks are not a safe place for babies and small children. Only experienced dog owners should enter the park with their pets. Owners should also give their full attention to their dog while in the park. Always have an eye on your furry friend and make sure her behavior is acceptable and that other dogs are also being nice.
  • If it’s your first time taking your dog to the park, consider using a training collar such as one that sprays citronella. Just be sure to practice training with it beforehand so you know how your dog responds when sprayed in punishment. Also consider keeping your dog muzzled for the first visit. There’s nothing wrong with taking safety precautions.
  •  Only take spayed/neutered dogs to the park. Since all pets at Alvern Gardens must be spayed/neutered, this won’t be a problem at the Alvern Dog Park, but at other dog parks, make sure all four-legged visitors are spayed/neutered.
  • Puppies under 4 months should never be taken to a dog park because they haven’t gotten all their vaccinations. All pets at Alvern must have their vaccinations up to date anyway, but if you ever fall behind, don’t take your dog to the park. Also be sure to keep your dog’s flea and tick medication up to date, and don’t take your dog anywhere other than to the vet if it’s sick.
  • Have a phone handy for emergencies only. A dog park is not the place to play around on your phone. Your full attention should be on your dog.
  • Take a walk, then go to the park. If your dog is too full of pent-up energy, the dog park should not be your first stop. Excessive energy can lead to rowdy play, which can lead to fights.
  • Before you enter the dog park, spend a few minutes outside observing the action. If you see any signs of aggression or notice that any of the dogs might be sick or not spayed/neutered, don’t go inside. Never take yourself or your dog into a dangerous situation, including a situation that makes either of you or both of you nervous or uncomfortable. If you feel a park is too crowded or rowdy, don’t go in.

Finally, always be sure to clean up after your dog no matter where you are. Alvern Gardens Dog Park, like most dog friendly areas, will have pet waste stations complete with baggies and trash cans for our residents’ convenience. But all dog owners should invest in a proper pooper scooper and/or a clip-on baggie dispenser.

Interested in a new home for you and your dog under 40 lbs? Contact Alvern Gardens Apartments at alverngardens@yahoo.com or 412-561-4663 for our availability and be sure to ask about current specials.

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