While people around the world have been getting used to lockdown measures enacted to stem the spread of COVID-19, it can be easy to forget that our pets are having to adapt to a new reality too. Especially for dogs that are accustomed to regular outdoor playdates and exercise, having those activities limited by the conditions of quarantine life can make your pet act out.
In areas where dog parks have been allowed to remain open, it’s a great idea to take your four-legged friend for some fun to burn off steam. Cities like Chicago have passed general stay-at-home orders but have allowed many dog parks to stay open. If your apartment building has a private dog park that is operating, they have most likely already begun to take special measures to protect you and your pet during the pandemic.
Dog parks are an incredible amenity to have in or nearby your building. Follow these dog park etiquette tips to safely enjoy your building’s canine amusement park:
1. Leave no trace behind.
Whether you are visiting your local dog park or just strolling down the road, make sure to always pick up after your dog. Many neighborhoods and building associations are very serious about this issue, with some even requesting dog DNA samples from tenants to be able to link any left-behind waste with a specific pet and owner. Make sure to dispose of your pet’s waste in the designated trash bin as well.
Health and safety concerns are another reason it is important to pick up after your pet. Dogs are naturally curious about anything that smells like another dog, so any waste left lying around will most likely be found by a leash-free pet. Many types of diseases and parasites can easily be passed around in this way. Avoid contributing to the spread of any harmful bacteria by cleaning up after your pet.
2. Train your pet to follow dog park rules.
While every dog park is set up a little differently, there are clearly some areas that are meant for dogs to relieve themselves and some areas which are not. Make sure your dog is trained to pee in the grass or on an idyllic fire hydrant instead of benches, walls, and other areas that are off-limits—even at a dog park. Pets are most likely not allowed in your building’s pool or BBQ areas either, so try to steer clear of those spots.
Your pet should also know how to play well with other dogs before you unleash them in an area with other dogs. If you are concerned about your dog’s behavior, familiarize them with an area on their leash to try to get them comfortable before letting them loose.
3. Forget the food, but bring your own water bowl.
Bringing dog food to a dog park can lead your pet to develop bad habits, as well as attract trouble from other dogs enjoying the park. It’s best to leave your dog’s food at home when venturing out, pocketing a couple treats to be given our sparingly if you are planning on doing any training activities.
You can bring along your dog’s favorite portable water bowl, however. There’s a good chance your dog will get thirsty while running to and fro at the park, and you’ll want to be prepared with your own bowl whenever possible. Communal watering spots are breeding grounds for a number of infectious diseases and are therefore best avoided.
4. Keep sick or otherwise vulnerable dogs at home.
Our pets can spread diseases and bacteria amongst themselves in much the same way that people can. If you suspect your pet is sick, don’t bring them to a dog park or other gathering spots. Stay at home and treat your furry friend’s ailments before letting them interact with other animals. Dogs should always be up-to-date on their vaccines before playing with others as well.
It is also a good idea to avoid bringing puppies under four months old to a dog park. They are not big enough to safely handle themselves with older dogs and are much more susceptible to illnesses. Female dogs in heat should also not be brought to a dog park with other dogs.
Although you may feel at home in every inch of your apartment building, making sure your pet is on their best behavior when in public spaces like your lobby or recreational area is important for living peaceably with your neighbors.
5. Keep your dog on their best behavior when walking through the building.
Although you may feel at home in every inch of your apartment building, making sure your pet is on their best behavior when in public spaces like your lobby or recreational area is important for living peaceably with your neighbors. Keep your dog on a leash when in the building—remember, some people are scared of dogs and do not want to come into close contact with them.
Likewise, not all pets love to be touched or even approached by strangers. If your dog doesn’t like attention from people they don’t know, consider getting them a “no petting” vest. Make sure to be straightforward about the situation with any passersby who get close. If your dog gets dirty while playing outside, don’t forget to clean them up before bringing them inside too. No one likes to follow a muddy set of paw prints up to their door.
6. Stay with your pet at all times.
Pet owners are not allowed to leave their dogs unattended at most dog parks. You can relax while your dog plays, but you must keep an eye on them at all times for safety reasons. Running around with your dog is a great way to make sure both you and your pet get a good amount of exercise as well. Consider the dog park to be the ideal owner-pet bonding time you’ve been yearning for.
7. Respect your local public safety guidelines.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyone’s daily lives. Whenever you go out in public, make sure to follow the latest guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to stay safe. Don’t forget to also review your building’s specific safety recommendations and follow any new policies that have recently been put into place.
When you and your dog do take advantage of the dog park, make sure you bring along sanitizing gel or wipes to keep your hands clean. Follow the CDC’s social distancing guidelines by remaining at least six feet apart from other people and pets at all times.
Luxury Properties for Pet Lovers
Bark parks are just one of the many amenities available to the pet loving residents of Draper and Kramer’s luxury buildings. To learn more about Draper and Kramer’s portfolio of pet-friendly luxury properties, visit draperandkramer.com.