The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - PETS - WORDS: DR KYRA CRAFT Dr Kyra Craft BVSc (Hons), Wet Noses Mo­bile Vet head vet­eri­nar­ian, wet­

I’m sure we all agree, the Gold Coast has the best off-leash dog ex­er­cise ar­eas.

For many pet own­ers, it’s the per­fect ex­cuse to ex­er­cise their dog in a fun and so­cial en­vi­ron­ment, bond­ing with their pet and get­ting a dose of fresh air in the process. Your doggy can zoom around of­fleash, in­ves­ti­gate new smells, wres­tle with other dog bud­dies and fetch balls.

As well as hon­ing their so­cial skills, the phys­i­cal and men­tal ex­er­cise is in­cred­i­bly ben­e­fi­cial.

Be­fore do­mes­ti­ca­tion, dogs would lead su­per busy lives.

Their days would be full of hunt­ing, scav­eng­ing, avoid­ing preda­tors and so­cial in­ter­ac­tion.

On the other hand, most pet dogs spend the ma­jor­ity of their time alone, sleep­ing and eating pre-pre­pared food.

It’s un­der­stand­able then that many pooches be­come bored and de­struc­tive – dig­ging holes and chew­ing fur­ni­ture.

If you’re a dog park reg­u­lar, you’ve prob­a­bly al­ready worked out the un­writ­ten laws of dog park eti­quette. New­bies on the scene need to be aware of the rules.

In the first in­stance, I would highly rec­om­mend that you visit th­ese ar­eas with­out your pooch.

Do your re­search – ob­serve the cul­ture and prac­tices, then ar­range to take your dog to the park dur­ing non-peak times.

This will al­low both of you to ac­quaint your­selves with the en­vi­ron­ment with­out the stress and dis­trac­tion of mul­ti­ple dogs.

Only take well-so­cialised, con­fi­dent, healthy and vac­ci­nated dogs and en­sure that they re­spond to ba­sic com­mands such as “come” and “sit”.

Al­ways take poo-bags and pick up after your dog.

Don’t take your dog if they are un­well, ex­tremely shy, suf­fer from anx­i­ety, are ag­gres­sive, or not com­pletely vac­ci­nated. To avoid un­wanted sex­ual be­hav­iour, be sure to de-sex your pet.

Since there’s rarely an author­ity fig­ure to con­sult at a dog park, dis­agree­ments can get heated and re­sult in hu­man be­hav­iour prob­lems. Just un­der­stand that all dogs be­have dif­fer­ently (much like chil­dren).

Keep your cool and leave the park if you’re con­cerned about your safety or that of your dog.

To find an off-leash dog ex­er­cise area near you, visit the Gold Coast City Coun­cil web­site. Happy ex­er­cis­ing!

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