Now that the weather is turning cooler, many people are enjoying the outdoors with their pets. The New Orleans area has several great dog parks, and while the concept of bringing a dog to one of these parks is a good one, the outing can quickly go sour if the dog owner fails to follow some rules. Here are some guidelines to make a romp in the park a positive experience for all:
Pay attention. In this day and age of smartphones, pet owners are often distracted and do not monitor the behavior of their dogs and other dogs. Just as with children on the playground, altercations can quickly arise without supervision.
Pick up messes. It’s just good manners to scoop your pup’s poop. It is also a health issue because lots of diseases and parasites can be found in dog poop.
Do not bring dogs with resource-guarding issues. The dog park may not be right for dogs that do not share well with others. Such a dog could become a danger to other dogs that want to play with toys. This goes for treats, as well.
Dogs that are not dog-friendly do not belong at the dog park. A walk on the levee or around the neighborhood may be a better alternative for dogs that are not sociable.
In off-leash areas, dogs should be off-leash. Owners new to the off-leash concept may attempt to keep their dog on a leash to feel more secure. This will actually make the dog feel insecure and can trigger fights.
Dogs need to be spayed/neutered to enjoy the dog park. This is a common rule at dog parks, as well as a no-brainer. Females in heat and unneutered males should never be at a dog park — ever.
Puppies do not belong at the dog park. Puppies younger than 12 weeks and/or dogs that are not up-to-date on vaccinations should not visit a dog park. A dog park can be a breeding ground for disease, and puppies are highly susceptible..
PET ADOPTION EVENT: Animal Rescue New Orleans will have adoptable dogs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Palmer Park Arts Market, South Carrollton and South Claiborne avenues, New Orleans. For information, email email@example.com.
CANINE COSTUME CONTEST: There will be a BARKtoberfest canine costume contest and trick-or-treating from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at Canine Connection, 4920 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans. Registration for the costume contest is $5, with proceeds benefiting the Louisiana SPCA. The Hurricane Levee Band will perform, and there will be prizes, games, giveaways, raffles, a kids’ costume parade and a rubber duck derby. Gumbo, the Saints mascot, will be there from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. For information, call (504) 218-4098, or visit www.la-spca.org or www.canineconnectionnola.com.
CRITTER CINEMA: An overnight Critter Cinema will be held from 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, to 9 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., New Orleans. Animal-loving, pizza-eating, movie-watching kids ages 5 to 10 will celebrate Halloween with kitties and puppies, while enjoying a G-rated creepy critter movie, crafts, games, ghost stories and s’mores. The cost is $65 for an overnight stay or $35 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Preregistration is required. To register, call (504) 368-5191, ext. 207, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For information, visit www.la-spca.org/crittercinema.
ADOPTION EVENT AND RABIES CLINIC: The Jefferson SPCA is holding an adoption event and rabies vaccine clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, at The Grooming Cottage, 513 Hickory Ave., Harahan. Rabies vaccines will be $15 for altered pets and $20 for others. The adoption fee will be $67. For information, search for “Rabies & Adoption Event for the JPAS” on Facebook or email Jacob@jeffersonspca.org.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at email@example.com, www.animalrescueneworleans.org or call (504) 571-1900.