Established in 1965, HAWS assists over 6,000 animals and welcomes more than 31,000 human visitors annually. As an "open admissions" shelter we lead the community in animal welfare and assure sanctuary for all animals in need, regardless of age, health or temperament. HAWS is a non-profit, entirely donor-fund organization with an active humane education program, and both wildlife and companion animal rescue services for Waukesha County.
HAWS License #267280-DS
Summer means time outdoors with your best friend. HAWS reminds you to be safe, no matter what you’re doing or where you are!
You’ve been cautioned to not leave your pets in the car during warm weather. You’ve been warned about fireworks and thunderstorms and their nerve-wracking effect on many animals. You’ve seen the news stories of pets in danger. Maybe you’ve made the trip to “break your dog out of doggie jail” when Fido has taken off on his own and been found by animal control.
But what about when you spend time at the local dog park?
Dog parks can be wonderful places for play and socialization – for dogs and their owners alike. But when dog park users don’t pay attention to their pets, or follow simple guidelines put in place by the park, bad things can and DO happen. Just last week, an animal welfare colleague experienced the unthinkable: his dog was attacked while at an area dog park and later died from the injuries sustained.
This tragedy could have been avoided. Surprisingly, the attacking dogs seemed to be at the park completely unsupervised! It would be crazy to drop off a toddler at the playground and go on a coffee run, yet similarly the owner(s) of these dogs didn’t even remain within eyesight of their pets, let alone take the steps (basic manners training, recall commands) to keep them under control.
The dog park is not a substitute for involvement and engagement with your dog. And when using a dog park, each and every person there has the duty and responsibility to maintain control of their dog. Don’t expect your dog to immediately have the proper etiquette: that is something WE must teach them and reinforce.
The idea of these parks is they are large, safe areas to play – since many of us don’t have big yards the dog park is that outlet. But, too often we hear stories of incidents where one owner wasn’t responsible and others paid the price. Many have had bad enough experiences they no longer frequent a dog park of any kind.
BE WITH YOUR DOG. It’s that simple. And it’s what your dog wants and needs.
By the way – many dog clubs have “etiquette” sessions available – check park bulletin boards for dates and times. HAWS teaches Basic Manners, voice recall and more – training classes that will get both you and your dog ready to be a great park buddy.