If there's anything guaranteed to bring a smile to a pet owner's face, it's a dog park. Your furry friend has new smells to investigate, new friends to make and wide open spaces to run and play.

Tyler's Sunrise Paw Park has been open for more than two years, and the brand new Bossart Bark Park offers more than eight acres of space for free play. However, one careless human can ruin the fun for everyone. Here's what not to do when you visit East Texas dog parks.

Take a Poorly Trained Pet

Before you go to a dog park and take off Fido's leash, he should be accustomed to constantly listening for your voice and obeying your commands, even when there are distractions, loud noises, and more interesting things to do.

Don't Teach Social Skills

Parents teach children to use their manners and say please and thank you before they expect them to act appropriately in public. It's the same with your pet.

If your dog has never been around other animals, he or she won't know how to behave. Even more importantly, you don't know how your pet will react. Think about the last time you were in a new social situation. Most likely you were a little on edge just because the people and surroundings were new.

Dogs feel the same way. Teach your dog to greet others politely. Sniffing is normal, but approaching a new friend at an all out run will make them feel defensive. Teach your dog in a controlled environment to approach other dogs calmly, keep initial greetings brief and listen for your voice so you can encourage or correct behavior as needed.

Bring Puppies or Unvaccinated Pets

Some pet owners want to introduce their puppy to other dogs while they are very young, but if your dog is less than 12 weeks old, that's a bad idea. There are germs at dog parks their immune systems aren't ready to handle. Make sure your pet is up to date on his or her vaccinations before you load up and head to any East Texas dog park.

Never take a sick dog. That's like sending a kid with a fever to day care. It's hard on the one who isn't feeling well, and it spreads germs to others.

Bring a Dog in Heat

Know how to spot signs your dog is in heat, and keep her home if she is. Otherwise even perfectly trained males with impeccable manners will forget everything they know and you will have a very big problem on your hands.

Be Inattentive

We've all seen that parent that seems oblivious while their kid misbehaves in a public place. Unfortunately the same thing can happen in a dog park.

People love dog parks because while their pet socializes, they also have the chance to be with other dog lovers. Once you arrive at the dog park, if your pet seems to be happily socializing and playing, you might be tempted to take your attention off your furry friend and make new human friends of your own. Talking to other people is great, but make sure you're still watching your dog.

Go ahead and take dog photos and post them on social media, but don't spend your dog park visit on your cell phone. Keep your attention on your pet until you are back in a controlled environment.

Leave a Mess

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Pick up after your pet. If he or she tears something up or starts to dig, do what's necessary to leave the park the way you found it.

One of the best things about living in East Texas is the wealth of opportunities for enjoying life with your pet. When people show others courtesy at dog parks, everyone can relax, make new friends and have a good time.



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