st of all, don't be nervous. We all had a first time to visit a dog park. Duluth's dog parks have 5 foot high fences with a double gated entry. Here is a step by step for your first visit.
-Enter the first gate into a small entry area.
-Shut the gate behind you.
-Remove the leash. This is a vital step. Leashes change dogs communication and behavior. It can make dogs more protective and more aggressive with other dogs. If you have had troubles when walking your dog on a leash or when meeting another dog in a yard, the leash free and neutral dog park territory can change everything. A dog park provides a neutral territory and no leash decreases the protective behavior.
-Decide whether to go into the all dog area or the small dog area for dogs 20 pounds and under. Enter the area and shut the gate behind you.
-Watch your dog and other dogs. It can take some time to learn what is normal doggie social behavior. Dogs sniffing other dogs in private areas may embarass you but it is perfectly normal for the dogs. If you have any questions talk with another dog parent and let them know it is your first time. They can help you out and show you the ropes. Some dogs are running and playing right away. Some dogs take a couple of visits to feel comfortable playing so you may want to give it a few visits.
-Always pay attention to your dog so you can watch if he or she is leaving a deposit or if there are other doggie issues you need to be watching for. Keep off your cell phone so you can enjoy the doggie antics and keep an eye on your pooch. Pick up after your dog.
That is the basics. If anything concerns you, you can have a polite conversation with other dog owners or you can leave and come back another time. Dogs come and go continuously and the activity changes as the dogs switch out. Relax, have fun and your dog will also.
If, after reading this, are you still nervous? Then consider going to the dog park for the first time without your dog. Go to the park, hang out and get a feel for the dogs and people. You may find that your dog will fit in better than you thought and can return with your pooch, more reassured. You may find that your little firecracker is ordinary and will get along just fine.