Sadly MANY people take dogs to shelters when dogs are between the ages of six months to one year. People think dogs are 'adorable' when they are small. Then when the dog is no longer a baby and the big dog is too rowdy or going through their chewing stage, the adopter returns the dog to the shelter. Educate your dog and avoid this scenario - you will determine whether your dog becomes a well-behaved, well-tempered dog. Your role as educator begins the moment you bring your dog home - houstraining, walking on a leash, 'table manners,' and following simple commands are not genetically programmed skills.
If your dog is not already houstrained, then housetraining your dog is an important part of bringing the new companion into the family. Housetraining requires some patience, skill, and as always, love on your part. Given the right combination of these, your dog should be making fewer puddles on your favorite oriental rug and more in the great outdoors. Remember that once trained, you are responsible for disposing of your dog's waste while on a walk or in the park. For more information on housetraining, see the ASPCA guide.
Dogs generally need safe chew toys - do not give them household objects, like old shoes, because they teach the dog that socks and shoes are chew toys and she will not be able to distinguish between non-chewable shoes and chewable ones. Also, these items may contain toxins that if ingested in high enough levels can harm the dog.
Dogs need walks and outdoor space to really play. If your dog is well-behaved around other dogs, consider taking him to one of Houston's many dog parks:
Millie Bush Bark Park - Located in George Bush Park at 16756 Westheimer Parkway in West Houston, near Hwy 6 and Westheimer. Thirteen acres. Double gated & fenced, pick up bags, large and small dog areas (with large and small fire hydrants in them!) - doggie swimming ponds, water fountains, doggie showers, shade areas, benches, scattered trees, walking path, parking lot. Open 7 days a week dawn to dusk.
- Ervan Chew is located at 4502 Dunlavy. The dog zone is located adjacent to the picnic area and swimming pool. It is a fenced-in space, approximately 9,000 square feet in size and is designed to allow dogs to exercise freely.
- Maxey Park is located at 601 Maxey Road. This community park designated approximately 12 to 13 acres of parkland as a place for dogs. The area features a fenced-in space for the dogs to exercise off leash, and amenities include doggie drinking fountains, seperate areas for large and small dogs, a doggie shower, a waste disposal station and benches throughout the space.
Danny Jackson Dog Park - Just inside the loop and just South of 59 - under the power lines, on Westpark Drive between Loop 610 and Loop Central. Large and small dog seperate areas each with a pond, new trees, benches, walking path
Pearland Dog Park - This park is located at Hughes Ranch Road and 288. The park has colorful, sturdy agility equipment designed more for building confidence or just having fun, rather than for competition. Also benches, and a shade canopy.
- Cattail Park is located at 9323 Cochran's Crossing Drive in The Woodlands. Cattail Park is on the west side of Cochrans Crossing Drive, just north of the entrance to The Palmer Clubhouse/Golfcourse. It is approximately one acre + in size. It is separated into a large dog section and a small dog section. (Per Parks Dept Rules: 25lbs and under qualifies as small). There is a water source but please bring your own drinking containers for your dog(s).
- The Bear Branch Dog located at 5200 Research Forest Drive, on the NORTH side, west of Shadowbend. It is 2+ very shady acres, and it is separated into a large dog section and a small dog section.( Per Parks Dept Rules: 25lbs and under qualifies as small ). There is water available in both areas, many benches and of course, dog waste bags and waste containers.
Ella and Friends Dog Park - Located across from 500 W 13th Street in Deer Park. A 2 acre dog park in Deer Park on 13th Street next to the Jimmy Burke Activity Center. The dog must be registered with the city to be allowed in. Registration can be obtained for $5 at the Animal Shelter on Luella.
Discovery Green - Discovery Green’s 11.78-acre site can be found in downtown Houston, across Avenida de las Americas from the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Hilton Americas Hotel. The park has many dog-friendly features, including the Kinder Large Dog Run and Harriet and Joe Foster Dog Runs which offer a place at the park for the four-legged family member. The dog areas have crushed gravel, fountains and seating. Open from 6AM to 11PM daily.