Top 10 dog park etiquette rules

Top 10 dog park etiquette rules

For most canines, suggest a trip to the dog park and you’ll be met with tail wagging, spinning in circles, and other signs of excitement. The dog park can be a wonderful place for your dog to get exercise and socialize with other dogs. Owners play a crucial role in ensuring a safe, healthy, and successful trip to the dog park. Follow these suggestions to make sure both you and your pooch get the most out of your dog park visit:

  1. Pick up after your dog: A simple rule, but perhaps one of the most important: Make sure you clean up after your dog. Most parks provide small bags and have trash cans at the ready, but you may want to bring along your own bags, just in case. An extra bag or two might also make you a few friends if other owners forget!

  2. Bring toys you don’t mind sharing: A colorful ball or fun tug toy can help stimulate play and activity among dogs. However, keep your pup’s most beloved toys at home – they may become damaged or lost at the park. Keep your dog’s temperament in mind here too: If they become possessive over toys or have difficulty sharing, best leave all toys at home.

  3. Keep close watch over your dog while at the park: While you should feel free to strike up a casual conversation with other owners at the park, be sure you keep one eye on your dog at all times, particularly during your first few visits to the park or in the presence of new dogs. Aggressive behavior, fights, and other problems can break out with little warning.

  4. Don’t allow young children to play at the dog park: The dog park is just that – for dogs. Small children can easily be overrun by dogs who are running or wrestling. Avoid injury by keeping your two-legged youngster at home and preserving the park for your four-legged friends.

  5. Know your dog and the dog park’s rules: While dog parks are a great option for many dogs, they are not universally loved by all. Canines who are easily anxious, intimidated, or prone to aggressive behavior may not be appropriate for the local dog park without prior training. The dog park is not the right place for your pup to “work out” bad behavior. Moreover, know the rules of the dog park. Are there designated places for small dogs versus large dogs? How many dogs are allowed per person? What are the dog park hours?

  6. Make sure your dog is up to date on all vaccines: Puppies under 4 months and dogs with incomplete vaccines should be left at home for their own safety, and the safety of other dogs. Even the cleanest, most well-maintained dog park can host a number of different diseases and parasites. An older, fully vaccinated dog may have the immune system to handle these threats – a younger dog that has yet to complete the full round of necessary vaccinations might not.

  7. Don’t pick up your dog: It may be common for small dog owners to pick up and carry their pups, particularly if the dog is in danger. However, such owners are cautioned against this behavior, which can be interpreted by other dogs as an invitation to jump, chase, or otherwise go after the small dog. If you need to remove your small dog from the park, it’s best to quickly leash them and walk outside.

  8. Don’t feed/reward another person’s dog: Generous dog owners may want to share treats or tasty rewards with their pup’s playmates. However, due to unknown food sensitivities or allergies, it is best to refrain from feeding or rewarding another person’s dog. You may want to leave treats and food rewards at home altogether: Treats may elicit dangerous resource-guarding behavior among canines who do not share well.

  9. Don’t keep dogs leashed: Most dog parks are off-leash areas (you can check this out before you go). Keeping a dog on-leash while other dogs are unleashed can be stressful, as the dog senses that they may not be able to escape if needed. Leashed dogs are a tripping hazard for owners as well! In the hustle and bustle of a busy dog park, a leashed dog can cause serious injuries as owners aim to wrangle their pup. If you don't have a leash, we recommend the TaoTronics Retractable Dog Leash on Amazon.

  10. Insist on good behavior: Finally, insist that your pup maintain good behavior at all times while at the dog park. Dogs who behave aggressively should be removed from the park immediately. If your dog has persistent problems while socializing with other pets at the dog park, seek the help of a dog trainer or behavior specialist.