Dog Park Etiquette

If you’re fortunate enough to have a dog park in your town, congratulations! The dog park can be a wonderful place to exercise your dog, get him better socialized, and most of all have some fun! But, nothing ruins a trip to the dog park like owners who ignore dog park etiquette.

In addition to regular rules of the dog park, usually posted at your local park – rules such as, dogs must be up-to-date on vaccines, dogs must not be left unattended, owners must pick up after their dogs, etc – familiarizing yourself with these important dog park etiquette tips, provided by DogParkFriends.org, can make your (and your dog’s) trip to the park a fun one!

  • Call your dog away from the gate while other dogs are entering or leaving.
  • Pay close attention to your dog and keep it out of trouble.
  • Always be aware of your dog’s location and the body language of the dogs your dog is interacting with
  • Acceptable or unacceptable dog behavior depends on the age and temperament of your dog. Dogs will bark, snarl, and even snap at each other as part of their normal socialization. Interfere and stop the interaction if it appears to be escalating into a fight.
  • Immediately stop aggressive behavior towards humans.
  • Do not bring your dog to the dog park if it is sick, has parasites, or has fleas. Do not bring animals that are not dogs
  • Be responsible for your dogs behavior
  • Do not discipline someone else’s dog
  • If you see a dog on leash or with its owner off to the side, please respect their privacy and don’t approach until the owner says OK
  • Do not bring in people food to eat.
  • Do not hand out dog treats to other peoples dogs.

Some of these tips may seem obvious, like keeping an eye out for your dog and keeping him at home when he’s sick. But, before you visit the dog park, take the other dogs and dog owners into consideration. You might think it’s a great idea to bring treats for your dog, to reward him with good dog park behavior, but the truth is, there will be many other dogs there and you don’t know how they’ll react when your dog gets a treat and they don’t.

In addition to dog park etiquette for your dog, here are some guidelines for people to follow, too!

  • Call your dog away from the entry gate when a new dog is entering. A dog trying to enter the park can become anxious or overwhelmed when greeted by many unfamiliar dogs. A tense or uncomfortable dog is more likely to become aggressive or frightened.
  • If your dog wears a metal collar, including spiked collars or choke chains, remove these before allowing him into the park. Dogs at the park often play and romp, even rough-house with each other. If your dog is wearing a metal collar, his playmate may get injured just from playing with him.
  • Don’t go to the park wearing your Sunday best. It’s nearly impossible to get in and out of the dog park without at least some dirt, mud, or drool on yourself. The beauty of dogs is that they love us no matter how we dress!
  • Be cautious when bringing young children to the dog park. Nearly every time I take my dog to the park, I see a small toddler running around unattended. And, almost every time, I see them knocked down or charged at by a running dog. What’s funny, is that the toddlers parents usually scoop them up and get angry at the dog or dog owner that knocked them down. The truth is, you’re at a dog park, not a playground. Bringing your kids can be a wonderful experience for them, just make sure to keep them close and teach them that not all dogs will welcome their attention.

Follow these guidelines of dog park etiquette to ensure a great trip for both you and your dog! And most importantly, have fun!

To read more great tips, click here.

Do you take your dog to the dog park? Have any other dog park etiquette tips not mentioned above? Share them with us!

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