Basic Training

What You Need to Know About Dog Parks

Dog parks are becoming more and more popular across the country.  When owners hear of a new park opening up, they are very excited to get their dog out to play, run around, and meet new dog friends, but there are a few things that dog owners need to keep in mind.  Dog parks can be a great experience for both dog and owner, but there are a few Do’s and Don’ts that owners should be aware of.  We want the dog park to be a safe and fun experience for both owners and their pets.  Here are just a key points to remember:

Do exercise your dog before going to the dog park.  A nice 15 minute structured walk prior to entering the dog park will help put your dog in a better state of mind before you cut them off leash to run around.

Do educate yourself on the signs of healthy play and dog body language.  Owners should watch their dog and intervene if things start to escalate before a scuffle breaks out.

Do leave your cell phone and other distracting devices at home.  It is important for owners to be mindful of their dog’s interactions at the dog park.

Do practice obedience commands such as “Sit”, “Down” and “Come” when called.  Having your dog reliable with their obedience commands when off leash in the presence of a high level of distractions will make the dog park experience that much safer and more enjoyable for you and your dog.

Don’t bring your dog to the park if you think or know that they are under the weather with an illness that they can transfer to other dogs.

– Don’t think a dog park is a great place of try and socialize a dog with issues (fear, aggression, reactivity, etc.).  These types of behavior issues need to be addressed in a safe manner by a professional before bringing the dog into a public environment like a dog park.

Don’t introduce foods and treats in the presence of a pack of dogs.  Food is a common trigger for aggression, so it is better to reward your dog with verbal and physical praise (petting) instead of food.

Dog parks are a great opportunity for residents and their dogs, but it is important to make sure that owners are educated on the important considerations for dog park play, and that the dogs are well behaved and obedient for the safety of all dogs and owners.  Creating safe dog to dog interaction is essential to “Changing the World for Dogs”.


Steve Reid is a Certified Dog Trainer and owner of S.R. Dog Training, LLC based in Westchester, NY.  Steve’s mission is “Changing the World for Dogs”. As part of his mission, Steve presented a webinar to readers of The Dogington Post on Addressing Common Behavior Problems in the Family Dog and the Shelter Dog. Steve’s informative webinar can be viewed by clicking here.

For more information about S. R. Dog Training, send an e-mail to [email protected], call 914-774-7654 or visit Please also become a fan of Steve on Facebook at



  1. ruth

    Nov 13, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    We are lucky enough that the localschool doesnt mind dogs in the field.and although every one is good and well mannered dogs,theres always one dog.I now go during the day.I also always bring a large bag and a bunch of poo bags just incase an irresponsible owner doesnt pick up.I also go on sunday afternoon and clean up any poo or forgotten bags so that the kids dont run or fall in a pile.I appreciate the school allowing my dog the enjoyment of running free and would hate to lose it for a bad dog owner

  2. Andy

    Oct 31, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    I travel alot and have been to several dog parks. I find that the regulars police the park pretty well. They know the “offenders” and either run them off or keep a close eye on them. There are a few minor scrapes every once in a while, but usually the pooches get along pretty well. Most dog parks have rules and regs posted and a few I’ve been to even had pamphlets by the entrance. Most parks also do not allow any kind of treats but pet parents are encouraged to bring jugs of water. You must keep an eye on your furbaby and watch for the body language that spells trouble. If your dog doesn’t play well with others it is time to go.

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