Taking your dog to a dog park is an excellent alternative to regular people parks! Obviously, a dog park is much more pet friendly than your average park where you might deal with pet haters or nervous parents who are uncomfortable with your Fido taking an interest in their child. Just because it’s a park for dogs though, doesn’t mean there aren’t rules and an expected etiquette to ensure all pets and pet parents have the best time possible! Are you a little unsure about what’s okay and what’s not? Check out our list of etiquette and common dog park peeves.
Dog Park Etiquette
- Know your dog – Most important dog park etiquette is that you know your dog’s preferences, behavior, and sensitivities. If your dog tends to be aggressive and protective, it may be best to keep then on a leash or in a less occupied part of the park. Never let your dog off a leash in an unfenced portion of a park – especially if they rarely listen to your commands.
- Do Remove The Leash & Harnesses – Once in a fenced in area, always remove the leash and harness. Keeping a dog on a leash in a dog park not only negates the purpose of the park, but also poses a tripping or tangling hazard for your pet, other pets, and other patrons. In heavy play, dogs can get entangled in harnesses causing injury or fights.
- Stay involved – Don’t just let your dog loose then go sit in the shade somewhere oblivious to what your pet’s up to. Feel free to chat with other pet owners, but never without being aware of your pet. Avoid distractions by smart phones too. Know where your dog is and what it’s doing.
- Spay & Neuter – If your pet is not spayed or neutered, keep them on a leash or very close to you to prevent any unwelcome promiscuous behavior.
- Play vs. Fight – Know the difference between dogs playing and dogs fighting. If you have a larger pet, make sure their play stays limited to dogs of a similar size. Dogs often don’t know their own strength and it can be easier for the larger breeds to injure the smaller ones.
- Avoid Packs – Make sure your dog isn’t teaming up with a large pack. Even packs of normally docile and domesticated dogs can turn dangerous. Try to limit your pets playmates to no more than three at a time.
- Clean-up Waste – Just because you’re in a dog park, doesn’t mean you don’t have to be prepared to clean up any waste your dog may leave.
- Health Check – Make sure your pet is up to date on his or her vaccinations and not sick. Furthermore, keep your pet away from any other dogs that may be exhibiting symptoms of disease or mites.
- No Puppies Allowed – Avoid taking a new puppy younger than twelve weeks to a dog park. They are vulnerable, often don’t have all their shots yet, and may be a target for bullies.
- Hire a Pet Sitter – Many pet sitters are trained for dealing with dogs and are a great option if you’re not comfortable or don’t have the time to take your dog out for socializing and exercise!
Not sure if there is a dog park near you? Check out dogpark.com to find one! Remember, YOU are responsible for your pet’s actions.