Here are some important etiquette tips to ensure everyone has a great time at the dog park.
Do….Watch your dog
The number one most important thing at a dog park is to watch your dog. Things can escalate quickly with so many excited dogs. Be sure you’re ready to intervene if your dog – or someone else’s – gets out of control.
Do…..Make sure your dog has good recall
Teaching your dog good recall skills is important for any situation and in a dog park can help you keep your pup out of trouble.
Do…..Pick up after your dog
This should be super obvious but not everyone does it. By the way, you need to be watching your dog to know when you need to pick up after him so always keep an eye on your pup!
Do….Bring a portable water bowl for your dog
Many dog parks have communal water fountains but this is also a good way to spread disease or illness. Bring along a portable water bowl for your pup and then pick it up when he’s done.
Do….Quickly intervene when play becomes too rough
Fun can turn to mayhem in a matter of seconds. Don’t wait to see if the dogs will work it out. If someone’s growling or showing aggression (whether it’s your dog or another dog), intervene quickly to avoid escalating issues.
Do….Know your dog
Be honest with yourself about your dog’s ability to be a good dog park citizen. If he has the slightest tendency to get into tussles, you may be better off staying away.
Don’t….Ignore your dog
Ignore your pup at your own peril…and his! If you’re not paying attention, you’re leaving your pooch and his friends up to their own doggie decisions and they aren’t always the wisest ones. Keep a close watch on your dog so you can intervene if necessary.
Don’t….Bring young children to the dog park
Most dog parks post rules about minimum ages for kids. The reason for this is to keep kids safe! Excited dogs who are running, jumping and playing can easily knock over a kid. And, should anything turn ugly, you certainly don’t want a child in the middle of it.
Don’t….Bring treats for your dog or food for yourself
The last thing you want is a bunch of dogs nosing at you because you have a pocket of treats or a peanut butter sandwich stashed away. Leave the treats outside the dog park gates to avoid any issues.
Don’t….Let your little dog play in the big dog area or vice versa
There are large and small areas for a reason. Even if your teensy tiny maltese loves the big dogs, save that for another time. Little dogs can get in big trouble with dog park dynamics.
Don’t….Let your dog run in a pack
Dog packs form like snowballs….they start small and then grow quickly. The dogs may seem like they’re having fun, at first. But this dynamic can lead to problems. Get your dog out of the pack and away from it for your pup’s safety. Hopefully other owners will follow suit.
Don’t…..Bring a puppy
Puppies under four months shouldn’t be at a dog park. They may not have all of their vaccinations and they’re still babies! Dog park dynamics can be overwhelming to a youngster. Give them a little more time to grow before introducing them to the dog park gang.
Don’t…..Bring your female dog in heat
Does this really need to be pointed out? Don’t bring your female dog in heat to a dog park, period. Nothing good can come of it.
Above all, don’t hesitate to get the heck out if things don’t seem right. It’s up to all owners to be aware of what’s going on and monitor their own dogs’ behaviors. Dog parks can be as awesome as the dogs and people who congregate there!