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, 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 can make your (and your dog’s) trip to the park a fun and safe one.
Call Your Dog Away From the Gate While Others Are Entering and Leaving
This rule of thumb makes life easier for those trying to enter or exit the park and helps avoid some of the altercations that can happen when new dogs are entering. A dog entering 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. Keeping your pup away from the gate will also prevent her from slipping out.
Remove Your Dog’s Leash Before Entering the Park
Most dog parks have a double-gate system that prevents dogs from escaping whenever a gate is opened. This double-gate system offers the perfect opportunity to remove your dog’s leash before they enter the park. Not only does this prevent any accidents associated with your dog darting around the park with her leash flailing behind her but it prevents leash aggression incidents, too.
If Your Dog Wears a Metal Collar, Remove It Before Letting Him Into the Park
Dogs at the park often play and romp, even rough-house with each other. If your dog is wearing a spiked collar, choke chain, prong or metal collar, he or his playmate may get injured just from playing.
Keep an Eye on Your Dog at All Times
One of the biggest complaints of pet parents at the dog park is when someone brings their dog inside, then plops down on a bench and looks down at their phone or a book the entire time they’re there. Instead, use this time to interact and play with your dog.
Pick Up After Your Dog
People not cleaning up after their dogs is the single biggest complaint of pet parents at the dog park. Not only is it just plain gross but diseases, illnesses, parasites and worms can also all be spread through contact with a dog’s feces. While many parks provide waste bags, don’t depend on your park to always have them in stock. Instead, carry a waste bag dispenser or spare bags with you at all times.
Leave Sick Dogs at Home
Do not bring a dog that is sick, has parasites, worms, fleas or ticks, or is coughing or sneezing to a dog park, even if the park is completely empty of other dogs. Illnesses can quickly spread around the dog park through shared water dishes, urine and feces through contact with other dogs and even through contact with the ground where a sick dog has been. Likewise, if your dog is very young, very old, has not been appropriately vaccinated or whose immune system is compromised in any way, leave them at home.
Don’t Bring Dogs That Are Not Spayed or Neutered and Especially Dogs in Heat to the Park
Dogs that aren’t spayed, regardless of whether they’re actively in heat, run the risk of becoming pregnant. Both males and females that are unaltered may attract extra, unwanted attention from other dogs. This unwanted attention can lead to conflict.
Be Cautious When Bringing Young Children to the Dog Park
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. Young children should be taught how to greet and handle dogs properly and refrain from running and yelling inside the park.
Let us know in the comments below your pet peeve when going to the dog park.