Practicing Good Dog Park Etiquette

Dogs everywhere know where to find the fun once the weather begins warming up—the neighborhood dog park!

Dog parks are an excellent way for you and your pup to get out and play in the fresh air. Make sure your dog park visit is a safe and fun experience for you and Fido by following a few simple do’s and don’ts of dog park etiquette.

The Do’s and Don’ts to Remember When Visiting the Dog Park

—Be sure your dog is in good health and up-to-date on his or her vaccinations before bringing them to the dog park.

—Survey the canine crowd at the park for a moment before entering. If the dogs look happy and playful, let the fun begin! If there appears to be aggression or bullying, or anything makes you feel uneasy, plan to come back later or visit a different dog park.

—Understand your dog’s playing style before bringing them to a dog park. All dogs play differently, but if you know what type of behavior to expect from your dog, you both will feel more comfortable.

—Keep a close eye on your dog and the dogs around you at all times.

—Bring doggie bags and make sure to clean up after your dog.

—Let your dog off-leash in an unfenced dog park if he or she is untrained or unresponsive to your verbal commands.

—Allow your dog to be a bully to other dogs or humans at the park, or to be bullied by another dog. If play becomes aggressive and you must intervene, don’t grab a dog’s collar as this action can startle them and cause them to bite. Instead, make loud noises such as shouting or clapping, or, if there is water or a hose handy, spraying the dogs will often end a fight.

—Take your dog to a park where they are visibly uncomfortable or do not have a good time. You’ll know when you are at a location your dog enjoys.

—Bring an expensive toy or a toy your dog values if it isn’t easily replaceable. With other dogs around, you can expect a fair amount of “sharing”.

—Bring human food with you to eat while at the dog park. You will attract a lot of canine attention that other dog owners won’t appreciate having to mitigate.

Dog parks are a fun way to get outside and socialize your dog, but there can be some unpredictability anytime a group of dogs play together. Paying attention to these do’s and don’ts will ensure a fun, happy time for both of you.


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Comments 1

  1. Nouble

    While these are great tips, keep in mind dog parks are for when your dog knows how to behave, not when they don’t. Also, I don’t think you should be bringing toys or food. Your dog may not mind, but another dog might think differently.

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