Dog Park Etiquette

Dog Park Etiquette

Dog parks are an amazing way for dog owners to get outside and let your pup off the leash, get some exercise, and socialize with other dogs. The benefits of dog parks are many, but it’s important to choose the right one, and to use them correctly.

What to Look for in a Dog Park

According to dog trainers, there are a few things that you should look for when choosing a dog park. If you live in the city, look for a dog park with a sturdy fence (at least 4 feet tall). There should be a double-gated entrance, which helps prevent a dog from slipping out of the gate and running away. Check if there is a water source, and if there isn’t one, make sure to bring plenty of water. Dog parks are sometimes divided into two areas- one for smaller dogs and one for larger dogs. This is a great and safe option for anyone with a smaller dog that might get scared of larger dogs.

During your first visit to a dog park, do a good once-over and look for anything that could be potentially dangerous. If there is fencing, does it look maintained and sturdy? Is there trash in the area? If you live in a more rural area, keep in mind there may be wildlife or snakes to keep an eye out for.

Dog Park Etiquette

A park doesn’t mean turn your dog loose and let them go wild. No one likes getting jumped on or having to manage someone else’s dog. Look for engaged owners who keep an eye on their dog. Proper play is very important when it comes to socializing in dog parks. A dog that is too rough can not only cause a fight, but can make other dogs fearful going forward.

When dogs play together, it’s important to keep an eye on their body language. You want them to have loose body language, like wagging tails and trading roles. You will see this often when they play chase and roll around on the ground.

Other Tips

  • Do not bring your dog if they are in heat or not spayed/neutered. The dog park isn’t a place for copulation…
  • Leave human food at home. This could attract other dogs in an unwanted way and can cause a food possessive situation where dogs may get aggressive.
  • Do not let your dog bully another dog. If you notice that your dog is playing with another dog whose body language is reading that they are scared, tired, or trying to get away, take your dog to another part of the park.
  • Never leave your dog unattended, the dog park is not a daycare.
  • Always be sure to close the gate when entering and leaving. Additionally, if you notice the gate open, always shut it.
  • If there are small and large dog areas, stick to those guidelines.

Finally, make sure to aide by any other posted guidelines and CLEAN UP after your dog.

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