dog park

Dog Park Etiquette

The dog park can be a great place for socialization and play. It can also be a pet owner’s worse nightmare. Here are some etiquette guidelines to help you and your fur baby enjoy your trip.

Last month, we talked about what you should know before you go to the dog park. Now, let’s discuss how you and your fur baby should behave once you get there!

What to Pack

Toys are always great additions to playtime, but don’t take anything you would mind loosing. The other dogs in the park will likely want to play with the toys, too. Simple tennis balls and inexpensive Frisbees are great options for the dog park. You should also take water and a bowl to keep your fur baby hydrated during playtime. Never let your dog drink from bowls provided by the park, as they may harbor bacteria and other nasty stuff that could make your fur baby sick.

Pack a few of your dog’s favorite treats, but leave them in your car and give them to your dog when you leave the park. Never take dog or people food into the park itself. Add some doggy wipes and a dry towel to your bag so you can clean your fur baby up before putting them back in your car. And don’t forget a few plastic bags to clean up after your dog does his business!

If it’s hot outside, you may need to take extra precautions. Click here for ways to keep your fur baby cool as the temperatures rise.

At the Dog Park

Don’t be surprised if your dog is excited and a little overwhelmed when you arrive at the park. Don’t let their excitement get the best of both of you. Make your dog follow a few basic commands, like sit and stay, to remind them that you are in charge, regardless of whether or not they’re leashed.

Most dog parks have an enclosed space at the entrance to allow you to take your dog off-leash. Never walk a leashed dog into the off-leash area of the park. Doing so could stress your dog and trigger aggressive behavior in nearby fur babies. Many parks also have separate areas for large and small dogs. Stay in the appropriate area of the park, even if your fur baby is used to playing with dogs drastically larger or smaller than they are.

Keep your eyes on your dog instead of your cell phone. Your fur baby may be well trained and friendly, but you never know how the other dogs in the park will behave, and you’ll need to react quickly if problems arise. If your dog becomes aggressive with another animal or shows any signs of stress, it’s time to go home. If someone else’s dog becomes a problem, speak with their owner. Never discipline another person’s dog. Resist the urge to pick your dog up for protection or convenience; an aggressive dog may see it as an invitation to jump on you.

Back at Home

Don’t be surprised if your fur baby is sleepy after your trip to the dog park. Offer him food and water, and take a few minutes to check him over for fleas, ticks, and injuries. Then, let him snooze and rest up for your next dog park adventure.