A visit to the dog park is a fun way for your dog to exercise and interact with other dogs. If you've never taken your dog to the park before, you may be apprehensive about your dog's behavior, how they'll interact with other dogs and your dog's safety. Before you head out, you might want to talk to other dog owners about parks they visit.
Your First Visit to the Park
Make sure your dog's vaccinations are up-to-date. When you get to the park, take a few minutes to observe dogs, their owners and the park layout. If you don't feel comfortable, wait a few minutes before entering. If your dog is nervous, you may want to put it off until another time.
One of the biggest complaints about some parks is owners who don't clean up after their pets. Use disposable bags to clean up after your dog or use bags and scoops that the park provides. Another issue is owners that don't dispose of trash properly. Dogs can get sick or injured from improper trash disposal.
Leave your dog's favorite toys and pet treats at home. The idea is for dogs to socialize. They get distracted by toys or get into fights over treats. Save snacks for yourself until after you leave the park. If you see trash, empty food wrappers, cans or bottles, dispose of them properly.
When you enter the dog park, keep your dog on-leash until you get to the off-leash section. If you have a puppy, wait until he's at least four months old before going to the park. Puppies any younger than four months don't have all their shots and can't safely play with other dogs.
Keep a close watch on your puppy, especially if it's timid or gets overstimulated around other dogs. If your dog is aggressive or unruly, avoid dog parks until your dog is trained. Dogs that haven't been spayed or neutered shouldn't be taken to a dog park. If your female dog is in season, she should stay at home.
It's not advisable to bring more than two or three dogs to the park. It's difficult for people to keep an eye on their dogs, especially when the park is crowded. Your dog should never play unattended. It's your responsibility to watch your dog and monitor its behavior. Keep your attention on your dog and not on your phone unless it's a necessity
Interaction With Other Dogs and Owners
Be friendly with other owners and their pets. However, don't touch anyone else's dog without the owner’s permission. If you witness one dog being bullied by other dogs, be certain that your dog isn't one of the offenders, and encourage other people in the park to behave accordingly.
Bringing Children to the Park
Children should be watched closely if you take them to the park. If children are running, a dog will see this behavior as prey running from them. If dogs are running and playing, they can bump into a small child, knocking them over and possibly causing injury. It's your responsibility to keep your child close to you. Keep in mind that the section of the park for small or timid dogs is not for running children. Never allow your child to feed your dog or anyone else's pet food or treats. And dog parks are mainly for the enjoyment of dogs and their owners
Although these are suggestions and not specific rules, you and your dog will have a much more enjoyable experience, and a safer one, if you follow these simple dog park rules of etiquette.