Our dogs were built to roam and love running around free. Local dog parks can be a great way to grant our lovable furball some much-desired freedom where they can enjoy exercising and playing without being tied to a leash. There is also some beneficial mental stimulation of socializing with other dogs and their owners. Regular activity plus some interesting fun and games can help alleviate the boredom that often leads to destructive behavior at home. To ensure that our four-legged friend has the best time ever and dog parks to remains a positive experience for you and your dog, it is important to stick to some basic rules.
Below are some dog park etiquette rules to consider for safe engagement.
1. Always keep an eye on your dog. It is very important to moderate your dog’s interactions to other dogs to ensure that play remains safe and that dogs are mutually interested in each other.
2. Keep small dogs in the small dog area if they are overwhelmed by bigger dogs. Don’t force your dog to play with other dogs if they don’t’ want to.
3. Make sure you keep moving around the dog park as it will prompt your dog to periodically check your position and follow you. A dog that is constantly keeping an eye on their human is more likely to stay out of trouble.
4. All dogs must always wear a collar – incase they get out of the park or they need restraining.
5. Make sure you bring poop bags. Immediately picking up after your dog helps maintain a healthy environment.
6. Bring a bottled water and a portable water bowl for your dog.
7. Make sure your dog obeys when you call him to prevent him from becoming involved in any unpleasant incidents.
1. Do not take puppies if they are less than 4 months of age or if they haven't had all of their rounds of shots as their immune systems are not sufficiently developed to resist commonplace viruses and germs.
2. Don't bring your dog to the dog park if you suspect your dog is sick. Wait until the vet’s given your dog a clean bill of health.
3. Don't bring a female in heat or an unneutered male to the dog park as it will definitely cause a stir and may result in fights and a lot of unwanted mounting.
4. Don’t bring food or taste treats to the dog parks as they can prompt other dogs to pay you too much attention and end up following you around and it could cause fights as dogs compete to get a treat.
5. Don’t bring toys at the dog park as they can encourage aggressive behavior with dogs competing for possession.
6. Don’t let play time with other dogs get too rough or one-sided. Intervene quickly and body-block your dog by stepping in between your dog and the other dog to let your dog know they should stop.
7. And most importantly, don’t allow yourself to be distracted by your mobile phone or lengthy conversations with other dog owners.
You should also consider whether or not your dog actually likes the dog park. Some dogs prefer the company of humans or would enjoy going for a long walk or a hike rather than going to the dog park and socializing with other dogs. If you notice your dog doesn’t like interacting much with other dogs and prefers to remain near you instead, then there’s a good chance that they are not enjoying the dog parks as much as you would like. Honor what your dog’s behavior is telling you and think about taking them somewhere else instead for some special outdoor time.