Enjoy the Dog Park!

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Dog Park Etiquette

For most people, going to the dog park is a fun way to let your dog get exercise while socializing with other dogs and lets you socialize with other pet parents (while keeping an eye on your dogs). We all need to be mindful of proper dog park etiquette during our visits in order to keep the park safe and fun for everyone.

Once you and your dog get to the dog park, it may be tempting to just stand back and watch all the activity while your dog runs around. Everyone will have a much more rewarding time if you observe some basic “dog park” etiquette. And while many of the suggestions below are more common sense than anything, it’s often observed that they’re not heeded regularly.

Things not to do:

  1. Bring a dog that is under 4 months of age. They won’t have had all the necessary inoculations that allow them to play safely with other animals.
  2. Take your dog if she is sensitive to other dogs, where the park is enclosed, and if there are more than approximately two dogs per every 180 sq. ft. of space.
  3. Bring or use treats and toys when other dogs are nearby.
  4. Allow dogs to form loose packs.
  5. Allow a dog to bully another.
  6. Ever let your dog off-leash in an unfenced dog park he/she is not responsive to your verbal commands.
  7. Worry if some dogs don’t play with other dogs in a dog park.
  8. Bring your dog if he/she has not be spayed or neutered yet. If your male dog is not neutered, he may constantly try to mount other dogs.
  9. Spend your time talking on a cell phone. It’s important that you supervise your dog at all times and be able to give your dog your full attention.
  10. Don’t scold or touch someone else’s dog. You wouldn’t want them to do that to your dog.

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Things to do:

  1. Keep your dog on-leash until you get to the off-leash area. This is not just respectful to other park users, it’s much safer for your dog.
  2. Close all doors to the dog park after entering or exiting.
  3. Observe the dogs in the dog park to see if there are any potential health or behavior problems before entering.
  4. Clean up after your dog.
  5. Supervise dogs when they are playing and interrupt any rough play.
  6. Be willing to leave the dog park if you feel that your dog is being a bully or being bullied, the play is getting too rough, or your dog is just not having fun.
  7. Check to be sure that there aren’t a large number male dogs who are un-neutered at the park.
  8. Be cautious about taking advice from other park patrons who are not canine care professionals.
  9. Be friendly with other pet parents. It’s more enjoyable everyone is nice to each other.
  10. Always observe all of the rules posted at your local dog park. Each town has its own set of by-laws.
  11. And finally, have fun!!

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