The Dog Park is basically nirvana for most pups, a place to burn off some serious doggie energy. Dog Parks improve your dogs socializing skills with other canines and is a wonderful place for them to run and play off-leash. However it must be said, sometimes dog owners are oblivious to what’s going on in the park and honestly there comes a time when you just need to talk about dog park etiquette.
How to play well with others in the doggie park sandbox!
Let’s go over some very important do’s and don’ts.
Before taking your pup to a park, it is always a good idea to take some time and visit solo. Why? This gives you an opportunity to go over your check list:
1. Is it clean and fenced in properly?
2. Are owners of other canines paying attention to what’s going on in the park?
3. Are there aggressive dogs in the park?
Once you have picked a park you will need to check over some
1: Keep your dog up to date with vaccinations such as rabies and distemper. Keep your dog protected from ticks and fleas. You can also vaccinate your pup against kennel cough and influenza. Check with your vet first. Don’t over vaccinate.
2: No Puppies under 6 months, remember they have not built up their immune system and can easily contract bacterial infections or kennel cough. Make sure your puppy is socialized and understands basic commands before socializing them in a pack at the park. It is also good to give them a walk or run before going into the park.
3: Do not bring a dog that shows signs of illness. Wheezing and coughing are signs of kennel cough and is highly contagious to dogs.
4. Take your dog off the leash before entering the park. Once in the park pay attention to what’s going on and where your dog is at all times. If there are aggressive dogs in the park or non neutered males, pay attention. If your dog shows any sign of being bullied, is playing overly rough, cowers around you or under a bench, it might be time to take your dog out of the park for a while, to make sure he or she is comfortable.
5. Dogs will play while barking, growling, toppling over each other. It is good to know your dog’s play habits and to understand play vs fight. Non – aggressive behavior dogs, will have their tails wagging and a relaxed stance. Dogs in fight mode will be tense, snarl and curl their upper lip back. If there is a scuffle or it gets very aggressive, do not step in the middle of it. You can use a stick or throw water on fighting dogs to separate them. I know a woman at my dog park, who carries a squirt gun just in case.
6. I personally like to set up play dates with other dogs who play well with my Australian Shepherd. So if your dog has a certain play style or plays well with a certain dog you might want to consider setting up dates.
7. As dog owners we must be mindful of our surroundings like we are taking care of very small child. These are your fur babies and we have a responsibility to keep them safe and happy. Your spending time on your cell phone or not paying attention, is not being responsible and inconsiderate to other dog owners. So please monitor your dog and show good judgement. Also it is good to really understand breeds and play behavior. There are many tutorials about how dogs interact with each other at a park and in play.
Know before your Go!
Do not bring food or treats into the park.
If your dog is attached to certain play toy leave it at home. Balls and toy are community property.
Please leave children under the age of 10 outside the dog park.
Carry fresh water for your dog especially it there is no running water.