Want to take your favorite furry companion to the dog park? While animals have their own social rules, their human friends can make sure that visits to the dog park can be both safe and fun. Read our tips before you grab the leash!
• Only bring vaccinated dogs! Dog parks are the perfect place to spread disease and you want to protect both your pup and others.
• On that note, wear close-toed shoes. Humans can catch diseases from dogs, too!
• Leave the food—both doggie and human—at home. Snacks or meals can lead to dog aggression or disease transmission.
• Make sure your dog if fully off-leash before you enter the park—some dogs have leash aggression or fear.
• Know your dog. Skittish or aggressive dogs would not enjoy a dog park visit and could cause altercations with other dogs. Remember that a lot of stimulation can lead to fear-related aggression, resulting in a dog fight. Instead, consider "playdates" with dogs (and their responsible owners) you and your dog already know well.
• Pay attention to your dog—don't let your animal wander on the other side of the dog park while you chat with human friends.
• Keep big dogs from bullying smaller dogs—or smaller dogs from bullying larger dogs!
• If your dog does get into an altercation with another dog, address the issue immediately. Some people might not know what to do, get embarrassed, or laugh it off. Own the situation, and accept the fact your dog might be the aggressor.
• Some dog parks do not allow children, and for good reason. Dog parks exist first for dogs, and not all dogs are great around kids. (Also, dog parks are not the place to go if you are trying to help your child lose a fear of dogs.)
• If the dog park is gated, open only one gate at a time.
• Dogs who aren't fixed make puppies. Remember that.
• Follow all posted rules!
A little human etiquette on behalf of their doggie friends goes a long way!