Dog Park Etiquette

Oh, the dog park – probably the most anticipated dog/owner area to visit in most any city. And perhaps one of the most stressful. One can never really be sure what to expect from either your dog or other people. But there are plenty of common sense protocols to keep in mind to secure a pleasant dog park experience for both dog and human.

DO NOT REPLACE WALKING WITH TRIPS TO THE DOG PARK. Something many owners prefer to do because it’s so much easier to just drive to the park and let your pet do its thing there. But the walk is an instinctual drive for your dog. Instead, walk to the park in order to relieve excess energy so your pet is less likely to behave badly, and more likely to have fun.

KEEP AN EYE ON WHAT YOUR DOG IS DOING. Although you would love nothing more than to catch up on your texts, emails, and Facebook while at the dog park, keeping an eye on what your pet is doing is pivotal in securing an enjoyable experience. Not so much because of what your dog may be doing, but how the other dogs may be influencing your pets behavior. Playfulness is fine. But potential bullying or aggressive behavior should be corrected before it escalates. Choose a more appropriate time to catch up on that reading.

DO NOT STAY FOREVER. And as with any noble endeavor it too must come to an end. However, be sure to establish a time limit. Dogs crave scheduled regimens, so rather than wait until your pet appears tired or bored and ready to go home, you pick the time to leave. This way you’ll also be establishing dominance within the set parameters of a disciplined routine.

Dog park etiquette is really all about common sense. Pretend as if you took the neighbors kid to the playground and watch with due diligence. Be sure to bring plenty of bags for poop disposal, extra water for drinking, and maybe a rag or two for wiping and you’ve got the makings of many positive excursions to the land where dogs roam freely.