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Dog Park Etiquette

A local dog park is a great place to take your dog to give it a chance to socialize, but it is never a good idea to use it as a substitute for taking a walk with your dog. Taking a excited or anxious dog to the dog park is just asking for a fight.

In order to make a visit to the dog park a pleasant experience for everyone, your dog needs to be completely calm and totally under your control before you enter the park. If your dog does not respond to your voice commands every time, you probably need to re-think going to the dog park for a while.

As always, you should never socialize a sick dog in a public environment. Make sure that your dog has a clean bill of health before you bring it to the dog park. If your dog has skin problems, parasites or any other sickness it may expose a lot of health dogs to it.

Here are some other things you need to know in order to make the dog park experience a great one for you, your dog and everyone else who visits the dog park.

1. Upon your arrival to the dog park, make sure that your dog is completely calm before you go through the gate of the park. If it takes a few minutes for your dog to achieve a calm state of mind, so be it. Take all of the time you need!!! If you enter to soon, the next thing you do might be breaking up a fight. 

2. After entering the park, make sure you keep your dog in sight and under voice control at all times.

3. While in the park watch for any excited or out of control dogs that might be in the park. Avoid them at all cost. Remember, not everyone at the dog park has read this list.

4. You are responsible to clean up after your dog and dispose of anything left by your dog. The best and quickest way to do this is to carry a zip-lock baggie or two in your pocket so that they will be handy if you need it.

5. In most areas your dog must be vaccinated and have all shoots up to date. Some areas also require you to have your dog licensed as well.

6. If your dog starts to become unruly or plays rough, correct this behavior at once. If it continues to be unruly, put the leash back on the dog and leave the park until it becomes calm again. Remember, owners are responsible and liable for the actions and behavior of their dogs at all times.

7. While you are using the dog park, it is OK for you to do some socializing too. But your main focus is to pay attention to your dog at all times. You need to be able to respond to his/her needs or actions at a seconds notice.

8. It is always best that all dogs at the dog park be supervised by an adult. If a dog is brought to the park by a child, and parent or guardian should always be present. NOTE: In most areas Children 8 years and under are not allowed in the off-leash dog area. Children ages 9 - 15 years must be accompanied by an adult.

9. Keep your dog within the designated Off-Leash Dog Area boundaries. Once you leave the area, be sure to replace the leash.

10. In most cases, all other city, county or state park rules apply to dog parks so it is important that you know the park rules before you go in.

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