We all know how much fun a trip to the local dog park can be for both you and your pooch. It’s a place where people and dogs can play together. It’s important to remember that dog parks are shared spaces. All dog parks are different, and some have rules posted while others do not. These are not official dog park rules, but following this etiquette will make the dog park a safer place for your pooch.
1) If you have a scared, fearful or aggressive dog, do not expect a dog park to fix this! We all want our dogs to be friendly and social, but hire a trainer or seek professional advice from you vet on the proper steps to take.
2) If your dog has never been around other dogs, do not make a dog park your dogs first meet and greet experience. You want to introduce your dog to other dogs first, this way you will know how your dog will react.
3) Make sure that your dog is up to date on all shots. A lot of dog parks that I have personally been to make this a requirement, but I have also been to some where there are no rules about that or anything else posted. If your dog is not up to date on his shots, you are exposing your very own dog to any diseases or sicknesses that they are not currently vaccinated against. You are also exposing other dogs to potential health risks.
4) If you or anyone else seems nervous about your dog, don’t let this stop you from letting your dog go out and play. Introduce your dog while he’s in a separate entry area (most parks have this) or if not on the other side of the fence. Once you have done this, it will give you a much more reassuring feeling seeing how they interact before hand.
5) Be sure to always keep an eye out for your dog. Dog parks are not the place to sit around and catch up on your latest book. Even if your dog is perfectly behaved, you never know about other dogs. There are a number of things that can happen that can instigate an argument between dogs, so it’s important to always supervise your dog.
6) If you own more than two dogs, make sure you bring someone with you. Some people own three or more dogs, and if this is the case for you; it’s better to be safe than sorry. You never want to bring more dogs than you can handle.
7) Make sure to visit during an appropriate time for your dog. For instance, if you have a very playful dog, taking your dog on a weekend would be your best bet. Weekends typically tend to have the most dogs for obvious reasons. Also, if your dog gets hot very easily; take your dog at night when it cools down.
8) If you notice any chemicals that are being used by the park maintenance such as pesticides or fertilizers, you may want to return another day or perhaps visit another park. Although not mandatory, it’s always a good idea to wash the feet and legs of your pup when returning from a dog park. Just remember to watch carefully for signs of exposure.
9) Make sure your dog is wearing a collar at all times. If you have a harness for your dog, make sure to bring a collar and put it on your dog if you plan on taking the harness off. There are many things that can happen in a dog park, and if a fight or anything else were to happen suddenly; the collar would allow you to have something to grab if needed.
10) Bring your own container of water and bowl for your dog. Most if not all dog parks already have water stations set up for the dogs. Contaminated drinking water can cause many infections. Many times, raccoons or other wildlife animals use these water stations during the night that can spread many diseases and infections, such as leptospirosis, which is a potentially fatal bacterial disease.
Taking precautionary measures and making sure your pet is safe can save you in medical costs and most importantly keep your pet from unwanted diseases. By taking the following into consideration, your visits to the dog park will be even more enjoyable for you both! If you have any dog park tips, or have an experience you would like to share be sure to leave us a comment!