Dog Park Etiquette

Even canines need to mind their manners. A day at the dog park can tire out your dog in a way just walking with them could never do and also provides your dog with much-needed peer socialization. Going to the dog park should be a positive experience, it can be quite another thing if your dog has bad manners and they are allowed to have their bad behavior go unchecked.  A well-trained dog does best at the dog park. There are some suggestions for ensuring your pup behaves appropriately at the dog park, and you are less likely to have the spend the day making apologies or exchanging contact information to settle the results and costs resulting from bad doggie behavior instead of arranging puppy play dates.


The Preparation For the Proper Dog Park Debut

Your dog will be socializing with other dogs, so your dog needs to be old enough to have gotten their entire series of vaccinations. Your dog should also be in good health. You do not want your dog or other dogs risking each other’s health. Ideally, your dog has had some obedience training and at the barest minimum knows commands such as “sit,” stay,” stop,” “hell” no,” drop it” and others. A dog that responds to commands or hand signals and is trained is a better pet to take to the dog park in general. Your dog should have a collar with has their ID tag with your contact information and any city licenses. The dog’s rabies tag should always be on their collar as well. Some parks require these tags for admittance.  You should bring enough water for yourself and your dog as well as bags to clean up after your dog as if you were on a walk. You can use a Tupperware type bowl or another portable bowl or a doggie camping bottle with a spout designed for dogs to drink from. You will also need your dog’s leash for walking them to and from the park or the car that was taken to the park. You cannot let your dog roam free outside the confines of the dog park.


Arrivals are Everything for Dog Park Grand Entrances

When you first arrive, keep your pet on the leash and look around and get a bearing on the environment. Look and see how many dogs are present, if the park is divided by size and if so, where your dog belongs. Notice carefully how the others dogs are behaving. Once you have a lay of the land, you can take your dog into the park and have them sit as you remove their leash only if your dogs are not showing signs of fear or aggression to other dogs or other dogs are showing fear and aggression towards your pet. If there is fear or aggression, you need to put your dog back on the leash and turn around and try another day.


Making Friends and Proper Pup Socialization

You can’t have your nose buried in a book or on your phones at the dog park. You need to observe the dogs for the prevention of injury to your dog and others.

Knowing how dogs play will help a lot at the dog park. Dogs don’t play like humans. Play is normal when the dogs are relaxed, and the actions are non-threatening. Barking, some growling, pawing at each other, wrestling, bowing, and chasing are all normal behaviors. You may also see some mouthing, sniffing, and even humping. As pack animals, dogs will assert dominance over other in the course of normal playtime and socialization as everyone learns their place and role in the dog park that day. There will be episodes of an older dog putting a young whippersnapper in their place for being over-eager and annoying. The older dog will mouth the other dogs and appear to bite. It was just dominance games for dogs as long as the skin wasn’t broken. This is a typical way that dogs teach other social behavior and teach other dogs their role in a group. Dogs teach and define their boundaries with each other during free play. As long as the dogs don’t draw blood, get out of control or go too far, the dogs are having a good time.

If the dogs start acting our scenes from any movie in which one group bullies a single dog and chasing or crowds another dog out as a group, it’s time for human intervention. This group behavior directed towards a single dog is not just playful and requires a human to break it up and call the bullied dog to them for comfort and to be checked. If a serious fight happens at the dog park, you need to move to another space and separate the animals.  If the owner of the aggressive dog is nearby as they should be, you should have them handle the situation. It can be considered impolite to handle another person’s dog. If your dog was being aggressive, you should remove them from the dog park immediately. Bad behavior is not rewarded with play.

Dog park etiquette means playing nice with others and occasionally being put in your place by a dog that doesn’t want to play chase. If all the animals are vaccinated, trained and properly socialized, your dog should have a good day out with its dog pals.



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