Dog Park Etiquette: What to Do?

Finding the Right Manners for Your Dog

It is great to spend an afternoon in the dog park with your pet. She will get plenty of exercise and socialize with others. The experience is fun and can be, but it can be challenging if Daisy’s bad behavior goes unchecked. These are the basics to a trouble-free, fun time at your local dog park.

You Should Always Check Your Door Before You Leave

It is important that your dog be healthy and have received all of her vaccinations. Your dog’s basic obedience training is also helpful. Your pet should wear a city tag and/or the rabies tag on its collar. Some parks require these tags to be worn in order to enter. Pack water and waste bags to clean up after your pet. Use a collapsible or resealable water bottle, a bowl that can be resealed, or even a bowl with a dog-specific spout. Don’t forget your dog’s lead when you walk her from and to the entrance to the dog park.

Park Entrance

On arrival, take note of how the dogs behave and observe their number. Let your dog settle down and then let her go. Be prepared to immediately leave if your dog behaves aggressively or is acting fearfully.

Animals that Approach

Your dog’s conduct in the park is your responsibility. You don’t have to be overly sensitive, but neither should you be careless. Keep the book and phone at home. You can introduce your dog more easily if you’re already comfortable with the normal play of dogs.

When dogs relax and are not threatening, play is normal. Normal behaviors include barking, growling at one another, pawing each other, bowing, and chasing. Some may also be humming, smelling, or mouthing.

In some cases, an older dog may have to reprimand a young dog for being overly pushy. It will appear that the older dog might bite. You can rest assured that the action was only for show as long as there is no skin damage. It’s one way that dogs can teach social behaviors and boundaries to each other. As long as they don’t go too far, this is all good fun.

It’s important to separate the dogs if you notice that they are acting in a pack or someone is chasing or crowding your dog. When a fight breaks out, you should either move your dog to a different area or even leave the park. You can ask the owner of the dog to call their dog off and then take control. If it’s your dog who is aggressive, then you need to take her out of the park.

Your dog will have fun as long as the other dogs are polite and have socialized them properly. She may even have to be put down by another dog who doesn’t want to play. All part of the learning process — proper dog park manners.