Friday, May 23, 2014

Dog Park Etiquette


Dog Parks can definitely be a fun place to take your dog for exercise and socialization. But, there is also a certain etiquette that must be followed to ensure you are not "That One Dog Owner" that all the other dog owners are whispering about. Etiquette is also to keep all dogs safe. Here is a list of  "Do's and Don'ts" that will make your trip to the dog park successful and fun.

  • Pick up after your dog! Usually dog parks provide baggies, but sometimes you may need to bring your own. If you are unfamiliar with a new dog park, come prepared!
  • Exercise your dog before going to the park. I know, this sounds weird and you are probably asking yourself, "Isn't the purpose of the dog park to exercise your dog?" A dog park is a place to bond with your dog. If you bring Fido to the park with pent up energy, you are just asking for a doggy meltdown. An overly excited dog + a million other dogs and wide open areas= OVER STIMULATION.
  • A dog park is NOT a place to train your dog. Your dog should be trained beforehand. The reason: In case all mayhem breaks loose, you will have control of your dog. 
  • Don't let your dog steal other dog's toys! It's OK if they are playing TOGETHER. But, stealing another dog's toy is an aggressive behavior that could result in a dog fight. 
  • Take any pronged collars off before entering the dog park. Playing dogs can break teeth or get injured on these types of collars.
  • Don't keep your dog's harness or leash on in the off-leash zone. This will just make your dog feel vulnerable and trapped when all the other dogs are zooming around. 
  • Retractable leads are a HORRIBLE idea. These things are notorious for getting tangled around people and things. Not to mention, it gives your dog a sense of "freedom" that ends up hurting. How would you feel if you were running and ended up clothes lining yourself? OUCH. 
  • Please don't bring children to the dog park or let your dog jump on people.
  • Make sure your dog is over 12 weeks old and vaccinated.
  • Do not bring a female dog in heat or pregnant to the park.
  • Mixing small dogs with big dogs can be a bad idea. Some big dogs may view a smaller as prey. If you are an owner of a small dog and you encounter this problem, picking up your dog could cause an escalation. It mimics the "prey" being up a tree. 
  • Don't let your dog be a bully! This includes those playful pups that keep trying and trying to play with a dog that doesn't want to play, mounting other dogs, overly sniffing another dog and running up to a dog right when they enter the park. This is all rude behavior in a dog's world.
  • Take along water, not treats or food. Especially if your dog has resource guarding problems. If these guarding problems extend to you being considered a resource, the dog park may not be a place you can take your dog.
  • Don't have the mind set that dogs will "work it out".  Resolve the problem before it gets out of hand.
  • Do not be critical of another dog to it's owner! Handle your own dog and be responsible for your own dog's behavior. If your dog is encountering a rude dog, politely remove your dog from the situation without insulting the other owner. 
  • If your dog is arthritic and old, please do not take him/her to the park. This will only make them feel vulnerable. It may also cause a dog fight. 
  • If your dog seems scared, leave the dog park. Don't assume they will get over it. It could get worse. 
With all this in mind, your dog should return home from the park happy, healthy and TIRED.

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