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Dog Park Etiquette You Should Know

Going to the dog park

When you first bring your dog to the dog park, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of playing fetch with them, but it’s important to remember that this isn’t just some off-leash play area for your pooch—it’s also an opportunity to socialize and make friends with other dogs and their owners. As such, there are certain rules of dog park etiquette you should follow if you want to avoid embarrassing yourself and your dog.

What Are the rules of the dog park?

A pet parent should always keep in mind that he or she is responsible for their dog. Ensure your dog’s behavior is always under control. Make sure that he is socialized enough and non-aggressive when they meet new people or other dogs.

Each town or city sets up its own dog park rules and it’s important to always follow them. If you don’t see posted rules near the entrance to the dog park, please use the Internet to find any rules posted by the dog park.

Common Dog Park Rules:

  • Scoop, bag, and throw away the waste your dog leaves behind. Dog waste is not just unpleasant to play in, a messy environment is unhygienic.
  • It is crucial that your dog is vaccinated, as all dogs must be vaccinated before they enter the dog park.
  • Do not bring a female dog in heat to the dog park. Sometimes her presence causes tension and causes a distraction for the other dogs.
  • Even when in an off-leash park, always carry your dog’s leash with you. If you’re at the park and your dog is approached by an aggressive or unpleasant dog, you may need to remove them quickly.
  • You can bring your own dog toys like tennis balls or Frisbees®, but just make sure that no other dogs will be competing for them. Some dogs may respond negatively when their favorite toy is demanded by other dogs at the dog park.
  • Even in a secure location like a dog park, always keep a collar on your dog in case they happen to make a break for it. Help ensure his safety by making sure he always has his collar with up-to-date tags.
  • Always keep an eye on your dog. It’s important to remember that, while you might know your dog better than anyone else at the dog park, other pet owners may not be as observant.
  • Make sure you are ready and able to quickly grab your dog if something gets out of hand; accidents happen when we least expect them. Never leave your dog alone for a long period of time, either—even if he’s with other dogs.

Interacting with dogs at the Dog Park

One of the benefits of bringing your dog to the dog park is letting him meet and play with other dogs. Though this is a great opportunity for him to play with his peers, it is necessary to follow certain precautions to make sure all the animals and dog parents are safe.

  • Make sure the other dog’s parent agrees for the two dogs to play before you let your pet dog near his or her companion. This shouldn’t be a shock to anyone, but not all dogs get along, or they might be too rough with certain sizes of dogs. Plus, some pet parents may just want to hang out with their pooch and not really looking for a play date right now. Respect their wishes and trust me, there are plenty of other dogs and parents that are eager to let the two dogs be best friends.

Don’t give any treats when at the dog park

Remember, always feed the dog treats when they get home, not while they’re out playing in the park. There’s a reason that dog treats aren’t dispensed carelessly at dog parks: it can create an unfair advantage for some dogs.

Some dogs are pickier than others and a piece of jerky may be too appealing for a tiny pup to resist; other dogs may be scared by large canines that want treats. Tempting as it may be to give your dog treats or feed him at the dog park, waiting until you get home to reward him is better.

Know your dog’s boundaries

Lastly, understand the differences between how your dog barks or how he postures depending on how he feels: friendly barks are quite different from nervous yelps or barks with hair standing on end. When your dog starts becoming hostile or intimidated by other dogs (tail between the legs, teeth bared, ears back), it’s time to grab him and get him out of the park.

If your dog is uncomfortable or nervous around other dogs, plan on keeping him close by. It might be a good idea to visit the park during “off hours”. There are not as many dogs earlier in the day during the week. Fewer dogs mean less anxiety.  For your dog’s first few visits to the dog park, one or two dogs is ideal.

Dog Park Etiquette

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Poop Angels

Dog Poop Scooping and pet waste removal company servicing Northern New Jersey. A division of Trusty Tails Pet Services.

Email scoop@poopangels.com

Call 973-446-5001

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Verona, NJ 07004


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