Tips For Dog Park Etiquette!
Dog parks are a great way to strengthen your bond with your dog, have him socialize, and help him burn off some extra energy. But, what do you do if your dog is shaking like a leaf under a park bench? Or when a couple of minutes of enthusiastic play make your dog extremely “friendly” with his playmate? Read our tips for fantastic dog park etiquette & a few ways you can manage/correct some common dog park behaviors.
Dog Park Etiquette
Here are some common dog park etiquette tips to remember before your next visit. Most local dog parks, cities & towns have their own rules, so it’s a good idea to do an online search before visiting the park.
- Clean up after your dog - While your dog may view the entire dog park as his personal toilet, it doesn’t mean you should leave his mess behind. Keeping the park clean not only keeps other dog owners’ shoes clean but also helps protect against the spread of parasites.
- Make sure your dog is vaccinated - All dogs visiting the park should have updated vaccinations. If you have a puppy, whose most likely very eager to play with the big dogs, he should not enter the dog park until he’s at least four months of age and has had his full set of vaccinations. If contact your veterinarian if you’re unsure about your dog’s vaccinations
- Keep a collar on your dog and have your leash on hand - Keeping your dog’s collar on can keep him safe in case he decides to plan a great escape. Make sure to keep the tags on your dog’s collar up-to-date. Also, making sure you have your dog’s leash with you can help you quickly remove him from any less-than-pleasant interactions.
- Actively supervise your dog - While you may be tempted to enthusiastically scroll through your Instagram feed while your dog plays, it’s best to limit the amount of time your attention is off of him. Actively checking in and supervising your dog makes sure that he’s safe and behaving well.
- Avoid bringing aggressive dogs into the park - If your dog has a history of aggression with humans or other dogs, it’s best not to bring him into the park so as to not put other dogs and people at risk. If your dog displays aggressive behavior, speak to your veterinarian about seeking professional guidance.
How to Deal with Common Dog Park Behavior
Keeping an eye on your dog is a great way to make sure he and other dogs have a positive experience in the park. By watching your dog, you can easily read his body language and understand what he’s trying to communicate to you and the dogs around him. Here are some common dog park behaviors and how to respond to them.
If you see another dog in the park that is acting aggressively and making you question the safety of your dog, it’s in your best interest to leave the park right away. If it’s your own dog that’s being aggressive, immediately correct his behavior by giving him a time-out and giving him space to calm down. If you find your dog continues to be aggressive in the park, it’s best for you to leave.
Over time, if you notice that your dog is consistently aggressive, it’s best to stop visiting the dog park. Rather, seek out options for getting professional training for your dog.
Fear and Shyness
If your dog is pressed up against your legs or hiding under a bench, always allow them time to retreat and relax. Whenever your dog is being confident and playing well with other dogs, make sure to reward his behavior.
However, if you find that your dog is simply too overwhelmed while in the park, it’s okay to leave and let him calm down. For your future visits, try to visit the park when there are fewer pups running around. A less crowded space can encourage him to explore at his own pace!
If you see that your dog is getting a little too “friendly” with another dog, or that your own dog has garnered some “unwanted attention,” immediately interrupt the action. While some dogs don’t mind being mounted during play, it’s best to stop the behavior right away to prevent any fights or unnecessary stress.
Sometimes dogs can get a little too excited during play and overwhelm their playmate. Who can blame them? A dog park is an exciting place! However, if you find that your dog is bullying another dog, or is being bullied, calmly move your dog away from his playmate and give him time to calm down.
We hope that these tips on dog park etiquette have helped you prepare for your next trip to the dog park. We wish you and your dog an awesome time at your next dog park outing!