“Dog Park Etiquette” by Eliza Jessee

Dog Park Etiquette
Eliza Jessee, author of Thepupinapartment3.com
Guest blog post for isabelsdogblog.com

The dog park is a wonderful place for dogs to socialize with other dogs and run off-leash, especially if they don’t have a large backyard to run around at home. However, the dog park can quickly become a hostile place for a dog if dog owners do not follow the posted rules and abide by proper dog park etiquette. The following are basic guidelines that every dog owner should follow when visiting the dog park.

1. Make sure your dog has all of it’s vaccinations up-to-date. Your dog MUST
have all of it’s necessary vaccinations before coming into contact with other
dogs. Otherwise, it could contract or spread a dangerous illness.

2. Clean up after your dog. At most dog parks, there are poop bag dispensers and
garbages readily available. It is common courtesy to clean up after your dog at the dog park. No one wants to step in your dog’s poop (or worse, have their dog roll in it).

3. Have your dog under control. Make sure that your dog listens to your commands, and that you can physically remove them from a potentially dangerous situation. Do not allow your dog to show aggression towards, bully, or torment other dogs.

4. Know your dog’s temperament. If your dog has shown aggression to other dogs in the past, DO NOT TAKE THEM TO THE DOG PARK. This is asking for trouble. You may think you have your dog under control, but it is simply irresponsible to take a dog with known aggression to the dog park.

5. Learn to read dog body language. By learning to spot signs of aggression in dog language, you can prevent fights before they happen. If a dog is showing tell-tale signs of aggression, (stiffness, holding ears erect, growling) you should leave. Keeping yourself and your dog safe is a priority.

6. Be aware of your dog. Make sure that you are watching your dog at all times. Do not become distracted by your cell phone or other dogs. It is your responsibility to make sure that your dog is safe, comfortable, and under control. Other dog park patrons will not know how to handle your dog in a confrontational situation.

7. If your dog is uncomfortable, leave. Be considerate of your dog. If they aren’t enjoying the dog park, take them somewhere they feel comfortable and safe. This is especially important for smaller dogs, who can become easily intimidated at the dog park.

2 thoughts on ““Dog Park Etiquette” by Eliza Jessee

  1. Very good advice. My dingo lab X isn’t aggressive but i don’t take him to dog parks as he likes to be the boss of every other dog. The other owners think he is being aggressive, not bossy. The dogs don’t see anyone but the leader and they all want to play with him and chase him once the pecking order has been established. It is me who feels under pressure and uncomfortable, so safer for me to stay away!

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    1. That’s a very good point, not all owners have the same level of understanding dog behaviour, and I see it too sometimes. One thing I noticed is that some owners panic the moment play gets rowdy or a tiny growl is uttered, not knowing when it’s just part of the game.

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