The short guide of dog park etiquette

The short guide of dog park etiquette

Inspired by recurring problematic behaviour, our collaborator shares her thoughts on how to make visits safe and great for all.

October 11, 2019

Dog parks are the ideal locations for dogs to run off their energy and play with their buddies. The rules and regulations, and sometimes even the codes of conduct, are usually posted at the entrance. To ensure that each visit is a fun and pleasant experience for all parties, here are a few points to keep in mind.

BE SURE TO:

1. Close both sets of gates
Dog parks have two sets of gates. Be sure to shut the first set before opening the second. Believe it or not, some people struggle to grasp this concept!

2. Pick up after your dog
It doesn’t take a PhD to work this one out. And, if you don’t pick up your dog’s poop, be warned that karma may well catch up with you when you’re wearing your favourite pair of shoes.

3. Keep an eye on your furry friend
I’m not talking about your boyfriend! All types of dramatic situations—fights, injuries, bullying—can play out in a dog park. So, set aside Instagram, keep close track of your 4-legged friend, and enjoy your time socializing in the park.

4. Respect each park’s sections
It’s common sense: big dogs with big dogs, little dogs with little dogs. Even if he thinks he’s a Chihuahua, your 4-year-old Doberman must mingle with the other big guys and girls.

DON’T:

1. Walk through the small-dog park with your big dog
See point #4 above. Even if it’s a question of convenience. Even when you’re really tired. Even if you have a bad case of “turista”. For security’s sake, always walk around!

2. Throw toys, sticks, steaks, etc.
Dogs, by instinct, want to protect what’s theirs. Whatever you throw, your dog’s going to want to catch it (and keep it!) and, if there’s 1 ball for 10 dogs, your game good quite easily turn into all-out doggy warfare.

3. Wet someone else’s dog
Most dog parks have drinking fountains or troughs. Some dogs like to hang out close to them because the ground is moist and it’s cooler. Scenario: Someone lets the water run and gets other dogs wet. Question: When you’re at home, tired, in the evening, do you like the smell of wet dog? No one else does either!


None of these pieces of canine park etiquette are likely to infringe on our personal freedoms! When we’re at the dog park, let’s be sure to make the most of the moment, keep an eye on our dogs and have a thought for the other dogs (and people) around us. It’s just as fun!

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