You head out to the nearest dog friendly park, ready to let your faithful companion have a romp with his own kind, leash-free. You open the gate, unclip the leash, and off he goes. Suddenly, it dawns on you – you have no idea what behavior is expected at the dog park. Before you are guilty of the dog-park equivalent of putting your elbows on the table, take some time to think about proper dog park etiquette.
Dog park etiquette focuses on maintaining a safe, clean environment, so all who visit can have an enjoyable time. As such, the first rule is to stay in control of your dog. If he starts to get out of hand, leash him and leave. This ensures that no fights or injuries occur. One of the most important rules is to pick up after your dog. All of that running and playing just might entice your dog to “go,” but make sure you pick it up. No one wants to step in a mess, even at the dog park.
A few rules are for the safety of your dog. Do not bring a dog who is 4 months or younger. Puppies are too young for the rigorous play at the dog park, and they may not be fully vaccinated. Also, if your female dog is in heat, leave her at home. Do not eat or smoke at the dog park, as this can expose the dogs to undue risk. Finally, avoid bringing young children to the dog park for their safety and the safety of the animals. If you can follow these rules, you can have a fun time at the dog park, while ensuring that other people’s pets are also safe. Be considerate and have fun!