Dog parks are surely a great place to hang out for dogs and their owners. That is why since 2007, the number of dog parks has grown by over 80 percent and are becoming really popular across the world. Taking your dog to the dog park comes with many benefits for you both, including socializing opportunities, physical fitness, fresh air etc. So, if you are planning to take your dog there for the first time or go there often, this article will be valuable for you either way. We will take you through all the Dos and Don’ts for at the dog park.

Dos

Vaccinations

You must ensure that your dog is up to date with all his vaccinations for the sake of other dogs and owners at the park. These vaccinations must include rabies, kennel cough and distemper. Additionally, you must also ensure parasite control for fleas, intestinal parasites and ticks. The best thing to do would be talking to your veterinarian to ensure you take the right precautions. The doctor will also be able to suggest some further steps to keep yourself, your dog and everyone else completely safe and healthy.

Leash

It is every parent’s duty to keep their dog and everyone else in the dog park safe at all times. One of the ways to do this is by ensuring your dog is on its leash until the designated enclosed off-leash area. Though your dog may be very friendly and would just to run up to someone to say hi, but it still may scare off some dogs or owners there. There is also a possibility that your innocent dog might just run onto the middle of the street abruptly. When off the leash, you must still keep on eye on the little one to make sure he isn’t getting into any trouble.

Pack well

You may need a variety of things while at the park especially if you’re there for a while and it isn’t recommended that you share too many things with the other dogs. We know, it might sound rude but it is best away to avoid the spread of diseases. You should go prepared with items such as water bottle, poop bags, doggy treats, first aid kit etc. In fact, some modern dog parks even have a dog wash station, so you can carry a doggie shampoo and towel with you.

Size Matters

Some parks will divide the area into two sections – one for large dogs and the other for smaller ones.  Though some dogs are comfortable with the opposite size, it is advisable to keep your pup in its designated area. You must understand that the dog park is not your backyard and not all dogs are the same. A large dog may accidentally injure a smaller one, even during friendly play. Worse, a larger dog may also see a small dog as prey, which can have serious implications.

Don’ts

Age

Do not take your little puppy to the dog park until he is 3-4 months old. Since puppies are really sensitive and weak, taking them to the dog park can be fairly dangerous for them. The risk is not only from other dogs but even from various other external factors such as the weather, busy streets etc. Though you may be anxious, it is advisable to consult your vet before taking this step.

Humping/Mounting

Humping or mounting may be considered part of normal play, however not all dogs or humans, appreciate this behavior. As a result, there can be an aggressive response from the dog or the owner. Instead we suggest that you intervene and try to redirect your dog or even remove him from the park. You must also discipline your dog and make it clear that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated. If this behavior gets out of hand, you and your dog may be asked to leave the park or worse be banned from it.

Aggression

Your dog may be well behaved and calm at home or around dogs he is friends with however that may not be the case amongst a bunch of strangers. If your dog is aggressive then he does not belong in the dog park and perhaps you should seek out alternate exercises. There is no need to put other dogs and their parents at risk of an injury due to this. Also, if you feel that your dog is too aggressive then you should seek professional guidance and try to resolve these issues. You should also discourage your dog ganging up on other dogs. Actions such as bullying and rough play should also be discouraged and stopped immediately.

Children

Do not take young children or babies to the dog park. Their small size can create an unsafe situation for the child and the dog. Unknowingly, a dog may knock over or injure a child while playing. On the other hand, an aggressive dog may react violently to a child’s attempt to make friends. A child, due to their immune system, may also end up contracting an infection from one of the dogs. In fact, on rare occasions, a dog may even view a child as prey. In any case, there are plenty of dangerous situations that may prevail so please leave your children at home.

Summary

So, these were the top dos and don’ts at a dog park. Apart from these, there may also be a list of rules attached at the entrance of a dog park. Majorly what you need to do is to try to be safe and considerate of the other dogs and humans in the park. If you are willing to and able to do that, you will be welcome at any dog park. However, also remember that having fun at a dog park is also very important! Please tell us if you have any other tips for dog owners.


About the Author: I am Anoop Nain, proud father of four rescued dogs and two Flemish giant rabbits. It’s 2019, all my puppers are grown up now but each day with them is a new learning experience for me. I have a degree in Animal Behavior and Welfare. I know so much about pets (dogs and rabbits in particular) now that people come to me for suggestions and tips.