Dog park etiquette is often neglected and dogs suffer as a result.
Community dog parks are a great place to bring your dogs for exercise and socialization. Following these simple guidelines will ensure a safe and joyful experience for all, canine and human alike.
Appropriate Dog Behavior
1. Dog parks are for well- socialized dogs that are friendly, outgoing and confident. Fearful, aggressive or reactive dogs are not appropriate for dog park use. They are not happy or comfortable and may bring this anxiety to other dogs.
2. Bullies are not appropriate for dog park use. A bully dog is a dog that is overly dominant and harassing in nature, making another dog uncomfortable enough to stop playing.
3. Barking should be kept to a reasonable level, for both the human park users and our park neighbors. Play barking is acceptable. Non-stop harassing barking, making another dog anxious is not acceptable, nor is barking with aggressive intent.
4. Do not bring aggressive dogs to the park. This includes bringing them in on leash, as this aggravates other dogs off leash. Remember, this is a park shared by dogs that want to romp and play, not fight.
5. Take off choke chains, prong collars, any extraneous collars where another dog could grab it in play and choke the dog wearing the collar.
6. Some dogs are fantastic wrestlers, in that they play exuberantly at each others neck. This is normal dog play, however, if you notice that they are grabbing collars in play, even their regular collar, then remove these collars, as they can grab and twist in play and strangle each other and/or loose a tooth in the process.
7. Unneutered or intact male dogs over 1 year of age should not come to the dog park. They are just coming of age in their maturity and may become a threat to other male dogs and fights may occur. As soon as you begin to notice this more dominant aggressive behavior in your dog, either neuter him or discontinue use of the park, or get some training from a behaviorist trainer.
8. Do not bring females in season, (in heat) to the dog park. This causes anxiety in male dogs and fights could ensue. It is also very uncomfortable for the female, as she is unable to play, because she is too busy having to fend off male dogs.
9. Mounting or humping is normal dog behavior. Males and females alike display this behavior. It is an excitement behavior not sexual. It is instinctive and normal. Improperly socialized dogs can mount excessively, causing the dog being mounted great anxiety. If this occurs, please respectfully remove your dog, and get some help from a trainer.
Appropriate Human Behavior
As an informed dog owner you:
10. Obey park rules and guidelines, even if you do not agree with them.
11. Are polite, especially when someone else’s dog is behaving inappropriately and the owner is not controlling his dog and is unwilling to take the dog out of the park. Remove your dog if you feel unsafe.
12. Do not bring small children inside the dog park. Dogs oftentimes see small children as playmates and may accidentally knock them over.
13. Are aware and realistic of your own dogs limitations and weaknesses.
14. Can recognize undesirable behavior and be willing to leave the dog park in order to protect the safety of your own dog and that of other dogs.
15. Will not leave your dog unattended at the dog park.
16. Will take note of and report anyone who does not follow these guidelines, thereby causing potential danger to dogs or dog owners.
17. Do not bring treats to the dog park, causing potential dog-to-dog conflict.
18. Know that the dog park is not the place to fix inappropriate behavioral problems without a trainer’s assistance.
19. Will supervise your dog’s play and be prepared to interrupt inappropriate play whether your dog is the perpetrator or the victim.
20. Are willing to listen to someone else’s complaint about your dogs behavior and are willing to leave the park if your dog is being too rough. If you really disagree with the person’s assessment of your dog’s behavior, do not argue, but get advice from a trainer.
21. Remember to keep our park clean and healthy for everyone,
22. Always clean up after your dog and are willing to clean up after others who did not notice, do not know or do not follow the rules. This is everyone’s park; we must take care of it for all our sakes.