During a recent trip to our local dog park and witnessing several near disasters, I decided to find out what we, as responsible pet owners, should know about dog park etiquette. After some delving, here are a few tips I found that will help make the next visit to your local dog park more enjoyable.
But first, here's a little dog park history. The very first public dog park was the Ohlone Dog Park opened in 1979 in Berkeley, California.
I guess the first tip I have for you is really a no-brainer. Simply, follow the posted rules of your local dog park. Seems like a such a simple thing, doesn't it? It is mind boggling how often dog owners don't do some of the most basic things. Here are some more:
- Stay Alert! – You need to pay attention to your dog(s). It is great to meet and talk to other dog owners, but be aware of what is happening with your dog. Correct your dog, if necessary, and be ready to respond to any emergency.
- Clean up after your dog – This really should not have to be mentioned. Unfortunately, not all dog owners are responsible. Some dog parks supply materials to help, others do not. Come prepared. Bring some plastic bags.
- Respect the health of other dogs – If your dog is not well, postpone your visit to the dog park for a few days until he/she is healthy.
- Try not to bring a pack – One or two dogs are okay, but more is really not too cool. Pack brawls can be disastrous.
- Leave aggressive dogs at home – Dogs that challenge everyone and try to dominate other dogs do not need to be there.
- Leave dog toys at home too – Leave treats in your car also. Treats and toys are triggers for fights.
- Be wary of bringing your small children – Remember, dog parks are for dogs. Not all dogs respond well to little ones running amongst them while others might fight for attention. Do everyone a favor; keep little ones outside the enclosure.
- Training and socialization is required – Do not expect an animal that is not socialized to do well. That is a recipe for disaster. Wait, get your dog trained and socialized before risking a trip to the dog park, for everyone’s sake.
- NO BITCHES IN HEAT! – Is this even necessary to include? Unfortunately, it is. Bringing your dog while she is in heat is asking for a trip to the emergency vet for someone. Please, do not even consider it.
I hope these help. Taking your dog out should always be "like a walk in the park". Enjoy.
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