8 Ways to Practice Proper Etiquette in Dog Parks | Reader's Digest

8 Ways to Practice Proper Etiquette in Dog Parks

Want to take Fido to dog parks to run free with other four-legged friends? Avoid a dog park fiasco with these expert tips from Bark Busters Canada.

from Reader's Digest CANADA
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    Don't bring a favorite toy.

    By all means bring a plaything, but leave your pet's absolute favorite toy at home because chances are good that it won't make it out of the park unscathed.

    Pick up the doo-doo!

    A dog park is not a public pet toilet. Always dispose of your "doggy bags" properly.

    Don't bring a sick pet.

    When pets are under the weather they can be really grumpy and overly aggressive, and can risk passing something on to other pets. Most importantly, make sure that your pet is completely vaccinated.

    Control your dog.

    Your dog should know and respect the basic commands (come, sit and stay) before you take it to a dog park, so you can prevent it from harassing other dogs and their owners. "Your dog has to respect you as a strong pack leader," says Smith. Also avoid correcting the behaviors of other people's dogs without receiving permission from the owner first -- or the scrap might end up being between humans!

    Don't bring small children.

    A dog park is no place for small children. They run and yell, and dogs will instinctively chase them because that's what dogs do.

    Repair any damage.

    Besides stepping in doggy droppings, there's nothing worse than twisting your ankle in a hidden hole in the ground. If your dog is a chronic digger, take the time to refill the holes.

    Don't bring food and treats.

    Unless you want a pack of scavenging mutts descending on you and your pet, leave the food at home.

    Don't bring dogs in heat.

    Aside from the potential for an unspayed dog to become pregnant, the mere presence of a hot-to-trot female can send normally well-behaved males into a frenzy, which can be traumatic for your pooch. In general, it's best to have your dog spayed or neutered.

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    Your Comments

    • Tweety

      I really enjoyed (not) the day that a couple brought their dog and a three year old and a toddler in a stroller into the dog park with a blanket and food and then told us to keep our dogs under control because they were bothering them and scaring the children.  They were informed as to the purpose of a “DOG PARK” and it was “suggested” that one of the parents take the children to the playground area while the other supervise the dog at the “DOG PARK.”  The rest of us couldn’t believe it!

    • Tweety

      I really enjoyed (not) the day that a couple brought their dog and a three year old and a toddler in a stroller into the dog park with a blanket and food and then told us to keep our dogs under control because they were bothering them and scaring the children.  They were informed as to the purpose of a “DOG PARK” and it was “suggested” that one of the parents take the children to the playground area while the other supervise the dog at the “DOG PARK.”  The rest of us couldn’t believe it!

    • Tweetykim_57

      We have a wonderful dog park not far from home and my Sheltie loves going.  My advice is be aware from the time you get there of the behaviors of other dogs as well as your own.  Often you can avert a problem by stepping in and redirecting the dogs.  Also it isn’t always the unaltered that mount.  One day three altered dogs in a row (not mine thank goodness)  were going at it for quite a while.  At first we owners were giggling at the “menage a tois” but after several minutes it just got tacky and the owners finally broke them up.

    • shric

      Also. . . monitor your dog’s level of aggression.  If she is playing with another dog and always dominating, have her take a break.  When two dogs are playing, they should take turns “winning” (being on top in a tussle.)  It should be about equal, one dog shouldn’t dominate more than the other.

      And, if your dog gets in a fight – take her HOME.  Once she is riled up, it is likely to happen again and again.

      I like to keep a spray bottle with water with me – works great when I need to break up a disagreement.

    • muthabear

      I think that while some of these tips should just be common sense, I found others to be very helpful.  I love #5 as we have seen this happen numerous times and can never understand what goes through the minds of the offenders.

    • Guest

      nothing new or surprising here, all common sense