Dog parks are a wonderful outlet for many dogs all over the world. They provide a place where pups can not only play, run, and get exercise, but also use as a social learning environment. Most dog owners can agree that what they have to offer is invaluable.
Once you arrive at a park with your dog, it may be really tempting to just unleash your dog (if allowed) and stand back to watch all the activity. Although there are no official rules to dog parks and each location may have different restrictions, there are some general rules-of-paw each dog owner should keep in mind when visiting.
Don’t leave your dog unattended.
No matter how well behaved your dog is, there is a chance they could be bothering someone else. Keep an eye on who your dog is interacting with and make sure they aren’t interfering with someone else’s fun. Be responsible for your dog’s behavior. If your dog digs a big hole it is best practice to fill it back in before you leave.
Only bring healthy and immunized dogs.
Diseases can be easily spread among non-vaccinated dogs and many can be fatal. Many parks require your dog to be older than 4 months where the full range of puppy vaccines has been given. Puppies without these vaccines will not be able to safely play with other dogs. If your dog is sick with any sort of health problems, such as kennel cough or even fleas, please stay at home! It may sound like common sense, but many dog owners don’t think about possibility of the issue spreading.
Clean up after your dog.
Picking up any messes your dog makes is common courtesy to your fellow dog parkers. It can not only prevent the spread of some diseases but also saves you money! Many cities have fines in place for not picking up after your dog. Additionally, this behavior can result in being banned from the park. Most dog parks keep a stock of plastic bags and scoopers so feel free to use them!
Spayed/neutered dogs are preferred.
We don’t want to constantly worry about accidents happening while our dogs are off leash. It’s not only best practice to have your dog spayed or neutered, but it will also ease the minds of other dog owners joining you in the park. Have a female dog in heat? We strongly urge you to stay home. Even if your dog is fixed, we have been told by fans on twitter that any naughty behavior should be dealt with immediately. Don’t assume other dogs or dog owners are okay with these behaviors even if you see no harm in it.
Don’t bring small children or other types of animals.
For the safety of everyone, it’s best not to bring young children and other kinds of animals (non-dogs) to dog parks (especially off-leash!) Be responsible and keep small children in the park areas designated for them.
Don’t smoke or eat while visiting a dog park.
Cigarette butts and food wrappers are not something you want on the ground any your dog to find. You also may find yourself surrounded by a pack of hungry dogs!
As always, follow the posted rules for each dog park you visit. When everyone follows the rules, dog parks are a great place for getting our pets the exercise they need. Make sure you and your dog are always on your best behavior and it will help keep dog parks open and available for everyone to enjoy. Disobeying rules can lead to local parks being shut down, or worse, cause serious accidents that could have easily been prevented.
What is your favorite thing to do at the dog park? Share tips and/or your biggest pet peeves in the comments below!