Dog Park Rules To Follow

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Dog parks are lovely places for not just your dogs to hang out but also for their humans too. In a dog park ” A dog loves to do 2 things: chase & be chased”. Your Bruno can live the dream and for us humans there is nothing quite like the sight of happy dogs running around.

But dog parks can also be a nightmare. In the decade I have been visiting such places, I’ve run into a few parks that our city has to offer which lack the basic necessities like water bowls and a garbage bin for the poop bags. Or, for that matter, poop bags themselves. (Not all dog humans can be relied upon to bring their own.) I have also witnessed some serious confrontations, both physical and verbal. And it’s not always the dogs doing the fighting.

So what is a well behaved human to do?. Follow these simple Dog Park Pawlitics

So how do you ensure a good dog park experience?

1. Make sure your dog has all her shots and parasite control treatments:

 before bringing her to a dog park.

2. Pick up her poop:

Always, no excuses. Don’t have a bag? Borrow one. Can’t borrow one? Go find a bit of discarded newspaper to pick it up with. Do not, under any circumstances, leave her poop in the park.

3. Ensure your dog is not in heat: Parks are for playing, not fornicating.

4. Don’t bring your dog to the dog park if your dog isn’t good in the dog park:

 No two dogs have the same personality. “One might be exuberant and confident while another might be timid and shy. You have to be very well acquainted with your dog’s individual way of approaching social interactions in order to help him and others have a positive experience.”

In truth, not every dog should go to the dog park. A dog who is exceedingly sensitive and/or submissive, or a dog whose alpha manners are likely to earn him a few well-deserved growls and snaps in a pack situation, are better off socializing at home, with carefully chosen, compatible canine pals. That can be hard news for some dog owners. But it’s not about you.

The Off Leash Dog Park Rules

“It’s about the dog,” i say. “If you can be honest about your dog and his individual quirks, then you can avoid bad situations.”

5. Know your dog park — and don’t bring your dog if this isn’t her kind of park: 

Just like the dogs themselves, dog parks are unique. Some are just wide, open spaces that have evolved into casual off-leash areas over time. Others are intentionally built — even staffed! — parks with specific rules, regulations, and hours. No matter what kind of park appeals to you, make sure you understand its culture and observe its rules — both written and unwritten. Be aware of where you’re going — and think through whether it’s a good fit for your dog.

6. Pay attention!:

 A dog park is not a relaxing place for a responsible dog owner. Given the complex mix of dog personalities and interactions, you must be absolutely attentive to your dog as she makes her way around the park. Always remember the basic pack nature of dogs; their inherent drive to establish dominance, and the possibility of clashes, even between the “nicest” of dogs.

If you get distracted by your Phone, or caught up chatting with others at the park, your amiable Golden Retriever might just decide she doesn’t like a certain St Bernard and take a lunge at him. “As a responsible dog parent, you need to be ready to step in and assert your authority whenever there is anxiety or tension.”

So pocket the phone, keep an eye on your dog, and — although it’s an off-leash park — keep a leash handy.

7. Be in command: 

You must always — always — be in control of your dog. People who bring their pooches to dog parks should certainly have their canines under strong voice command. This can be achieved through proper socialization and good training.

I like to train using praise and treats as a reward. But do this work at home. Don’t bring treats or chews of any kind to the dog park, though, since dogs are hard-wired to compete for food resources which could lead to fights, and many pet parents won’t appreciate you offering snacks to their dogs.

And always have a leash on hand. If a situation seems to be developing between two dogs or a group of dogs, you want to be able to loop a leash over your dog’s head, pull her away from any potential conflicts, and take her to a place of safety.

8. Always be ready to go: 

If you sense that a situation involving your dog might lead into something injurious, just leave. If something’s not working for you or your dog, get out of there.

9. Don’t fight with other dog parents:

No matter what happens between the dogs, let’s we humans keep our cool, shall we? Common courtesy goes a long way.

10. Aggressive dogs:

Aggressive dogs should not be allowed in the park. Any dog who engages in fighting and aggressive behavior who cannot be easily controlled by their owner should not participate in dog park activities.

11. Puppy socialization:

Your puppy is not ready for the park — or any high-traffic areas — until he is at least 12 to 16 weeks of age and has had all his vaccinations. Consult your veterinarian to see when the time is right for your puppy.

 12. Don’t take your dog’s valuables to the park:

A dog that guards and become aggressive with certain items — including specific foods or toys — can pose a risk to himself and others if he feels like his belongings are threatened. Leave your dog’s favorite things at home and keep in mind that a dog that exhibits guarding tendencies may not be able to handle a dog park where toys like tennis balls or Frisbee’s are allowed.

13. Don’t bring a hyper, under-exercised dog to the park:

A wound-up canine’s overzealous interactions can cause other dogs to feel threatened. If you have an excitable dog, take him for a long walk or jog or play fetch in the yard before you head to the dog park — whatever it takes to burn some energy and get him ready to play nicely with his friends.

14. Don’t allow your dog to hump or mount other dogs:

Humping can be part of normal play, but not all dogs, or their humans, react nicely to it and aggressive responses may occur — from the dog and his human. Instead, redirect your dog or remove him from the park if his humping becomes excessive.

15. Don’t get in the middle of a dog fight:

This is a good way to get bitten — in an aroused state, your dog (or someone else’s) may unintentionally injure you. The dog may also see you as a threat and redirect his aggression toward you. Instead of jumping in between two fighting dogs, use other tactics for breaking up a dog fight.

16. Collar with ID Tags: 

Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with ID tag at all times.

17.Don’t take young children, toddlers or babies to the dog park:

Their small size and lack of experience with dogs can create a dangerous situation for the child and the dog. An overexcited dog may unintentionally knock over or injure a child while greeting or playing. A dog who is afraid of children may react aggressively to a child’s attempt to make friends. In rare cases, a dog may view a child as prey. Regardless of the situation, the risks to the child can be significant.

18. Fill up holes:

Responsible Dog Owners

As a responsible pet parent you must fill up any holes that your dog digs in the park to avoid inconvenience or injuries to other patrons using the park

62 thoughts on “Dog Park Rules To Follow”

  1. So many considerations! But I understand it’s all for the well being of our pet dogs. You’re lucky if your community actually has a dog park, I’ve never heard of one in our place. I don’t even think dog owners here pick their dog poops after walking them. 🙁 Great tips!

    • We still have a majority chunk of pet parents here in India as well that dont pick up after their dogs. However dog parks we were not so lucky a couple of years ago but now we have some spread out across the city

  2. Love this detailed post! I’m planning to buy a pup soon and of course, I wanna make sure I get to take him (of her) in the proper places. Indeed, these are very helpful tips. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. These are very helpful reminders for dog owners. I really don’t like it when some owners do not take responsibility for their dog’s poop. Even with rules already displayed in public areas, some still violate them. I hope many dog owners follow these.

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog park. Or maybe I have, I just didn’t know what it’s called. We had a dog when we were young. He died when I was 17 and it really broke my heart. Since then, we didn’t have a dog anymore. I’m still not sure if I like to have another one, I don’t want another heart break when the dog dies. 🙁

    • It is true that when they pass away that is the only time they break our hearts but im sure he would love you to have another dog. There are many in shelters waiting for people like you to know what love and care feel like

  5. Great article, everyone who goes to a dog park should read it. There was a great one near where we used to live, but it was the people who ruined it. Some were nice but most acted like they owned the place. I’ll never forget we had just adopted our dog Jack, and we knew nothing about him. One of the things we decided to do was to take him to the dog park, to see how he got on with other dogs. We kept him on a leash for everyone’s safety, and of course dogs are going to run up to say hello, but people actually yelled at us for keeping him on a leash. When we explained the situation (not that we had to), they were still obnoxious. I was really shocked, and never went back. We moved not long after, but even going at different times made little difference.

    • I know what you are saying there is a dearth of pet park etiquette where other pet parents try to dictate terms and conditions trying to be a know it all when you know your dog the best

  6. Excellent post! Definitely one of the most comprehensive lists of dog park do’s & don’ts I’ve seen. I hate dog owners who stand around gabbing & “didn’t see” that their dog took a giant dump! Sharing.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • We didnt have dog parks until a couple of years ago when pet parents took the initiative and appealed for government spaces around their areas

  7. Whoa! that’s a lot of rules. We’ve never had a dog park here in our country before or I haven’t seen one yet. But though these rules may be overwhelming, I think it’s just like bringing a child in the park. You keep your eye on your kid and you wouldn’t want them getting hurt or hurting anyone. If he breaks anything, you shoulder it. If they poop, automatically you’re the one who’s supposed to clean it up.

    • Yes rules are necessary when there are such few parks that allow dogs in restricted timings. So we definitely need to respect the space and other people that use it

  8. I never knew dog parks exist until I read your post. But yes, the rules you mentioned are definitely important. I’m pretty sure the dog owners are all definitely dog lovers and would want to go bring their dogs in a dog park. I have dog lover friends, too. I might opt to share this with them because there might be a dog park just near their places! I’m sure they would love the idea of it.

  9. This is such an important post! We stopped going to dog parks several years ago because I just started feeling like the risks were too great: People would bring intact dogs to the parks despite the signs stating that all dogs needed to be spayed/neutered; too many people were on their phones or ignoring their dogs, as you mentioned; and because it was clear that most people hadn’t taken the time to learn and understand dog body language so there were frequent human arguments over whose dog was out of line etc when an altercation occurred. I think we need to remind ourselves that dogs will be dogs and, as you so beautifully point out, we need to understand our own dog’s limitations. Dog parks are not for all dogs. One of my labs, Simon, is way too overstimulated at a dog park and I now have a pit bull, Piper, and despite the fact that she has been beautifully socialized and loved all other dogs and plays appropriately, I would never take her to a dog park because if there was an altercation she would automatically be blamed even she wasn’t at fault. Too big a risk.

    • thank you Alison for your feed back . I know what you are saying is true because im sure people just love jumping to conclusions because they are prejudiced about a breed and will end up blaming Piper

  10. We NEVER go to the dog park. I’ve tried numerous times and the people are so oblivious to what their dogs are doing and it never fails their dogs end up in a fight. I’m also leary cuz you never know if they are current on their shots. It’s just not worth it to me.

    • I do hope though Rosa gets her time off leash in a secured environment because she doesn’t go to the dog parks. There is pure joy in watching a dog run

  11. Cavalier spotting! Sorry, I couldn’t resisit. Thanks for the thoughtful post. Dog parks are a tricky adventure to navigate. Having some key rules to follow is very helpful.

    • Yes that Cavalier was one of the most decent dogs in that group all he wanted to do was sit and be left alone in peace

  12. Being a responsible, respectful pet owner is so important. That is the only way that dog parks (and other dog friendly areas) can be safe for everyone. Sadly, it is often the owner’s lack of responsible behavior that results in bad reports about dogs (and cats). Thank you for the great post!

    • Yes Robin it is because of irresponsible pet parents very often dogs get banned from community parks as it is not always feasible to get access to dog parks as they may be far from where one stays

  13. Most of these rules are basic courtesies that many unfortunately fail to follow. Another one you should add is to not bring a leashed dog into an off leash dog park…another good way to start a fight! And if there are separate areas for large dogs and small dogs, do not bring your small dog into the big dog area (and vice versa!)

  14. The biggest challenge at the dog park is definitely the humans…. gasbagging not paying attention to their dog, or on their phone & totally in another world. I am quite vigilant with Finn & luckily he hasn’t had any real problems, while having a great time.

  15. Great insights! I adore dogs. But I often find them annoying in public spaces. It’s because lots of dog owners are not very responsible. Sometimes I think they only see dogs as accessories. Hope more people will take dog caring more seriously like you did


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