Dog Park Etiquette- One must be polite when sniffing others bottoms!
Anyone who visits a dog park often knows well enough that it is frequented by large, medium and small dogs with a range of personalities, different behaviours, and different levels of training and obedience. It is a great opportunity for your dog to learn and maintain social skills, and exhaust themselves physically and mentally doing what dogs love to do, run, sniff and play!
What are the issues?
Stealing – if you know your dog is a bit of toy thief, it is important that he knows a ‘come when called’ and a ‘release’ command. This ensures you can return the toy to the rightful owner. If your dog likes to play with toys in the park, bring one along and play interactively with him.
Mobbing & Mounting – don’t allow your dog or other dogs to run flat out at him. This can cause anxiety for your pet, and is not a very nice way to greet one another in the dog world.
Rough Play – it’s all fun and games until a large dog steps on the little dog, and the rough housing gets a little too serious. If you see your dog becoming overly rough, or being at risk of being injured, call your pet over to you and play with them appropriately.
Climbing – jumping on people is simply bad manners, you wouldn’t do it when you met someone, and neither should your dog.
Space Bubble – be aware the dog park is a shared space, allow yourself and others a respectable amount of room to play. Not all dogs like to play together, some simply prefer to play with their human.
Ignoring – this one is for you, don’t ignore your dog in the park, a lot of the issues surrounding other people and other dogs is that they are getting into mischief and no one is there to control the situation. Put your smart phone away…
What can you do?
Engage – have your dog focus on you and the game you are playing with her.
Train – having your pooch come when they are called, and listen to commands.
Share – let him know it is fun to play alone with you and toys, as well as with other dogs.
Be Aware – supervise your dogs play to keep the situation safe. You want both dogs to be happy, relaxed and having fun.
Scoop The Poop – have you seen that person suddenly interested at what’s happening across the street and letting his dog poop in the middle of the playing field? Don’t be that guy…nobody likes that guy… Pick it up, it is simple and will score you points in the doggie club!
Desex – when your pet is neutered it dramatically lowers the risk of unwanted sexual behaviour and dominate behaviours.
De-Zoom – before bringing your dog to the park, exercise your dog. It may sound counterintuitive but what you are helping to do is remove some of the pent up energy she holds, avoiding over exuberant behaviour at the dog park which can result in fights. Get all the zoomies out before the park!
- Make sure your pets vaccinations are up to date.
- Don’t bring your dog to park if she is under 4 months of age
- If your dog is on heat, pregnant or is an unneutered male, avoid the park
- Watch your dogs body language, she will tell you how comfortable she is around the other dogs
- Remember not all dogs enjoy a lot of interaction with groups of dogs. Some dogs are aggressive towards certain types of dogs, and others are highly anxious or simply tolerate other dogs in their space. If this is the case the dog park may not be the right place for your dog to play.
- If your dog is not responsive to return call commands, keep her on the leash.
- Bring a leash and water bowl, poo bags, toys and treats.
- The dog park is a supplementation to your dogs regular exercise.
- Above all, have fun!