Dog owners are usually a very social bunch of people and enjoy the often, daily trip to the dog park. This can be a wonderful catch up with like-minded people as well as a terrific social outing for your dog.
However, please remember, that your dog is YOUR responsibility the entire time that you are at the park.
To keep your doggy friends and to continue to use the facilities provided there are some "unwritten" (until now!) laws of etiquette that we all should follow.
1. Upon arrival – do keep your dog on a lead, so that your dog moves quietly into the territory that has already been claimed by early arrivals to the park. Don't just open the car door when you arrive at
the park and let your dog rush up to other dogs. Many dog fights are initiated due to this thoughtlessness.
2. Pick up ALL your dog POOP! If you make a habit of keeping your dog on a lead until they have toileted, your dog will often be quicker in relieving himself, as he is released to play when he is done. Just because he has pooped once does not mean he is finished and a
a careful eye must be kept on your dog at all times.
- just because he has pooped in long grass does not mean you don't pick it up!
3. Constantly keep your eye on your dog. – remember, while you are in the park YOU are responsible for your dog.
- watch carefully as your dog socializes with other dogs and people. Also, watch other dogs' body language.
It is NOT okay for your dog to chase another dog when in fact that dog is not playing but it is frightened.
It is NOT okay for your dog to rush up and greet people by jumping on them or barking.
It is NOT okay for your dog to rush up to someone who is walking their dog on a lead. This person may have this dog on lead because it has an injury, be aggressive or frightened. This person is being responsible and so should you.
4. Just because you are in a dog park it is NOT OKAY for your dog to PEE wherever it wants to. People bring chairs, prams, rugs, Eskys, and other things to the park and YOU should have control to not allow your dog to PEE on people's property. Some dogs even pee on people, so watch your dog!!!
5. Don't allow your dog to steal other dog's toys. Other owners come down to play with THEIR dogs – so play with YOUR dog with YOUR toys.
6. Even though you like to catch up with other owners, don't stand and talk to them and neglect your dog. All of you can get some exercise by walking around and please change direction occasionally !!!
- many dog fights break out because owners are chatting and the dogs become territorial over toys or their owners. This can build over time, so breaking the location of your group and continually moving
can prevent this from happening.
7. Build a relationship with your dog whilst you are in the park. Do some obedience training, train and practice some tricks and play games with your dog. This is quality time and you'll both benefit.
8. Unless invited, don't allow your dog to become the "fielder" for the family that is playing cricket. It can disrupt a great game if they have to stop for ten minutes every time they have to retrieve the ball from your dog.
9. Don't allow your dog out of "control distance." Having your dog off lead does not mean that your dog is not under your control. You should be able to call your dog at any given moment. Take your treats and practice many, many recalls and reward the dog for coming.
10. Keep your young dog or puppy on a lead or on a long line until your dog knows the dogs that he is going to mix with. Many older dogs do not like young dogs and puppies and you don't want their first meetings to be negative ones.
YES, you are in a dog park but please remember your etiquette !!!!
By Gina O'Keefe