Dog Park Etiquette

Dog parks can be fantastic places to supplement your dog’s daily exercise routine, as long as you are sensible and careful about when you go and who you let your dog interact with. Here are a few tips to make your walks as enjoyable and safe as possible:

  1. Try to find one in a quiet area, or go at unpopular times of day. With lots of dogs that don’t know each other in the same small place, the possibility of disagreements can be quite high.
  2. Let your dog off the lead to interact with the other dogs. Statistically the most fights happen when one dog is on a lead and the other is off; this is because the one on lead can feel trapped, or are unable to perform their normal appeasing behaviours that would calm the situation.
  3. Keep yourself moving. If you stand in one place to let them play with another dog for too long, the likelihood of one misunderstanding the others intentions can rise. Let them greet politely and maybe have a brief play, and then it’s time to move on.
  4. Take toys and balls, but make sure your dog doesn’t guard them. Although it’s good to interact with yours and the other dogs, and have yourself as involved in their play as possible, keep an eye out for possessiveness and jealousy and reward polite games.
  5. Exercise your dog before you take them to the park. As counter intuitive as this sounds, a lot of problems arise when a highly energetic dog that has been pent up in the house all day is let out of the car to hurtle into a big group of dogs.
  6. Practise your recall at home. Calling your dog to you at the dog park is one of the hardest things to do, since you are asking them to come away from a highly rewarding and stimulating environment. Remember to call them to you throughout the walk, reward them, and then let them go again to play, otherwise they will begin to associate coming when called with going home.
  7. Teach your dog polite doggy manners. Running straight up to another dog and expecting them to play, as well as pushing into their personal space, is fairly rude and a lot of other dogs won’t appreciate it. If you see your dog pestering another that is clearly uncomfortable, call them away to find someone else.
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