Off-leash dog parks are both a blessing and a curse. Between the hordes of strange dogs milling about and their inevitably clueless humans, the potential for disaster is high.
Many die-hard dog families eschew dog parks because they’re tired of dealing with unpleasant situations, like toddlers running around with ice cream on their hands, dog-reactive dogs and cell phone babblers who never seem to notice that their dogs have just pooped right next to them.
Visiting the park would be a lot more pleasant if people followed a few basic rules of etiquette.
1. Don’t Bring Your Dog-Reactive Dog
If your dogs don’t get along with other dogs, don’t bring them to the park, where they can harass other dogs. If your normally polite pet begins acting up, leave the park immediately.
2. Leave the Kiddos at Home
Regular parks are for kids, and dog parks are for dogs. When you mix the two, bad things can happen.
Not only will your baby stroller make a lovely target for every mutt in the park to pee on, but also toddlers can easily be knocked over or inadvertently hurt by boisterous dogs getting their play on.
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3. Pick Up Your Pet’s Poop
The signs are there for a reason: A park full of poop is no fun for anyone.
When you’re scooping up your own dog’s poop, quickly scan the area and pick up any other unclaimed feces you see. Not everyone is as polite as you.
4. In-Season Dogs Are Not Welcome
Under no circumstances should you bring a dog in heat to the park.
Although most pets in the park are spayed or neutered, there will always be at least 1 dog who isn’t. Dogs in heat encourage too much unwanted attention, and if you don’t think your sweet girl can get knocked up at the park, think again.
Watch this GoPro video that captures a fun day at the park:
5. Keep Your Advice to Yourself
Unless someone specifically asks your opinion on a pets-related matter, don’t offer one. Some people think that it’s perfectly OK to critique other people’s dog parenting. It’s not.
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6. Monitor Your Pet’s Behavior
Your dog might love to play rough, but not everyone’s dog will feel the same.
If your dog is harassing, frightening or humping another pup, take yours to another area of the park or go home. Make sure he isn’t jumping on people either or otherwise being rude.
7. Use Common Sense
- Don’t bring your pet to the park if he’s sick, not vaccinated or less than 4 months old, and use flea control during summer months.
- Don’t leave your dogs in the park unattended with the assumption that other people will babysit them.
- Don’t keep your dogs on leashes while you’re in an off-leash park, as other visitors might have leash-reactive dogs.
- Don’t take your rambunctious large-breed puppy to the small dogs section of the park.
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The Pet Corrector
If you are being jumped on or see that a fight is breaking out between dogs, carry The Pet Corrector to ward off any unwanted dogs or to stop a fight.
This little can of compressed air makes a noise that will startle dogs and interrupt any inappropriate behavior.
If someone is angry at you for using this, you can say that you felt that you or your dog was in danger and something needed to happen.