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How to Behave at the Dog Park

If you have an active, social dog, you probably bring her (or should bring her) to the local dog park.  Here’s what you need to know before showing up.

  1. Leash Your Dog – Your pup is expected to stay fully leashed until you are in fact INSIDE the dog park.  A lot of times there is a small fenced in enter/exit area where you can unleash your dog, then fully enter the dog park area.  Make sure you keep her leashed until you’re in there or you could get in some trouble with the frequent patrons of the park.  Also, it’s sort of dangerous because no matter how well behaved our dogs are, they seem to forget the rules when they see their best friend or mortal enemy peeing on their favorite tree in the park.
  2. ACTUALLY UNLEASH your dog before entering the main fenced area.  I guarantee your dog will get choked or start pulling when a crowd of dogs is sniffing and nipping at them. I can recount many times a poor pup was bombarded by new friends and couldn’t move cause their mum thought they’d be safer tied to her hip.  So sad.
  3. Pick Up Poop – This is a basic rule that’s pretty easy to follow at a quality facility.  We don’t want to step in poop in the park or worse, our pups step in poop and track it through the house, in the car, and forever in our memory.  Just scoop it up with the handy poop bags that should be posted around.  If you can’t find those, get your own.  They’re really convenient when your dog decides to go in an inconvenient spot. (Like the sidewalk in front of the pet store…)
  4. Don’t Bring a Female Dog in Heat or an Aggressive Dog – This one sucks just because there’s no real way around it.  Your female dog, if she’s not fixed, goes into heat probably about every 6 months, or twice a year.  You probably already know when she’s in heat because she’s had a “period,” then pees on almost everything, and gets really moody.  She’s going to want to get pregnant at the park, so just avoid all that.  Also, if your dog is aggressive, you will want to leave them at home.  I mean, it’s already embarrassing for owners of other dogs to complain, but imagine of your pup actually hurt someone else’s pup.  That’s got to suck.
  5. Make Sure Your Dog is Up To Date On Shots – There’s no way for anyone to tell if your dog is literally in good health, but you should do this to keep all the dogs safe at the park.  You don’t want your dog catching Kennel Cough or Parvo from a sick dog at the park, and vice versa.  Keep ’em clean.


Those are my top rules of the dog park.  Anything else you’re worried about is probably listed on the dog park rules as you come in, so skim those so no one gets antsy.

I’ll also mention that no matter how weird your dog acts in the dog park, it’s all part of the socialization process.  There are inevitable situations you’ll come across at the dog park even if your pup is on her best behavior. I’ve written a post on how I handle other dogs and owners mishaps, so click here.

What are some unbreakable rules you follow at your local dog park?  Tell me in the comments below.

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  1. Pingback: Dog Park Situations – Whitney's Week

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