Even with the spacious floor plans in our luxurious, pet-friendly apartments, your dog needs to get out to exercise and socialize. Dog parks are a great place to do just this—as long as you and your mutt mind your manners. Dog park etiquette requires more than just bringing doggie bags to pick up after your pooch. Take these dos and don’ts to heart to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for everyone there.
DO exercise your dog before entering the park.
You might think this is counterintuitive—the purpose of the park is to get exercise, right? Yes and no. It should be a supplement to your dog’s daily exercise, not the primary workout. Bringing a dog with pent up energy into such a stimulating environment typically ends badly. Your dog will behave better after a brisk walk. Change up the route you take each time to exercise your four-legged friend both mentally and physically.
DON’T wait until you are inside the play area to take off the leash.
Most dog parks have a double gate for entry. Close the first gate, unleash your dog, then open the second gate to enter. If you keep him on a leash where others are unleashed, he will feel vulnerable and could become aggressive.
DON’T discipline someone else’s dog.
Some dogs play rougher than others. They growl, tackle and chase other dogs. This does not necessarily mean they are misbehaving. Responsible pet owners know their dog’s style of play and know when to draw the line. That being said, if you see a dog being overly aggressive to a human—especially a child—you should intervene if the owner is not paying attention.
DO keep a close watch on your dog.
Your primary responsibility is to supervise your canine companion while in the play area. It’s OK to talk to other pet owners, but you still need to keep an eye on your pet. Similarly, keep your cell phone in your pocket to avoid distractions. You can wait to post that picture you snapped of your border collie making an amazing Frisbee catch. Dogs are smart. They know when you are disengaged and often take advantage of the opportunity to break the rules.