Dog Park Rules

"... regular social interaction with other dogs can help maintain his sociability and ability to learn new things.

"And, a tired dog is a good dog. So many dog behavior problems are related to under-stimulation" (Walker, Joan Hustace. "Why Off-Leash Play Is Good For Your Dog." Dog Fancy, September 2003, 30).

"Jean Donaldson.. says at a minimum dog park users should pick up dog waste, "have a reasonable recall on [their] dog, and be respectful of people's feelings." If your dog tends to display dog-dog aggression or plays more roughly than other owners like, closely monitor your dog and keep him under control.

"Additional dog-park etiquette rules include:

  • "Unleash your dog. A leashed dog may feel threatened by others moving freely.

  • "Keep moving. If you stand in one place, your dog may be more apt to become territorial.

  • "Never leave your dog unattended, and don't use a dog park as a drop-off daycare...

  • "Make sure your dog has updated vaccinations.

  • "Leave your puppies at home until they're fully vaccinated and physically up to the sometimes rough-and-tumble play. Initial socialization for puppies is often better coming from a puppy training class.

  • "Wait until your female dog is out of season...

  • "Use caution with toys. Some dogs can be very possessive of their toys; others will want to steal everyone else's toys... it's usually a good idea to leave the toys at home...

  • "Be careful with children. Not all dogs do well with children, and many dogs will bowl young kids over. If you take your children with you, supervise them closely.

  • "[Do] not take more dogs with you than you can control; which for most people is a maximum of three [if they are] well-trained, responsive dogs.

  • "Don't let your dog dig in the park. It can cause a hazard to other dogs.

  • "Leave the wildlife alone... for both the wildlife's and your dog's safety.

  • "Relax. The dogs usually figure things out pretty quickly and have a good time. Be watchful and considerate, but stay positive -- your tension communicates itself to your dog" (Walker, Joan Hustace. "Mind Your Dog-Park Manners." Dog Fancy, September 2003, 33).

Colby Glass, MLIS