Dog Park Etiquette Refresher

April 08, 2019

For many dog owners, warmer weather means more time at the dog park allowing our pups to socialize and enjoy some off-leash freedom. A visit to the dog park might part of your daily routine in the spring and summer months - but there are a few unspoken rules that owners should all be aware of. Some of these tips may seem like common sense, but if you’re a dog park regular you know sometimes a refresher is warranted!

- First and foremost, always clean up after your pup. That may seem like a no-brainer but there’s nothing worse than you or your dog stepping - or worse, rolling - in someone else’s mess. We’re all in this together so if your pooch poops, you’ve got to scoop!

- Which leads to the next point, always be attentive. Whether that means cleaning up after your dog or simply keeping tabs on their play habits, we’re all responsible for our own pets at the dog park. Now, that doesn’t mean no socializing - but you should know where your pup is and what they’re up to at all times.

- A tricky and sometimes contentious issue is knowing when to intervene at the park. Knowing when to let the dogs work it out and when to intervene can vary depending on the dogs and their individual comfort levels and behaviour. Breed, disposition, and even hunger can affect our pets’ mood and their reaction to other animals. Dogs are great communicators and generally let each other know where they stand, but sometimes human intervention is required to keep the peace and ensure everyone stays safe.

- Last but not least, know your pup! If they’re acting afraid, overwhelmed, or panicked it’s time to go. Besides, for most dogs a crowded dog park and off leash socialization take some getting used to. Knowing your pet’s body language and comfort level will allow you to calmly remove them from any situation that could become traumatic.

For more helpful dog park tips, check out this blog post which includes some handy visuals or this great article from our friends at the Ontario SPCA.

And don’t forget, if you have questions about your pets’ behaviour, readiness for socialization, or if you just need some expert advice, the vets at Healthy Pets are just a text or video call away!