Dog Park Etiquette: Do’s & Don’ts

Dog parks are an excellent place to get your dog out and about. They are a place for dogs to exercise, socialise with other dogs and enjoy the freedom of being off-leash. Dog parks often get a negative reputation due to incidents that occur as a result of untrained and unpredictable dogs. It’s crucial to remember that the responsibility is always on the owner to make a decision whether your dog will be suitable for this environment. Let’s take a look into the do’s and don’ts of dog park etiquette to foster a positive and harmonious environment for both dogs and their owners.

  • Ensure your dog is healthy and up to date with vaccinations and preventative treatments. Dog parks can be a breeding ground for diseases as dogs are continually sharing water bowls and interacting in close proximity.
  • Always have them properly identified on their collar with accurate and up-to-date contact information indicating their owner.
  • Keep your dog on the leash until designated off-leash areas.
  • Always pick up your dog’s droppings. It may seem like an obvious responsibility, but it cannot be stressed enough. After all, nobody wants to bring home a furry companion only to discover they are covered in unpleasant surprises left behind by their furry friend. So, be considerate, clean up after your dog, and maintain a hygienic environment for everyone involved.
  • Seek permission from other dog’s owners before offering their dog treats. In doing so, you demonstrate mutual respect for both the dogs and their owners. You can never be sure what specific dietary restrictions or intolerances a dog may have. Each dog is unique, and what may be safe and enjoyable for one might pose a risk or discomfort to another. In addition, it’s important to consider that some dogs may be undergoing specific training where rewarding them with treats could inadvertently reinforce undesired behaviours.
  • Maintain constant vigilance over your dog. It’s crucial to always be attentive to what your dog is doing at the dog park. Failing to do so can lead to considerable frustration among other dog owners who may be affected by the havoc caused by an inattentive owner and their dog.
  • Develop a well-established recall command with your dog. This  encourages them to promptly return to your call. It also instills confidence in you, as an an owner to allow them to roam freely at the dog park.
  • Never bring a dog to a dog park that is unsocialised or may have behavioural issues that haven’t been managed. Dog parks are extremely stimulating for dogs, choosing quieter environments to exercise reactive dogs is a safer alternative. Take a look at some of dog-friendly walks that may be a better option: Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra, Adelaide
  • Never bring a puppy to the dog park. Dogs shouldn’t go to dog parks until they have all their vaccinations and are confidently socialised.
  • Don’t bring your dog’s toys to the park as it may trigger fights between dogs. Additionally, there is a chance that the toy may get lost or damaged beyond repair.
  • Never leave children unattended at the dog park. Statistics reveal that the majority of dog bites occur among children under the age of 5. Due to their limited understanding of how to calmly interact with dogs, children may unintentionally provoke or agitate the dogs, potentially leading to negative reactions.

Remember, responsible dog ownership extends beyond the confines of our homes. It is our collective responsibility to promote positive interactions, respect boundaries, and prioritise safety. So, next time you head to the dog park, be mindful of these guidelines and lead by example.

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