Dog Park Etiquette
I think it’s safe to say that when it comes to dog park issues, it’s the pet people—rather than the pets themselves—that are the perpetrators.
The building I live in shares a dog park with two other buildings, and my boyfriend and I take our 10-month-old puppy Reggie down there about 3-4 times a day (that’s her in the photo, with her bulldog friend).
The dog park is a wonderful place—Reggie loves running around with the other dogs, and we’ve made a lot of good friends there. We’ve also, unfortunately, stepped in our fair share of un-picked-up poop, and grabbed dogs running into the street while their human chaperones talk on cellphones 200 feet away.
Simply put, it’s very easy for a few negligent people to make the entire park a less-than-delightful experience.
Here’s how you can do your part to keep the dog park a happy, fun place:
- Pick up your dogs poop. Most—if not all—dog parks provide poop-bags and trashcans. So this should be easy, right? As annoying as it is to step in your own dog’s poop, it’s extra annoying to step in somebody else’s dog’s poop.
- Pay attention to your dog. Your dog’s safety and well-being are your responsibility. Of course, in a park full of dog lovers, nobody who’s being observant is going to let your pup run willy-nilly into the street. But, it’s nobody else’s job to make sure your dog isn’t eating something bad or acting aggressively.
- Be friendly. This doesn’t mean you have to sit down and have a conversation with every other person there, but there’s no harm in politely responding when someone smiles or says hello (I’m talking to you, lady downstairs with the Schnauzer).
- Pick up on social cues. Sometimes people are tired or annoyed with their day and just want to play outside with their dog and relax. Just as in all other social situations, if you’re trying to talk to somebody and they are answering tersely or slowly walking in another direction (a personal go-to for me), it’s probably best to just let them be. Don’t take it personally; just recognize that even the friendliest people sometimes need quiet time.
- If you know your dog is aggressive, keep them on a leash. There’s one dog at the dog park I go to that as soon as it walks onto the field all the other dogs run to their people with their tails between their legs. Now, obviously he has just as much of a right to be there. However, if there are other dogs around, it’s only proper that that he should remain on his leash so he doesn’t go around barking at and jumping on the other pups.
What are your rules for dog park etiquette?
Tagged Dog Park, Etiquette