Dog Park Etiquette

Dog parks can be loads of fun and a great way for your dog to get some exercise and socializing, but in order to make sure they are fun for everyone it is important to keep a few ground rules in mind. Don’t worry these aren’t anything outlandish, these are just some guiding principles to make sure that every pet and pet owner that goes to the dog park can have a good time. 

  1. Pick up after your pet. If your dog does their business, be prepared to scoop, bag, and dispose of their waste properly. Leaving messes isn't just unclassy and rude, but it's also unsanitary.

  2. Make sure to always have a collar on your dog. Hill’s Pet Nutrition says, “While it is recommended to keep a collar on your dog at all times anyways and dog parks are enclosed areas, there is still the chance of your dog racing for the exit. You can help keep him safe by being sure he always has his collar with up-to-date tags on.” 

  3. Make sure they are vaccinated. All dogs visiting the dog park must be up to date on vaccinations. If you are not sure you can always call your vet, better safe than sorry! 

  4. Keep your leash on you. Even if it’s technically an off-leash park, you want to keep your dog's leash with you at all times. This is because you may be forced to quickly remove your dog from an unsafe or aggressive dog visiting the park. It is always better to be prepared 

  5. While you can definitely bring your own dog toys such as tennis balls or Frisbees®, you want to make sure that no other dogs will be competing for them. Similar to toddlers, untrained dogs can throw a bit of a fit if another dog tries to play with their favorite toy.

  6. Be mindful of the weather! Just like humans, dogs are sensitive to extreme weather. If it’s super hot or super cold it might be better to stay home for the day. 

  7. No small kids. Infants and toddlers can be easily knocked over by overly (or even not so overly) rambunctious dogs. Many dogs are not accustomed to children, so they may not know how to act. Also, as parents or guardians you don’t want to put your kid(s) at risk for bad experiences/memories or injuries that leave the pets parent responsible.

  8. Don't bring food into the park. Leave your picnic lunch outside the gates. Other dogs may not be well trained around people enjoying a meal, and can potentially act aggressively toward you if they smell  the food you're eating. Additionally, Hill’s Pet Nutrition says, “If your dog does his business or performs a command and usually gets a treat for it, be sure to give him verbal praise and a good pet to reassure him that he still did a good job to reinforce the good behavior. Dog treats aren't the only special reward dogs are seeking from their pet parents.”

Works Cited

“Dog Park Etiquette: Things to Keep in Mind: Hill's Pet.” Hill's Pet Nutrition,

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