However, a common misconception is that the dog park is a lawless land for animals to roam free without rules. Listed here are a number of behavior and etiquette tips that should be followed.
Be Mindful of Entrances and Exits
A well-maintained dog park should have a double-gate that prevents dogs from escaping when the gate is opened. When bringing your dog into the park, always make sure you are not letting someone else’s dog out when you arrive. If you are on the inside, keep dogs from congregating in front of the gate, as this situation can create tension, stress, and fights when new animals are introduced immediately into an established pack.
Allow Your Pet to be Off-LeashA common mistake that dog owners make is to not allow their dog to be off-leash as soon as they enter the dog park. Having pets in two different states, i.e. one leashed and one unleashed, can create frustrations for the leashed pet, causing him or her to react aggressively. As soon as you enter the dog park and it is safe to do so, remove your dog’s leash.
Do Not Bring Treats / ToysMany dogfight parks occur due to the guarding of prized items. Even if your dog shares nicely, there is no guarantee that the other animals will follow suit. It is best to leave behind favorite treats or toys in order to avoid potentially dangerous situations that arise due to resource guarding.
Watch and Follow your DogRegardless of how friendly and well-behaved your dog is, it is imperative that you keep an eye on your pet at all times. Follow the pack and be within a few strides from your dog should an incident occur and you need to remove your pet from a dangerous situation.
Understand Canine Body Language
Perhaps the most important rule of the dog park is to understand canine body language when keeping an eye on your (and other) dog(s). Play bows, wagging tails, and relaxed stances are all appropriate. However, tucked tails, curled lips, growling, “whale eyes,” raised hackles, and stiff stances are all indications that tensions are rising. When you observe such behavior, remove your dog from the situation immediately. Ultimately, dog parks can be a positive experience for many pets and their owners when these simple rules and etiquette tips are followed!
If you like this article you might like also our article about Top dog parks in San Francisco and Bay Area: Part 1 or Top dog parks in San Francisco and Bay Area: Part 2. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to receive the rest of this series directly in your inbox!
Please note: all dogs should be treated as individuals. The Actijoy blog is for educational and entertainment purposes only. In case of emergency, always seek qualified health care from a local veterinarian or emergency facility. Actijoy blogs are not designed to treat, diagnose, or prescribe medication for your pet.