Dog parks are becoming an increasingly popular amenity for communities that allow pets. If you are fortunate to live in a community with a designated dog park, it is important to understand that keeping it clean, orderly and well maintained is a responsibility held by everyone in the community.
Every park has its own rules regarding conduct and use, and these should be prominently displayed at the entrance. As a supplement, here is a quick etiquette guide to ensure that everyone has fun and stays safe.
Healthy pets only
Anyone planning to make use of the community dog park should make sure their pet is healthy and up to date on all of his or her vaccinations beforehand. Dogs being the social animals they are – sniffing, licking, sharing toys and water – means bacteria and germs can spread around a dog park easily.
If your pet is sick, be considerate of your neighbors and skip the park.
Scoop the poop
Pet waste pickup is a basic and non-negotiable aspect of pet ownership. When it comes to pets doing their “business” in the community dog park, it is your responsibility to scoop and dispose of it.
Unbeknownst to many, dog waste is more than just a gross and unsightly mess. When pets become sick, pathogens are often times passed through their poop and can easily be picked up by other dogs upon contact. The longer infected dog waste stays on the ground, the greater a contamination becomes, and when this waste is not picked up, pets have a high risk of catching the infection over and over again.
Play well with others
Let’s face it: Dogs will be dogs, and sometimes that means occasional displays of dominance and aggression. Nevertheless, a bustling dog park is no place for an aggressive dog.
If your pet does not play well with others, show your neighbors courtesy and avoid using the park at peak hours. Remember: Owners are legally responsible for their dogs and any injuries caused by them.
Keep an eye on your dog
Off-leash play time is the entire purpose of a community dog park, but keep in mind that “off leash” does not mean “unattended.” While it’s perfectly fine to allow your pet free roam to run around with other dogs, it is important that you are present and keeping a watchful eye on them.
Keep your leash handy so you can regain control over your dog if it becomes necessary. Aggressive behavior is natural in dogs and can be triggered in ways that are entirely unnoticeable by us humans.
Have fun and be social
Spending time at the dog park is a great way to meet new friends, both human and canine. When everyone follows the rules and shows proper park etiquette, dogs and their owners can enjoy running, playing, socializing and having fun.