Dog parks can be an excellent way for you and your pet to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors. It is very important to know some basic facts and rules about dog park etiquette before bringing your dog into the local bark park. Most importantly, it is absolutely essential to be aware of canine body language to ensure the safety and enjoyment of your dog and the dogs around you!
Top 10 Dog Park Manners from the Houston SPCA:
3. Survey the crowd first! Even if the park is usually fine, there might be different dogs that aren’t the best playmates. If it looks like your pup won’t get along with the others, it’s safest to just leave.
4. Only bring your dog in the appropriate designated size areas. Even if your little dog LOVES big dogs, there might be some dogs who think she’s a stuffed toy, so she’s safest in the small dog area.
5. If you see behavior you don’t like from other people’s pets, just leave. It’s not worth arguing with a stranger. If enough people leave, or management is called, then they will eventually get the message.
6. Don’t try to break up a dog fight by yourself. If you can, spray the dogs with water. Never grab a riled up dog by the collar —that’s the fastest way to get bit! Even your own dog can get caught up in the moment and bite you.
8. Children under the age of 16 should ALWAYS be accompanied by an adult, and it is generally frowned upon to bring babies and toddlers into a park full of sharp claws and teeth.
9. Leave food, treats and toys at home. These can cause competition and fights over resources.
10. SCOOP THE POOP! Every single time! Keep a vigilant eye on Fido so you don’t miss a mess!
Exercise and socialization are vital elements of a dog’s life, and dog parks can absolutely offer both of these. However, it shouldn’t be relied on as their only form of stimulation. Be sure to take your dog for long, interesting walks and provide them with appropriate attention and affection. Many dogs enjoy and look forward to their regular trips to the local dog park. Be responsible and observant to ensure that every visit is an enjoyable one!
For more information about the Houston SPCA visit our website: www.HoustonSPCA.org