The Unspoken Rules of the Dog Park

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Keep Playtime Fun By Following These Dog Park Etiquette Tips
The Unspoken Rules of the Dog Park

Going to the dog park is a fun way to let your pooch burn off some excess energy, but you need to approach it carefully to make sure the experience is good for everyone. Here are some things to consider before you take your four-legged friend to the park.


Only take suitable dogs.

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Not all dogs are cut out for the park. Puppies younger than four months old should never go, and puppies under a year should generally stay away because they can irritate older dogs. If your dog is unfriendly or afraid of other dogs, find a safer way to socialize him. Intact or unvaccinated dogs should also stay at home.


Avoid bringing high-value objects or food.

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Leave the special treats and favorite toys at home to prevent your dog from starting fights in an effort to protect her things. Leave your own snacks at home too!


Pay attention to your pup.

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Even fun and games can turn heated very quickly. Keep an eye on your pooch and be ready to step in if there is bullying or escalation happening. A momentary cool-down period is usually enough to let dogs settle and get back to playing.


Clean up after your own dog.

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Nothing is worse than stepping in dog poop while you’re trying to watch your pet play. It also can spread life-threatening diseases, such as parvo. Always scoop that poop as promptly as possible.


Get a feel for the park before you enter.

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Watch the other dogs playing for a few minutes before you join them. This gives you a chance to see if there are any troublemakers or other potentially dangerous situations happening. Consider walking your own dog around the park as you do this so you can let him burn off some energy.


Read and follow the rules.

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Make sure you understand the policies and follow them. Size restrictions are particularly important as small dogs can easily be hurt by larger ones, and many parks have designated small dog areas.


Consider leaving your kids at home.

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Your human kids, that is! Small children can be in danger at the dog park, particularly during busy times when rambunctious pups may accidentally knock them down. If you do bring them, try to avoid peak times and make sure they greet dogs safely.


Keep your dog hydrated.

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This is particularly important during hot summer months when dogs can easily overheat. Even if your park typically provides water, always have a back-up bottle and collapsible bowl handy.


Don’t bring untrained dogs.

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Your dog may forget her manners during exciting times, but make sure she at least has a basic understanding. Recall is particularly important so you can call her away from potentially risky situations. Watch some shelter dogs learn to sit by playing catch to get inspired.

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