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Dog Park Etiquette

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Before you take your dog to a new dog park, visit it yourself alone (without a dog).  Examine for cleanliness, safety (good fences), and adequate supply of fresh water.  Go to the park during the times that you would normally take your dog.  If possible sit down on a bench outside and watch for at least 30 minutes.  Read the rules of the park (usually posted on the fence somewhere).  See if you need to take proof of vaccination or dog licenses with you when you bring your dog.  If the park is okay, visit the next time with your dog.

Before you visit the park with your dog do a little additional planning.

Dress appropriately.  Jeans, old flat shoes, and t-shirts are the normal attire of visitors.  Keep your valuables to a minimum.  Purses with shoulder straps may become a play toy for a rambunctious dog.

Make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations.  Visit or call your veterinarian to check up on this.  Diabetic dogs are especially vulnerable to contagious diseases.

Leave your children at home.  Smaller children may become injured by excited dogs and yelp or scream that can further aggravate a situation.

Spay or neuter your dog before visiting the dog.  This is not a requirement but a good idea.  Dogs in heat are not permitted at any dog park.  Unwanted litters add to pet overpopulation.

Do not take food (for you or your dog) to the park.  Hungry dogs may overwhelm you.

Take plastic bags and gloves with you to pick your dog’s poop.  Nobody likes to step into or smell your dog’s messes.

Be prepared to have your leash with you at all times in the park.  You may need to quickly remove your dog from a unfriendly situation.

If you think your dog may be aggressive or unfriendly do NOT take your dog to the park.  This is for the safety of both you and your dog.

Be prepared to keep your dog in view at all times.  Do not take a book or plan on texting while your dog plays.

Fill in any holes that your dog digs while at the park.

Be aware that you may be ticketed if you or your dog breaks the dog park rules.

Don’t bring a puppy that is too young.  Most parks have rules on this, so read them before visiting.

Put the leash on your dog before leaving the park.  You must be able to control your dog upon exiting.

Dog parks are meant to provide socialization and play for both you and your dog.  It is a great place to meet people with similar interests.

If you own a particular breed of dog, look for meet ups with others of the same breed.  I have seen Boston Terrier meet ups on YouTube and they were really funny.

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