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Doggy Park Protocol

Updated on June 15, 2011

It’s Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon. You are not working and, rather than attend to those chores, you decide to take your favourite dog to the doggy park. Doggy parks are springing up all over North America. Whether it is a big city or a small one, many communities now set aside spaces where dogs can be well dogs. There are leash free doggy parks, lake-side doggy parks, doggy parks with trails and mixed use doggy parks. If you wish to avoid any hassles, it is essential you understand the rules.

Some of the regulations are simple. They are common for all dog and human parks everywhere. The most basic rules are these:

1. Clean up after your dog. No one wants to step in doggy doo. I know it is biodegradable and less harmful to the earth than urine, but most people do not want it in their car.

2. Keep your dog under control. Nothing is worse than one dog spoiling it for all the others by harassing every living being and the toys of the living beings.

3. If your dog is not able to “play nice” with other dogs, do not let it off the leash

Always check to see the rules of the park. Some post them online. Others have a sign indicating what type of park as well as the rules at the entrance and throughout the area. Check and see what other doggy park patrons are doing. Be sure to follow the examples of the good dog owners and not those who are obviously unable to be in control of their own lives let alone their dog’s.

Overall, consider the following as being essential to doggy park etiquette:

· If you bring your dog’s favourite toy, be prepared to lose it to another dog. If your dog cannot share leave the toy at home.

· The same applies to balls. These can encourage social interaction or cause trouble.

· Small children. Some trainers caution against bringing small children. The rough housing of some dogs can cause the wee folk to fall. They see this as detrimental. If your child can handle it and you know when to pick the child up and/or put it in his or her stroller, then go ahead.

· Behaviour of small children. Some children yell and run, inciting dogs to chase them – or so some behaviourist theories go. If your child has a dog and the other owners are responsible and you act responsibly, bring it on.

· Puppies can find doggy parks overwhelming. Yet, this is a great way for them to learn about social and group behaviour. They can be stepped on and run over by larger dogs, but they usually pick themselves up and get back on track.

· Small dogs, as in miniscule creatures, may have to be supervised in a doggy park with care. Do not let them get in the way of the larger dogs if they cannot handle it.

· Never bring a dog who is in heat. It may cause problems in the park among any unfixed dogs.

· Try not to correct the behaviour of other people’s dogs. It does not mean you cannot voice an opinion, politely. It also means you do not have to put up with the bad behaviour of the owners itself. Never condone cruelty to an animal. This may mean holding your tongue, finding out who they are and calling the humane society on them later or from the doggy park.

Doggy parks differ around the world. The individuals who come there regularly often set the basic protocol. Try to follow the rules and learn from the examples good dogs and great dog owners set. And always remember – Doggy Parks are places where your dog can have socialize, mingle with the different varieties that make up the dog world and, above all, have FUN.


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    • Opheliac1987 profile image

      Opheliac1987 6 years ago from Illinois

      Well said! We're still working on our dog not barking at some dogs. We're not sure what it is that makes her bark at one dog but not the next.