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How to Follow Dog Park Etiquette

Updated on January 16, 2013

Dog Park Etiquette Rules

While there are many owners that enjoy taking their dogs to the dog park, there are some that for a reason or another have decided that it is best for them and their dogs not to attend them. The reason behind this is that frequenting dog parks is sometimes the equivalent of asking for trouble especially when the area is crowded with people and dogs. There are special rules that should be followed and unfortunately often are not, turning a dog park into a chaotic area with little or no boundaries.

It does not take much to learn about dog park etiquette. Some times all it takes is a little bit of common sense. Following are some tips that can make frequenting the dog park a much better experience. Of course, it would be much better if everybody would abide to these simple rules!

  • Pay Attention to Your Dog!

This cannot be emphasized enough. The owner takes the dog to the dog park, takes the leash off and then starts talking to other dog owners no longer watching what Rover is doing. A few feet away, in the meanwhile Rover is ''bullying'' another dog that seems to dislike Rover's rude behavior. It is a matter of seconds and fight arises. Fortunately, nothing serious, but it could have been much worse. It all could have however, been avoided if Rover was better supervised!

  • Pick up After your Dog!

It may seem an obvious rule to follow but often owners may be distracted or ..pretend to be distracted. Dogs unfortunately are unable to tell their owners they must go, so when they need to go, they go with no problem. It is up to the owner to keep an eye and catch their dog in the act so to clean up. Dog feces are vectors of various serious diseases and parasites, some of which may be transmitted to humans as well.

  • Safety First!

Do not take your dog to the dog park if he has fleas, ticks, intestinal worms or if he has not been vaccinate. Kennel cough is a common disease that is transmitted easily when dogs are in close contact with one another. Many dog parks now do not allow puppies younger than 4 months old. Owners must also keep in mind that puppies that have just finished their sets of shots are still vulnerable to disease for a few weeks. Veterinarians can provide details on when it is safe to expose puppies to other dogs.

  • Don't Take Your Children!

It may feel natural to want to bring the kids along to the dog park, it can be so much fun! But children, especially small children may wake up prey drive in some dogs, causing them to chase your child and who knows what next! Children also have sharp voices that may irritate dogs and may move suddenly putting dogs on the defensive.

  • Don't Take your Dog in Estrus!

Stay away from taking your dog to the park if she is in heat or nearing it soon. You may not be able to know she is in heat sometimes, but the males will certainly know. Unless you like attention or intend to have puppies on the way, keep your dog in heat at home. It takes only a small distraction for puppies to be on the way 63 days later!

As seen, it does not take rocket science to follow some common sense rules. While many dog parks have rules posted upon entering as a gentle reminder, please try to abide to them as much as you can. A dog park should be a fun place for dogs and owners but in order to be so there must be some order!

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    • Sally's Trove profile image


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Good advice all the way around. I don't take my dog to a dog park unless I know it will be mostly empty. My dog is a wuss, a totally omega girl. The minute she prances into the park, the news that she's there spreads like wild fire and she's ganged up on. She's a bully magnet!

      Our local dog park has clearly posted rules that also include: Dogs must be licensed in the county; Dogs must be neutered; and for people, No smoking!


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