ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Off Leash Dog Park Etiquette

Updated on March 15, 2014

Dog parks can be an excellent place to let your dog get in some exercise while meeting other dogs. Many towns have fenced in dog parks for residents to enjoy while meeting other dog lovers. Letting a dog roam off leash is illegal in many townships, so these fenced in parks provide a place for dogs to run free without the fear of them taking off or being hit by a car.

Some basic etiquette rules apply to make off leash dog parks fun for everyone. Not only are these rules polite, but they keep the parks safe for both dogs and owners. Following these rules will make you a welcome guest in any dog park.


Make sure your dog is up-to-date on shots

Dog parks require that all animals be up-to-date on vaccinations for good reason. You don't want your dog spreading diseases to other pets, and you don't want him catching diseases either. Rabies tags should be kept on your dog's collar, in your car, or on your person. That way if anything unfortunate should happen, you have proof of your dog's vaccination readily available.

Dog parks are great for socialization, but only friendly dogs are allowed.
Dog parks are great for socialization, but only friendly dogs are allowed. | Source

Don't bring an aggressive dog into the park

Letting a dog with poor socialization skills meet other dogs in neutral territory sounds like a good idea, but an off leash dog park is not the place for aggressive animals. Any attempt to socialize an aggressive dog needs to be done in a controlled setting with the permission of all parties involved and the help of a professional. For the safety of everyone, off leash dog parks are meant for friendly dogs only.

Only bring spayed or neutered dogs

Dogs that have not been spayed or neutered may bring the wrong kind of action into the park. Most dog parks have a rule that all dogs must be fixed to prevent unplanned breedings. The only exception to this is if your dog is still a young puppy. Most dogs reach sexual maturity at around 5 months old. For some dogs it can happen even earlier (toy breeds sooner than large breeds), so monitor your puppy closely in the park. Keep him on a leash if there is any question and get him fixed as soon as your vet recommends.

Don't let your dog harass others

Your dog is likely to find an off leash dog park very exciting. Don't let his unbridled excitement give others a negative experience. Keep a constant eye on your pup (even while chatting with other dog owners) to make sure he is not harassing anyone. A fair amount of sniffing and rough housing with other dogs is acceptable if all dogs involved are enjoying it. However, if your dog is obsessively up in another dog's space, frightening smaller dogs, mounting, or jumping on people, you need to step in and get him under control. If you find you have trouble managing your dog, spend time training him obedience before attempting the off leash park again.

Off leash dog parks are a great place to play fetch.
Off leash dog parks are a great place to play fetch. | Source

Understand that toys will be shared

Off leash dog parks are a great, safe place to play fetch. Just know that any toy you bring into the park is fair game to all dogs present. Other dogs may jump in when you begin playing fetch. In the dog world, there is no such thing as asking permission. So leave your pup's favorite toys at home and come to the park with a fun, sharing mindset. For some more one-on-one fetch time with your dog, try visiting the park at non-peak hours when fewer dogs may be there.

Don't bring anything contagious into the park

While toys should be shared at the dog park, illnesses and unwanted conditions should not. If your dog has something contagious like mites, fleas, mange, kennel cough, worms, or parasites, keep him out of the park until your vet gives the all-clear.

Don't hand out treats without asking

Similar to giving snacks to children, asking permission before handing out dog treats is more than just a courtesy. Some dogs have dietary restrictions due to health problems or allergies. Always check with the dog's owner before feeding any dog. Food can also quickly become a source of aggression when dogs are in groups. For this reason, it is usually best to skip the treats altogether in off leash dog parks. Your dog will be thoroughly enjoying himself without them anyway.

More dog park tips:

Scoop your poop

Nobody likes looking at or stepping in poop, so keep the park clean and pick up after your dog. Not only will doing so make the park more pleasant, but it will also reduce the risk of worms and other parasites. Most dog parks provide bags and trash cans for waste disposal. You don't want other people leaving their dog's waste, so set the example and don't leave your dog's either.

Off leash dog parks allow dogs to enjoy much needed romping and running.
Off leash dog parks allow dogs to enjoy much needed romping and running. | Source

Make your dog park experience even more enjoyable:

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Faith A Mullen profile imageAUTHOR

      Faith A Mullen 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, sleepylog! I agree. And everyone benefits when dog owners follow the rules.

    • sleepylog profile image

      Sleepylog 

      5 years ago from Australia

      What a great article. If only all dog owners were so well behaved.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)