We dog owners have a responsibility to socialize our dogs well with other dogs, animals, and people. This is very important especially during the puppy stage. We’ve all seen it before, we see a dog walking by and you and your pet kindly approach him to say hi, only to be welcomed with an aggressive bark and growl. They don’t have the social skills needed to interact with anybody else besides their owners.
It is also important to allow your pet to be with other dogs and allow them to be…dogs. Since dogs are in nature, pack animals. So when I got JR, I knew I wanted him to be the friendliest dog on the block and to get along with other dogs. The best place to let this happen is at the dog park, where they can meet different types of dogs. Thankfully there was the NMC Weekend Dog Group near our home.
I’m not going to claim that I am a great dog owner or trainer, but I do know that when visiting a dog park there are basic rules you must follow. I like to call them Dog Park Etiquette.
1. Your dog should know the basic commands. Sit, Stay and Come. This is very important especially at an off leash dog park. The last thing you want is your dog to run across the street and have an accident.
2. Your dog should know its name and know your voice. Again this is very important, this is a sign that you have control of your dog, and that your dog does not control you.
3. You should always have doggie bags with you. You are expected to pick up after your dog. Sometimes you may not be paying attention to your dog while they are doing their business so normally another owner will let you know. It’s nice if you return the favour.
4. Your dog is a fetcher; bring his/her fetching toy. Although the dog park is a great place to meet and socialize with other dogs, it’s also a great place to play fetch with your dog. If your dog is naturally a fetcher, it’s probably best to bring his/her ball. The last thing you want is your dog to constantly annoy another dog owner or retrieve another dog’s toy.
5. Fights. Some dogs will play fight and wrestle, however just like children, it can sometimes get out of hand. If your dog ever gets into a fight, that goes beyond play fight. You better get in there and pull your dog back. Whether it was your dog that started it or not, you should discipline him/her by using head control or laying them on their backs. Whatever method you see fit and effective. Dog owners at the park will not tolerate dogs that are aggressive towards another dog.
6. Respect. Respect all the various types of dogs and dog owners. The dog park is a great place to socialize your dog. It’s also a great place to socialize and network with other dog owners.
So those are some of the basic rules I think that are important whenever you enter a dog park. If anyone has any thoughts or ideas on other Dog Park Etiquette, please feel free to post your comments and share with everyone your thoughts!