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Do’s and Don’ts of the Dog Park

  • October 1, 2012
  • 4:02 pm
  • 1 of 3
Do’s and Don’ts of the Dog Park

P-A-R-K. One simple word and ears perk up, tails go into overdrive. There are eager looks from you to the leash to the door and back to you. The dog park is a great place for both you and your furry friend to spend the day playing and socializing. There are, however, things you need to know to ensure that a visit to the park is fun and safe for everyone. Stacey Hawk, owner of Hawk City K9 and co-founder of the first dog park in Chicago (the aptly named Wiggly Field), has the inside scoop on what to do–and what not to do–at the dog park.Here’s what she told us:

Dog Park Rules:

Follow these simple guidelines to enjoy a day of fun and frolicking while avoiding possible mayhem, altercations, and even lawsuits:

1. Watch your dog at all times. In the dog park, your dogs social life takes precedence over yours.

2. Dont go to the dog park unless your dog is current on all vaccines.

3. Be prepared: Bring water and poop bags. Always clean up immediately after your dog.

4. Do not go to the park unless your dog is trained. At the very least, he must know and listen to “stay,” “come,” and “no.”

5. This may seem obvious, but unfortunately that’s not always the case: Don’t bring your dog to the dog park if he’s not good with other dogs.

6. Before going into the dog park, scope out the scene: Are the people there as attentive to their dogs as you are to yours? If not, take a rain check.

7. Do not let your dog off leash until you are safely within the confines of the park.

8. Always abide by any official rules of the park itself. Rules like “no eating in the park” or “all dogs must remain on a leash” are there for the safety of all the dogs and people there; it’s not worth it to rebel.

Next: Common scenarios to be wary of

  • 1 of 3

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Pets, Safety, , , ,

Selected by Laura Drucker, TAILS Editor

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TAILS is an interactive website, online community, and print magazine that celebrates the relationship between pets and their people. TAILS features expert knowledge, advice, pet product reviews, local resource guides, community event listings, and fun contests to promote and encourage people to live responsibly with their pets.


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5:16AM PDT on Oct 15, 2012

Excellent article; many mediocre dog owners should follow these tips.

Pamela H: "All dogs should be desexed. Ban backyard breeders."

All people should be desexed. Ban those who have children.

Um, 3 children. So dog overpopulation is bad but human overpopulation is fine?

How are backyard breeders related to this dogs-at-the-park article? Please enlighten us.

7:57AM PDT on Oct 7, 2012

thanks for sharing :)

6:13PM PDT on Oct 2, 2012

To be honest, I like most dogs a heck of a lot better than their owners.

5:24PM PDT on Oct 2, 2012

All dogs should be desexed. Ban backyard breeders.

4:06PM PDT on Oct 2, 2012

Thank you.

3:45PM PDT on Oct 2, 2012


10:31AM PDT on Oct 2, 2012

Thank you. All about the Doggies

8:51AM PDT on Oct 2, 2012

All excellent advice. A pet peeve - I've seen dog owners think it's fine to just let their pup run free with a lot of other dogs while engrossed in reading a book, not paying any attention. This is how trouble happens.
I'd add one more point: Watch for sudden "pack behavior". In the blink of an eye, a group of dogs can get together and decide to pick on another one. I've broken up packs and rescued little dogs from underneath benches on occasion.
If that happens, it's time to take your dog home.

8:35AM PDT on Oct 2, 2012

This should be common sense, but sadly it isn't. And maybe unspayed/unneutered dogs should not be allowed in dog parks.

7:44AM PDT on Oct 2, 2012


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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