Proper Etiquette for Leash-Free Parks

Once the warm weather arrives, it is very common to start bringing your pets to parks and leash-free areas. However, please be aware that there are specific rules and regulations responsible pet owners should be made aware of. If participants understand and follow the rules of the park, it can be a fun and social event for dogs and owners alike. If etiquette isn’t followed, it can quickly spoil the dog park for everyone and create an unsafe environment.

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Dog parks can be used for dogs of ALL sizes, big or small, but not ALL dogs are appropriate to bring to the dog park. Your dog should be at least six-months-old, fully vaccinated, in good health and enjoy the company of most other dogs. Puppies not fully immunized yet, are at a higher risk for contracting diseases, and puppies under six-months-old are very vulnerable to being traumatized by another dog’s inappropriate behaviour. Your dog should understand basic cues, such as “come,” “sit,” and “leave it,” to control him or her if needed. Spayed and neutered dogs reduce the likelihood of fights and prevent unwanted pregnancies.

It is very important that playing dogs are monitored closely at all times for their safety. Understand your dog’s body language and look for signs of stress, to indicate that they have had enough. Some signs to look out for are: yawning, licking, turning away or turning of the head, laying down, freezing in place, and walking slowly.

If your dog is bullying or is being bullied, LEAVE the park at once. Dogfights can erupt within a moment’s notice, and usually, there can be a hefty veterinary bill, should any injuries occur. Many times, if the wounds are significant, your pet may have to be sedated in order to treat and repair the wounds. This can bring on additional charges for sedation and/or surgery, as well as unnecessary stress to your pet, while in recovery. It is ALWAYS advised to keep aggressive dogs away from leash-free areas, to keep the play as safe as possible.

When used appropriately, dog parks are a great way for dogs and owners to have fun and make new friends. By following the rules of the park, being considerate of other owners, dogs and closely supervising your dog, you will contribute to the safe and inviting atmosphere many parks enjoy.

Click here to learn more about dog park etiquette.