Brady loves to play with his fellow canines at our local dog park, and being a new dog owner has helped me to quickly pick up on the rules that govern dog park etiquette. If you're headed to a public play area with your pup, keep these simple tips in mind.
- Know your dog. You spend the most time with your pup, so be realistic about his/her personality. Aggressive dogs don't play nice in dog parks, and new puppies may be too timid or not have all the vaccinations necessary to play with other pups.
- Be aware. Watch your dog to ensure that he/she isn't being a menace (or, on the flip side, getting bullied by other pups). Dogs like to play rough, so biting, slobbering, and wrestling are not an indicator that your dog is in trouble. When a dog has gone too far, the other dogs will yelp or whimper, so listen for that. If it's getting out of hand, break up the pack and move on.
- Watch play styles. Our puppy trainer gave us a great tip- when dogs like playing together, they mimic each other's play styles. This is a quick way to know if your dog is having fun at the dog park (and the dog park SHOULD be fun!).
- Clean up. When your dog does his business, clean up! You wouldn't want your furry friend to step in a mess, so don't leave a mess behind for others.
- Play nice. This tip is for interacting with the other dog parents. Be friendly, make small talk, and if your dogs aren't playing nice, don't take it out on the owner. If your dog is the nuisance, remove him/her and apologize to your fellow dog parents.
These tips seem like common sense, but there have been many rule-breakers at our local dog park. When one couple in particular shows up, the dog park empties out because they (the owners) just don't play nice with the other dog moms and dads. Don't be those people!