Dog Park Do’s and Don’ts

There is little doubt that taking your dog to the dog park can be just as entertaining for you as it is for your pet. You get to socialize with your canine-loving friends, and your dog gets to run and jump with members of its own species. An afternoon at the dog park can help your dog get rid of pent-up energy through an hour or two of exercise.
Stock image of a dog park
If you choose to take your pet to the dog park, there are some essential tips to keep an mind. Things you choose to do and things you choose to avoid can make your time at the park, and the time of others, better or worse.


1. Vaccinate – Make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations. Some dog parks require this and some do not. Regardless of the park’s rules, keeping your dog vaccinated will help prevent the spread of upper respiratory illnesses like kennel cough.

2. Read and Follow the Rules – Take a moment to read any rules that are posted. Once you have read them, do your best to follow them. Not only are the rules posted for everyone’s health and safety, but failure to follow them could have you banned from the park.

3. Stay On Your Side – Most dog parks are divided into two sides. One side is for large or playful dogs, and the other side is for small or shy dogs. Place your dog on the proper side.

4. Scoop the Poop – If your dog relieves itself in the park, pick it up. Always carry a small stash of your own poop bags so that you are ready to clean up after your pet. Keeping the dog park clean is everyone’s responsibility, including yours.

5. Understand Heat Stroke – Dogs can get overheated fairly quickly. Read up on heat stroke, especially if you have a short-nosed breed of dog. If you notice the signs, get your dog into the shade immediately, offer some water, and put cold, wet towels around its body.


1. Ignore Your Animal – Keep an eye on your dog. Put the book down, and talk while your eyes follow your pet. Don’t rely on others at the park to watch your dog for you when they are busy watching their own.

2. Let Your Dog Run Wild – If you notice that your dog is getting a bit too aggressive in its play, grab your leash, hook up your dog, and give your pet a moment of time out. You may not mind how your dog plays, but other dogs may be put off by it’s overly-pushy style.

3. Over-Stay Your Welcome – Dogs have moods like people. If you see that your dog is on the cranky side, call it a day. You know your dog better than anyone. If your pet is not having a good time on a particular afternoon, just leave.

4. Forget the First-Aid Kit – It is an unfortunate occurrence at dog parks, but injuries happen. Whether your dog gets into a scuffle with another pet or is stung by a bee, having a first-aid kit can be invaluable.

5. Assume There is Water – Pack a jug of water and a bowl in your vehicle. Most dog parks have water available but some do not. Having your own supply means that your dog will not be thirsty and will have a chance to cool down.

My best friendA day at the dog park can be a great bonding experience for you and your favorite pet. Whether you both enjoy yourselves depends largely upon your behavior at the park. Be respectful of other pet parents, keep an eye on your animal, and follow the rules of the park. If you do these things, you and your dog will have a great day.