Naperville_iStock_000022722595_LargeNo one could argue that the benefits of dog parks increase when visitors – canine and human alike – follow the established rules that aim to keep everyone safe. While each dog park boasts its own characteristics, there are some basic rules that, if followed, will boost your dog park etiquette score ten-fold.

The Bennies

Dog parks serve communities in several ways. While providing a place for dogs to run off-leash, these areas also facilitate the cultivation of social skills – for you and your dog. It’s not only a place for Fido to learn how to make friends with other pups, but dog owners can also meet and greet their dog-loving neighbors. Dog parks may also reduce barking and other behavioral issues, all while spending time together in the fresh air.

Good play – Your dog might growl or pretend to be downright ferocious when playing with another pooch, and, as long as he or she looks relaxed, this is normal. Dogs love to chase, wrestle, tackle, play-bite, and pounce on each other. Keep a watchful eye to make sure no one is getting bullied, and be willing to intervene if the play dangerously escalates.

When to jump in Dogs will start to tense up when play turns a corner towards aggression. Your dog’s movements might appear to speed up with a stiff or rigid intensity and it’s a good idea to separate your dog instead of risking an injury. Also be aware that dogs often form loose packs in dog parks and may pursue another dog that is trying to get away.

Awareness Counts

Being informed on proper dog park etiquette will go over pretty big with fellow pup parents, simply because it shows responsible ownership while having respect for others. Show you care by:

  • Only introducing your dog to the park after all vaccinations are fulfilled, and he or she has been spayed or neutered
  • Bringing your dog after he or she turns at least 4-months old and after you’ve completed an essential puppy training course
  • Watching your pup closely to ensure his or her safety, security, and enjoyment
  • Be willing to leave if your dog is misbehaving or acting aggressively
  • Promptly cleaning up after your dog
  • Not bringing toys or treats into the enclosure that other dogs can take or get upset by
  • Not forcing your dog to engage with others or pushing others dogs to engage with yours; some dogs are quite reserved in social settings
  • Bringing your dog’s own water (don’t allow your dog to share another pup’s water to reduce the spread of diseases like leptospirosis)

The Drawbacks

You might have big hopes for the happy, tongue hanging out of the side of your dog’s mouth kind of enthusiasm for the dog park but there are certain negatives resulting from the experience. Namely, the exposure to fleas and ticks, and other transmittable diseases.

If you and your dog aren’t already hip to our preventative practices, consider getting him or her on the right plan to protect against pesky parasites.

Shaping Up Your Dog Park Etiquette

We are so lucky that our Naperville community values the importance of dog parks, and hope that all visitors follow the rules and regulations unique to each one. Call us if you would like our feedback regarding your dog’s temperament or have any questions about dog park etiquette.