Taking your dog to the park can be like preparing your child for a talent show. You know other parents will be there with their (fur)children. You know the pressure is high. And you know the other parents will judge you if your (fur)baby doesn’t perform well. However, if you brush up on your park etiquette, you’ll ensure your pooch is the belle of the ball(park)!
Remind Your Dog Who’s Boss
In an unleashed dog park, your pooch is going to meet other canines. This is great, and one of the highlights of a park visit. However, if you don’t remind your dog that you’re in charge, they might replace you with any alphas they meet. Before you know it, your pet and their new friends will be barrelling around with no regard for your authority. Suffice to say, you can count this as a park etiquette breach.
To combat their urge to rebel, remind them you’re the boss by using the verbal commands you’ve trained them to obey. Simply yell “heel”, “sit”, or any unique phrase you’ve taught to them, and you’ll prompt them to be subservient to you. This will remind them they’re a member of your pack, while also showing other dogs that you’re to be respected.
Finally, remember to reward your pooch with a treat when they follow your lead.
Are You Telling Me This Ain’t a Sign?
In the past we’ve written on learning to read the warning signs of your pup’s stress. When you visit a dog park, you should apply the same principles to every dog you see. This way, you can know when your (or another) dog is feeling upset, and separate them before it’s too late.
If your dog does start fighting with another pooch, you should give them time to resolve it on their own. Canine feuds can be quick to start, but even quicker to finish. Wait for a few seconds before stepping in – at which point you and the other dog’s Owner should approach from behind, grab your dogs high on their hind legs, and pull them back.
Accept that Not Everyone Has the Same Idea of “Park Etiquette”
Some people love being approached by dogs in the park. Others find it to be daunting and invasive. Whatever your preference might be, don’t assume everyone in the park feels the same way. When your dog starts bounding towards a stranger, be sure to call them back. If the stranger likes dogs, they might say “It’s okay” or “Don’t worry, I love meeting new dogs!” If they don’t, you’ve just avoided a major park etiquette breach.