dog park etiquette
Dog Park Etiquette
This community dog park is a great place to bring your dogs for exercise and socialization. Following these simple guidelines will ensure a safe and joyful experience for canines and humans alike.
Appropriate Dog Behavior
- This park is for well-socialized dogs that are friendly, outgoing and confident. Fearful, aggressive or reactive dogs are not appropriate in the dog park. They aren't happy or comfortable and may bring this anxiety to other dogs.
- Bullies are not appropriate in our dog park. A bully is a dog that is overly dominant and harassing in nature, making another dog uncomfortable enough to stop playing.
- Barking should be kept to a reasonable level, for both the human park users and our park neighbors. Play barking is acceptable. Non-stop harassment barking, which makes another dog anxious is not acceptable, nor is barking with aggressive intent.
- Do not bring aggressive dogs to the park. This includes bringing them in on leash, as this aggravates other dogs off leash. Remember, this is a park shared by dogs that want to romp and play, not fight.
- Take off choke chains, prong collars, or halti collars and the like where another dog could grab it in play and choke the dog wearing the collar.
- Some dogs are fantastic wrestlers, and play exuberantly at each other's neck. This is normal dog play. However, if you notice that they are grabbing collars in play, even their regular collar, then remove it, as they can strangle each other and/or loose a tooth in the process.
- Unneutered or intact male dogs over one year of age should not come to the dog park. They are just hitting their age of maturity and may become a threat to other male dogs, and fights may occur. As soon as you begin to notice this more dominant aggressive behavior in your dog, or in other dogs toward him, neuter him or discontinue use of the park, or get some training from a behaviorist trainer.
- Do not bring females in season (in heat) to the dog park. They cause anxiety in male dogs and fights may ensue. It is also very uncomfortable for the female who is unable to play because she is too busy fending off males.
- Mounting or humping is normal dog dominance behavior displayed by males and females alike. It is not sexual; it is how they establish play hierarchy or pecking order. Mounting is instinctive and normal. Improperly socialized dogs can mount excessively, causing the dog being mounted great anxiety. If this occurs, please respectfully remove your dog, and get some help from a behaviorist trainer.
Appropriate Human Behavior
Informed dog owners are ready and willing to do the following:
- Obey park rules and guidelines, even if you don't agree with them.
- Be polite, especially when someone's dog is behaving inappropriately and the owner isn't controlling their dog and unwilling to take their dog out of the park. Call a park ranger and/or report it to a dog park volunteer, or email us online or the Parks Department. Remove your dog if you feel unsafe.
- Don't bring small children inside the dog park. Running children often trigger the prey drive in dogs who view it as an invitation to play chase. Children may be accidentally hurt or knocked down.
- Be aware and realistic about your own dog's limitations and weaknesses.
- Recognize undesirable behavior and be willing to leave the dog park in order to protect the safety of your own dog and that of other dogs.
- Don't leave your dog unattended at the dog park.
- Take note of and report anyone who does not follow these guidelines, causing potential danger to dogs or dog owners.
- Don't bring treats to the dog park, which can cause potential dog-to-dog conflict.
- Know that the dog park is not the place to fix inappropriate behavioral problems without a trainer's assistance.
- Supervise your dog's play and be prepared to interrupt inappropriate play whether your dog is the perpetrator or the victim.
- Be willing to listen to a complaint about your dogs' behavior and leave the park if your dog is being too rough. If you really disagree with the person's assessment of your dog's behavior, don't argue, but get advice from a trainer.
- Remember to keep our park clean and healthy for everyone. Always clean up after your dog and be willing to clean up other piles you see from people who didn't notice, don't know or follow the rules. This is our park; let's take care of it for all of us.