Good Manners, Good Fun: Dog Park Etiquette 101

Dog park etiquette can make playing with your dog funRocklin, California is certainly a great place to live if you’re a dog. Our summers are beautiful, our winters are mild, and the opportunities for outdoor fun are endless. In fact, dog parks are often on the agenda for pets and owners alike, but are you and your dog observing proper dog park etiquette?

Ready to Go?

To owners, the dog park can seem like a magical place. Pets can burn off excess energy and make friends, all while remaining leash-free. However, before heading out to one of the many dog parks in Rocklin or Roseville, it’s important to make sure your dog is prepared to hang out in such a setting.

A trip to the park may not be appropriate under the following conditions:

  • Your dog is showing signs of illness or contagious disease.
  • Your dog is aggressive, fearful, anxious, or overly shy.
  • Your dog is younger than 4 months old or is not fully vaccinated.
  • Your female dog is in heat.

Dog Park Etiquette

In addition to the specific rules at each park, there are general dog park etiquette guidelines that you should know:

  • Be observant – As tempting as it can be to check emails or scroll through Instagram, your eyes should remain on your dog while at the park. A situation can quickly spiral out of control, and your dog’s behavior and safety is your responsibility. Don’t allow your dog to run in a pack, and intervene the moment you notice play becoming too rough.
  • Empty-handed – Leave your dog’s treats and toys at home, as this can lead to unwanted attention. Some dogs become aggressive around food, and many will simply spend their time begging instead of playing. Bringing your dog’s favorite ball or toys can also lead to competitive behavior or fighting.
  • No leashes – Leash aggression is a real concern, and a leashed dog in an off-leash area poses a significant threat to themselves and others. Make sure to remove your dog’s leash as soon as you enter the first gate (check that it’s closed behind you!) and before you allow them to enter the park.
  • Clean up – Last but not least, always clean up after your pet! Most parks have bags and waste receptacles, but always bring your own just in case. After all, nothing will make you and your dog less popular than not scooping up the poop.

Failing to comply with the basics of dog park etiquette is not only rude, it can also put other pets and owners at risk. If your dog appears uncomfortable at any point or it doesn’t seem like they’re having any fun, that’s your cue to pack up and head home.

For more information about dog park etiquette or to schedule an appointment, please contact the team at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital.