Dog Park Etiquette: The dos and don’ts of puppy play

The dog park is a brilliant resource, one that allows us to exercise and socialise our canine companions to their heart’s content. However, it does come with its own set of unwritten rules. In an effort to clear up any confusion, we lay out a few of the most important points below.

Don’t: Be precious.
Hysterically yelling “Whose dog is this?!” every time the resident Rottweiler ambles within sniffing distance of your precious pooch is uncalled for and uncool.

Do: Compliment other people’s dogs.
Dog park people are proud people, so even if their pet looks like a cross between a hamster and the lint you pull from your dryer, just say something nice. Phrases such as “what a unique breed”, “what strong characteristics” and “he has great energy” are your safe zone.

Don’t: Let your dog bully the others.
This isn’t prison rules people. If your pet is getting a little riled up, best distract him for a bit.

Do: Leave the little kids at home.
If you’re yet to witness a pack of excited dogs running amok, just imagine a furry, slobbery tornado. Decimating anything that gets in its way, small children are often the first to tumble.

Don’t: Bring your pup’s favourite toys or balls.
It’s a dog eat dog world in these parks, and unless your canine comes out as Alpha, their best belongings will get stolen.

Do: Ditch the lead when you get in.
One of the major perks of the dog park is that your four-legged friend can roam free. If you leave them with leash on then you’re just asking for trouble. You know how your headphones tangle into an unruly bird’s nest when you put them in your pocket? Well, picture that on a much larger scale.

Don’t: Bring treats.
Unless you desire being swarmed by a hoard of hyped-up hounds, leave the liver bites at home.

Do: Intervene if Fido gets frisky.
Let’s keep things PG people.

Don’t: Offer other dog owners unsolicited advice.
No one wants to hear about the benefits of Rex’s raw, organic, paleo eating plan. No one.

Do: Pick up after your dog.
We really shouldn’t need to clear that one up…

Don’t: Bring your brand new puppy along.
Yes they’re cute, yes we all want to play with them, yes they will get injured. The general rule of thumb is four months and above.


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