Having a good time in a park for dogs requires that everyone mind their manners — dogs and humans alike. Sadly, some dogs haven’t bothered to fully train their humans before taking them to the dog park.
While your own dog will no doubt mind her manners all the time, you can’t assume other pooches or their feeders will stick to the same rules as you. Try our handy guide to making life pleasant at the local dog park… and if you have any trouble, feel free to print it off and stick it up on the local telegraph pole or notice board!
When you meet another pet owner, greet them before introducing your pets. This is more of a human courtesy than an animal one, but we find it gets you further than talking to the dog as if there’s nobody else in sight. And once the mutual bum-sniffing is done on the part of your pets, let the small talk begin between adults — but never let the discussion at hand distract you from what your dog is doing.
Even if an area is fenced in, you’ll still need to make sure your dog isn’t getting himself into trouble. If the other owner still has their dog on leash, greet them from a distance and ask if it’s okay to take your pet near — there may be a reason that their dog is still on leash… like, its habit of eating dogs like yours for breakfast, or the fact its just had 37 stitches removed from its latest neighbourhood fight.
Always obey the posted off leash hours when you’re at a park for dogs. If a park has hours posted where off-leash play is appropriate, disobeying those hours could lead to danger for your dog or hefty council fines. Or both. Normally, off-leash hours take place when a park isn’t overly busy. Parks normally enforce leash laws during hours of darkness too.
Even during off leash hours, it is considered polite to look around the park and make sure that your dog would be safe before turning her off the leash. Make sure there are no dangerous distractions for your pet, like a nearby family having a barbie or a gaggle of children are playing cricket. Even the most well-mannered pooch can find these situations too tempting, and having a 50-kilogram fur ball launch its way into somebody’s homemade guacamole is no way to make friends.
We’re fairly sure you don’t need us to remind you, but it’s essential to always, always, ALWAYS clean up after your pooch in a dog park. Carry the poo bags with you at all times, and clean up any little doos promptly. If you see someone who is neglecting to clean up after their own companion, take your pet supplies over to them and offer them one of your poo bags. Hopefully this will encourage them to clean up as well — even if it doesn’t make you a new local pen pal.
Do you have any pet hates when it comes to dog park manners? Let us know about your own best (or worst) behaviour!