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How Man's Best Friend Should Behave in the Dog Park

Thinking about visiting a dog park? Here are some tips you may find helpful.

I have many mixed emotions about dog parks. You definitely play at your own risk. Even the most well behaved socialized dog can find himself in a scuffle in this type of setting.

My suggestion is to do your research. Try the park out at different times of the day and see if there is a better time or crowd that fits your dog needs. Follow the rules and ALWAYS have your eyes and ears open. It may not be your dog creating or even involved in a tense situation, however you can make the decision to leash your dog and come back another time.

Unfortunately, dog parks are usually not heavily regulated and you have just as much right to be there as anyone else. With that said, if you know that your dog can't handle another dog near his ball/toy and will become aggresive over it, the dog park may not be the best place to play fetch. If your dog is a very small guy and the park is filled with very large dogs, it may not be a good idea to set your small guy loose among them.

I would think some of this information would go without saying but here is a generalized list of rules and etiquette to follow/practice while visiting a dog park. Like I said this is a general list and may vary from park to park. Also you should look up laws pertaining to pets for your state.

  1.  All dogs should be currently licensed (with tags and collar on) and vaccinated. Dogs must be healthy (no contagious conditions).

  2. Dogs with a known history of dangerous behavior should be prohibited.

  3. Owners or custodians are responsible for all actions of their dogs. If your dog inflicts an injury, give your name and phone number to the other dog owner before leaving the area. Use of the dog park is at your own risk. This includes, but is not limited to the risk of being bitten, being knocked down, tripping, etc.

  4. Absolutely no female dogs in heat should be allowed into dog park. Bringing animals that have been spayed or neutered is preferred but not always mandatory .

  5. Dogs must be older than 4 months. (Dogs under 4 months haven't generated the proper resistance to disease and show be kept away from other dogs.)

  6.  The owner or custodian of the dog must remain in the dog area with the dog. Owners/custodians should have voice control over their dog(s) and keep them in sight while visiting the dog park.

  7. Dog feces must be cleaned up by the dog owner or custodian. Most dog parks have dispensers and waste containers located at the parks' fence lines.

  8. Holes dug by dogs must be filled by the dog owner or custodian.

  9. Dogs showing aggressive behavior must be leashed immediately. No mounting.

  10. Dogs must be leashed upon entering and leaving the off-leash dog areas. Dog owners must have possession of a leash at all times.

  11. Keep gates closed at all times.

  12. For the safety of children please do not bring children under the age of 12 into a dog park. Children over this age must be closely supervised.

  13. Food (whether human or doggy) should not be brought within the fenced areas. When bringing water be prepared to share.

  14. Cigarette's and alcoholic beverages should not be brought into the park. Discarded cigarettes can cause injury to a dog (if eaten or stepped on).  If allowed, deposit cigarette butts and trash in proper receptacles.

  15. Rollerblading/inline skating/skateboarding/bicycling should not be done inside the fenced area.  Also no strollers, carriages, bicycles, children's toys, food or treats should be allowed.

  16. Spike or pinch collars should be removed while dogs are in the park. Remove any halters, metal choke chains or link collars. In the rough and tumble play of a dog park, a tooth or nail could get caught in this type of collar, resulting in a scared dog, lost tooth or broken nail and possibly a panic fight.

  17. Parks are generally open from dawn till dusk. Sound travels in the early hours. Be considerate of sleeping neighbors.

  18. Please discourage excessive barking.

  19. To help keep the dog parks clean, you should refrain from grooming animals at the park.

  20. Any balls or other toys should be shared. If fighting over toys occurs, the toy must be removed.

And remember, be a responsible dog owner!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

deb of see-attleboro May 23, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Oh, good. I guess I can bring my cat:)
Kathy Santos May 24, 2012 at 03:06 AM
there is a ton of goose poop at Sabin Point so it's messy for pets and people. I wish they would put the goose repellant so people could enjoy the park. Larisa Park is a nice walk for little dogs. I see people enjoy it with animals and just sitting in the sun
Heather Shirley May 24, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Yes Sabin Point would be so much more enjoyable, minus the poop! Larisa Park is a beautiful place to catch a breeze.
Love My Jacks May 29, 2012 at 11:10 AM
ATTLEBORO WOULD BE THE BEST PLACE TO GO. The Attleboro Dog Park Committee has been working for over 4 years trying to scrape up pennies to get our dog park open. You can read the city ordinances for our future dog park on our website www.attleborodogpark.com - and make a donation while you'e there!! It promises to be one of the better run and beautiful dog parks to come. You can help make it a reality!! We are also in a contest through PetSafe to WIN a $100K dog park and could use your votes!! Just imagine!! The FAAS would directly benefit too!! We love dogs!!! PLEASE go to our website to vote and donate!! THANK YOU!
Heather Shirley May 30, 2012 at 12:49 AM
This is the first I have heard of this. That is excellent. A $100K dog park would be something to see. Feel free to promote the contest on my FB page http://www.facebook.com/pages/East-Coast-Dogwalking-Petcare-Services-LLC/267832112397 Good luck!

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