If there's one thing that keeps me sane, it's taking Gunner to the dog park. If I didn't have an outlet for my very active dog, or a place to go and decompress after work, I seriously might lose it. Not to mention I couldn't get anything done in the evenings because I'd have a tennis ball at my feet all night, even in the house.
Case and point.
I've shared here before how much I love the dog park. It's a community for me and Gunner's happy place. But like any other social situations, there are some things that can make your experience at the park that much better. That's why today I'm teaming up with my fellow dog loving friend, Alanna to talk about Dog Park Etiquette!
Alanna tackled some of the basics for human etiquette at the park. But there are more than just people at a dog park and your dog's etiquette is important too! Today I'm going to talk about what the appropriate behavior is for a dog at the dog park.
Take this all with a grain of salt, because I'm not a dog...
Keep greetings brief
We all know the first things dogs do is sniff each others unmentionables. It's unavoidable. The key here is to keep it within reason and not get too far up the other dogs well.... you know. I've seen greetings turn south too many times because a pup has gotten too nosy, literally.
Make sure you do a quick hello-sniff and then get on your way.
Humping is not only offensive and inappropriate, it's sign of dominance. Whenever dominance becomes an issue at the dog park it is usually followed by aggression. Don't be that dog (and owners don't let your dog be that dog!)
Sharing is caring
Dog park bowls, toys and space are usually all shared. Dogs (and their people) need to be willing to share. Be friendly and considerate to other dogs coming over to get a drink or sniff the toy you might be playing with. Play tug-of-war or even make a game of who-can-fetch-the-ball-first. Dogs playing together are generally happier dogs!
Respect when another dog doesn't want to play
While sharing and playing together is the best scenario, there are always dogs at the park who are more interested in people, or their game than the other dogs (like my Gunner). Be respectful of these dogs and do not get in their face over and over if they do not want to play.
If they give you a warning sign, such as snapping at you or a quick growl, back off! The worst thing a dog can do is keep pestering another dog. It almost always leads to an altercation!
Leave if you are being naughty
Ok, so this might be more of human-etiquette for the park, but if your dog is being aggressive or will not stop humping other dogs, leave the park. Bad experiences can ruin the dog park for some and they may never come back.
Gunner is often aggressive because he is only at the park for one reason and one reason alone - to play fetch. When other dogs get in his way, or try to herd him (like Alanna's dog!) he can get snappy. But he knows that's not ok and as soon as I yell at him he trots over to the gate and knows it's time to go home.
If you as a dog can follow these simple rules, your trip to the dog park will be that much more bark-tastic!