Dog Friendly Park Etiquette

09/02/2022

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DOG FRIENDLY PARK ETIQUETTE

In this video we’re going to dive into the topic of dog parks and off lead etiquette for pet parents.

If you’re thinking about going to a park to let your puppy off the lead around other dogs, there are a few things you’ll want to do and things to be aware of.

Choose a time when the park will be less crowded so that your puppy won’t feel overwhelmed. When you first arrive you want to give your puppy a chance to settle before going inside. Walk around the perimeter watching from a distance and gauge your dog’s body language. Are they relaxed and happily taking everything in, or do they look stressed and hyper-vigilant? Perhaps they are overexcited and getting frustrated? If your puppy is anything other than calm you will need to increase the distance from the other dogs playing and work on relaxing further away.

If your puppy if relaxed the next thing you want to do is look at the body language and behaviour of other dogs at the park. Do they look relaxed and social or are you seeing signs that trouble might be brewing?

If the dogs look relaxed and happy, you can head towards the entrance and check the park rules before making your way inside with your dog.

Particular zones to be careful around are entrances and exits, water bowls and the fence line. Dogs can struggle with sharing resources including water so try not to approach these areas if other dogs are in them and always bring your own water with you when you go out. Fences can also lead to barrier frustration and fights to break out, so be watchful for this and take care if other dogs are spending time near the fence line.

Watching dogs interact can be a great way to hone your skills at reading body language. Look for relaxed, polite greetings where dogs sniff and greet each other nose to bum first before going nose to nose. Watch out for dogs who become stiff in their movements, show whale eyes, lean forward or close their mouth tightly when greeting. These are signs of tension and you might want to call your puppy away and make a swift exit if you notice dogs acting in this way.

Going to the park together can be one of the most enjoyable experiences for both you and your puppy but as always, you are your puppy’s advocate and need to watch out for their physical and emotional wellbeing every time you visit.

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