A guide to dog park etiquette

A trip to the dog park is an opportunity for your loyal companion to let off steam, get some fresh air and socialize with other canines. Like any public space, the dog park has a code of conduct in place to maintain harmony among its users, human and otherwise. Read on for some tips on how to become a model dog park patron.

Dog park safety and etiquette: the written rules
Most dog parks in Quebec share a similar set of rules that includes the following:

  • Pick up after your dog and dispose of droppings in the designated receptacle
  • Keep an eye on your pet to ensure it doesn’t try to bite, attack or hump other dogs
  • Make sure your dog is up to date with immunizations and deworming
  • Don’t bring a sick or parasite-infested dog to the park
  • Don’t bring a non-neutered or non-spayed dog to the park
  • Don’t smoke in the dog park
  • Ensure your pet has a valid identification tag
  • Keep your pet within the area that’s designated for dogs of its size (some dog parks have a section for large breeds and another for smaller pups)

Finally, if your pet falls under the pit-bull umbrella of breeds, make sure you’re allowed to bring it to the dog park before you go: breed restrictions aren’t uncommon in some areas.

…and the unwritten rules

For a hitch-free outing to the dog park, be as vigilant and civil as possible by following these guidelines:

  • Never bring a dog that’s anxious, overexcited, barking or growling into the dog park.
  • Don’t bring very young children to the dog park to avoid accidents.
  • Remain alert and aware of your surroundings (avoid checking your phone and other such distractions as much as possible).
  • Don’t enter the dog park if there’s already a large number of dogs present.
  • Leave the park immediately if your pet becomes aggressive or afraid.
  • Don’t throw a ball or toy to your pet if other dogs are fighting to catch it.
  • Don’t try to physically stop two dogs from fighting, as you could injure yourself in the process—even if it’s your own dog that’s involved. Yell, whistle or spray water to get them to stop.
To minimize your pet’s risk of developing stomach torsion from too much exercise at the dog park, don’t feed it during the hour leading up to your outing.

Swing by your local Chico pet store to stock up on quality toys, accessories and food for your precious pup.