Skip to content

    Healthy Dogs

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Dog Park Etiquette: 7 Rules for a Well-Behaved Pet

    By Amanda Gardner
    WebMD Pet Health Feature
    Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM

    A day at the dog park is like a dozen walks on a leash in terms of physical and mental benefits for your pet.

    "They get the chance to get off-leash and run around and play with other dogs," says Rebecca Ruch-Gallie, DVM, of Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Fort Collins. "It keeps their weight down, their muscle tone up. It keeps them social. It's huge."

    Recommended Related to Dogs

    Mounting and Masturbation in Dogs

    Mounting, thrusting (humping) and masturbation are normal behaviors exhibited by most dogs. Dogs masturbate in various ways. They mount and thrust against other animals, people and objects, such as wadded-up blankets, dog beds and toys. Sometimes, dogs just rub against people or objects (without mounting them), or they lick themselves. Puppies often mount and hump their littermates, other playmates, people and toys. Some experts believe that this behavior functions as practice for future sexual...

    Read the Mounting and Masturbation in Dogs article > >

    The downsides? Your pet mistakes another person's leg for a tree or gets hurt and needs to go to the vet. Take these steps to avoid an embarrassing scene or an injury.

    1. Take charge. Your dog needs to know that you're the alpha animal all the time. That’s key when other canines are around. Teach your pal to come to you when called. Use a word or phrase he’s not likely to hear at the park. Reward him with extra-special treats during training.

    2. Pause before you enter. A well-designed park will have a double entrance with two gates. Don't whirl through both gates at once. Enter the first gate with your dog on a leash, then pause to look around. If there are 20 dogs swarming the gates or if there’s a scuffle going on, this isn't the time to barge in. A pause will also allow other pooches to get used to yours and not go hyper when he does come in.

    3. Pay attention. Once inside, it's your job to pay attention -- to the dogs, not other humans. 

    “Dog parks are really awesome, but they're not about human socialization," Ruch-Gallie says. 

    Always know where your four-legged friend is and what he’s doing. If you see trouble brewing, call him back right away. Know when your dog has pooped so you can scoop, too. Many parks provide plastic bags, but it can’t hurt to take your own.

    4. Read the signals. Not only should your dog play well with others if you plan to take him to the park -- you need to be able to read canine behavior as well. 

    Today on WebMD

    bulldog in party hat
    Breeds with longevity
    Doberman Pinscher Clipped Ears
    The facts about ear cropping and tail docking.
     
    dog with duck in mouth
    Which are considered smartest?
    boxer dog
    What are their health issues?
     
    Pit bull looking up
    Article
    Pets: Is My Dog Normal
    Slideshow
     
    Dog scratching behind ear
    Slideshow
    dog catching frisbee
    Slideshow
     
    Dog Breed RMQ
    Quiz
    Lady owner feeding dog
    Slideshow
     
    pooldle
    Slideshow
    bulldog in party hat
    Slideshow