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Dog park etiquette

May 31, 2017

Dog park dos and don’ts

Do you take your canine to the local dog park? If so, it’s always best to mind your manners, as communities don’t have to provide space for off-leash dogs.
Well-socialized dogs and their responsible guardians help make dog parks a highly enjoyable experience for humans and their furry family members.

Dog park etiquette tips:

  • Watch your dog at all times at the park. This is your opportunity to set boundaries for your dog of acceptable behaviour. Intervene with clear commands when your dog is misbehaving and praise with positive commands when your dog is playing appropriately. Pay attention to your dog’s body language and be prepared to recall him at signs of trouble – baring teeth, low growls and offensive posturing.
  • Practice “consent tests”. If one dog is pursuing and the other dog is running away, ask the owner of the pursuing dog to hold their dog for a moment. Let the other dog have a chance to decide if they want to continue to play.
  • Rain coats and clothing on your dog inhibit his ability to communicate to other dogs and should be left at home.
  • If your dog has a behaviour issue such as aggression or fearfulness, you should work on these issues with a dog behaviourist prior to turning him loose at a busy dog park. The behaviour section of the SPCA website has some great information on intervention strategies for common behaviour issues.
  • Bring extra bags and pick up after your dog.
  • Leave the toys at home. Resource-based aggression is one of the most common initiators of aggression so even a dirty old tennis ball can cause a fight.
  • Spay or neuter your dog. Spayed/neutered dogs are less likely to incite or exhibit aggression. Low-cost spay/neuter is provided at the BC SPCA Animal Hospital, Burnaby Veterinary Hospital and Penticton Veterinary Hospital and our spay/neuter clinics in Prince George, Kamloops and Penticton.