The top 8 (unspoken) rules of the dog park
By Lindsay Shostal
I have a love/hate relationship with off-leash parks. Most dog parks have rules posted in clear view (often on the fence entrance), but a lot of people tend to ignore them, along with common sense! Every city has different bylaws which affect the rules, so please review them if you’re unsure of your parks’ stipulations. Please acknowledge the fact that your dog may not enjoy socializing with other dogs. Are you at the dog park for you or your dog? The park isn’t the time to catch up on work email on your iPhone, or sit on the bench and make out with your new boyfriend. It’s time for you and for your dog, so pay attention. To help you out I’ve listed some unspoken but helpful rules for making your trip to the dog park uncomplicated and fun – exactly what it should be!
1. It is a myth that all dogs will love the dog park.
Fact, a lot of dogs don’t do well in the melting pot of the off-leash dog parks. Are you letting your dog loose into a space that’s unknown and wondering why they’re not playing? Much like people with strangers, dogs don’t always enjoy or want to interact with others, especially ones they’ve never met before, especially if they have poor social skills.
2. Poo bags!
This seems like a no-brainer, right? We have this dog owner at my park who never comes prepared. Without fail, his dog runs into the off-leash park and drops the world’s biggest poo. He always uses the same excuse, “I didn’t know my dog had to go!”. Some parks participate in dog waste projects involving the use of recycling bins. Check the signage at your local off-leash area to see what disposal method you should be using. This is also a great thing you can help introduce and initiate at your dog park. Contact your city today to get the ball rolling. PRO TIP: If you’re going to a dog park, assume your dog will take at least two poops. Not saying they’ll both be solid poops, but nonetheless, be prepared!
3. Close the gates!
Again, this seems like a no-brainer but keep watch for those escape artists dogs that dodge the open doors. Prevention is the key but should a dog with a poor recall escape, it’s important to be familiar with your city’s pet lost and found resources before the need arises. You should also get your pet microchipped and be sure to keep the information associated with the chip up-to-date.