If you’re lucky enough to live in a city that has a dog park and you take your dog (or dogs) there occasionally to play, you should be aware that there are hard and fast rules for dog parks and they apply to almost all dog parks. The last thing you want to do is subject your pet to aggressive behavior from another dog or find that your own pet is acting aggressively towards other dogs in the park.

If your dog is by nature aggressive and dominant, do not take it to the park. Dogs who continually challenge other dogs, and sometimes humans, are not welcome in dog parks.

One of the rules for dog parks is don’t take your dog’s toys with you. There’s seldom room for playing Frisbee in a dog park unless you go at a time when very few other dogs are in residence. Playing fetch with a ball can trigger fights with other dogs who may try to retrieve your dog’s ball and a nasty fight can erupt at a moment’s notice.

If you take dog treats with you to the park, save them until after you’ve left, and don’t feed your dog any treats in front of other dogs. Dogs love to eat and it doesn’t matter whose food or treat is available for the taking.

Never take a female dog to a dog park if she is in heat. Even neutered males and spayed females will react adversely to bitches in heat.

If you have young children, it’s not a good idea to let them accompany your dog inside the enclosed area of the park. Not all dogs are friendly to, or will even tolerate children. It’s not possible to know the background of every strange dog at a park and some may have either a natural dislike of screaming children or may have had a traumatic experience involving a young child. Dog parks are for dogs, not for children.

A dog park is not a place to polish your dog’s skills nor a place to teach your dog discipline. Respect other dog owners and do your basic training before you expose others to your dog’s not quite ready for prime time skills.

When you’re at the park with your dog – be with your dog. Don’t spend all your time sitting on a bench talking on your cell phone with friends. You need to be alert to what your dog is doing at all times in order to correct any bad behavior or be ready to intervene if a possibly dangerous situation arises that involves your pet.

One of the most important rules for dog parks is always, and I mean always, pick up after your dog. The fastest way to find yourself unwelcome at a dog park is not to pick up your dog’s poop! No one should have to remind you.

If you take one or two dogs to the dog park, there shouldn’t be a problem. Any more than two and you need to bring along a friend or family member to help out in case a fight should break out among any of the dogs. Dogs are pack animals and may decide the best thing they can do when a fight does erupt, is get in on the action!

A dog park should be a place where both you and your dog can spend enjoyable time together, bonding and getting to know one another better. When you’re with your dog at the park follow the well-established rules of the dog park. It’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.

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