What are the Rules at a Dog Park?
Dog parks are popular destinations. They offer dogs an opportunity to play, socialize, and expend pent-up energy. It is a safe outdoor, fresh-air activity. But with all the fun comes responsibility. Each park usually has its own rules posted to protect the safety of visitors. Following the rules and etiquette of a dog park can help keep you and your pet safe.Common Dog Park Features
According to the American Kennel Club, dog parks should be fenced to keep dogs contained while unleashed. Shaded areas are also recommended, along with benches for pet parents to relax while they supervise. The park should also have a water source to keep dogs hydrated. Lastly, a pet waste station with bags and a trash receptacle help to keep the area clean.Do Dog Parks Have Rules?
There is unwritten dog park etiquette, and each city also establishes its own rules for local dog parks. Most of the time, the rules are posted on a fence or an entrance to the park. The posted rules should be followed at all times. Here are some of the most common park rules:
- Respect Separated Areas. Many parks include separate areas for leashed and off-leash canines. The off-leash area will obviously be enclosed. Some dog parks have separate areas based on the dog's size, so large breeds can have an area to romp and play without harming or intimidating smaller dogs.
- Owners are Responsible for Their Pets at all Times. Pet parents must take responsibility for their dog's behavior at all times. It is important to make sure that your dog is not aggressive and is properly socialized with other humans and dogs before allowing such an outing.
- Clean Up After Your Pet. Like many park rules, this one should go without saying. If your dog does his business, it is your job to collect, bag, and properly dispose of the waste. Leaving a mess is unsanitary and unsightly.
- Vaccines are Required. All canine visitors to a dog park should be current on their vaccinations.
Staying safe at the dog park requires caution and vigilance but should not require you to hover over your pet the entire time you are there. Below are more common sense, universal rules for keeping your dog safe at the dog park.
- No Puppies. It is best not to bring puppies younger than four months to the dog parks. Dogs that young have not received all their required shots and could be at risk for catching illnesses from other dogs.
- Pay Attention. Do not get distracted while your dog is playing off-leash. Watch him and the other dogs at all times. This time should be about letting your dog play and get exercise safely, not about concentrating on your phone or catching up with friends. Problems at parks most often occur when owners ignore their pets. The best way to stay safe is to be a vigilant parent.
- Save the Treats for the Car or at Home. It is safest to give your dog his treats after you leave the park. Handing out treats while at the dog park can create competition with other dogs. It may even start a dog fight.
Watch the YouTube video. Below, dog expert Cesar Millan offers etiquette tips for dog parks.Rancho Murieta Dog Bite Lawyer
Thank you for reading - I'm Ed Smith, a Rancho Murieta dog bite attorney. Dog parks are generally pleasant places. Most dog owners follow the rules and etiquette that help to keep all dog park visitors safe. However, if you suffer a dog bite, the owner may be legally responsible to pay for your damages. If this has happened to you, our injury lawyers can provide free, friendly advice. Do not hesitate to call my office at (916)921.6400 or (800)404.5400.
To review some of our prior case results, please visit our Verdicts and Settlements page.
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