Don’t bring your unvaccinated dog or puppy in a park full of other dogs. It’s just asking for the rapid spread of disease, some that could be fatal, especially to young puppies. Most parks will prohibit the entry of puppies younger than four months as well, the common age when the full range of puppy vaccines have been given.

Bring a Healthy Dog:
Don’t bring your sick dog to a dog park! It’s just common sense but it’s amazing how many people will bring a dog who’s currently suffering from kennel cough, or has fleas, or mange, or other health problems.
Clean Up After Your Dog:

To further prevent the unintentional spreading of disease and intestinal parasites, pick up after your dog. Leaving piles for other dog owners to clean up is unforgivably rude and could result in you being fined, and you and your dog being banned from the park.
Human Children at Off-Leash Dog Parks:

There are many good reasons to keep children out of off-leash dog parks, and no good reasons to bring them in. The possibilities for accidents are staggering. Be a responsible parent, and keep your small children in the parks designed for them.
Female Dogs in Heat:
Taking a female dog in heat out in public is unbelievably irresponsible, especially out somewhere where there are dozens of dogs running loose, with many possibly unneutered males.
Don’t Bring Too Many Dogs:

Many parks will have a posted limit on the amount of dogs one person can bring into a dog park. It’s really best not to bring more than dog than you can handle, even if that number is less than allowable limit.
Don’t Bring Other Animals That Are Not Dogs:

For the safety of all concerned, dogs, the other animal, and the people in the park, do not bring animals other than dogs to a dog park.
Be Responsible For Your Dog’s Behavior:

If your dog digs a hole, be responsible, and fill it back in. If he can not play nicely with other dogs on that day, then take him home.
Follow The Posted Rules:
Following each park’s individually posted rules and regulations will help keep dog parks open and available to all dogs. Failure to obey the rules can result in your local park being shut down, or worse, cause a serious accident that could have been prevented
Tips For Bringing KidsWe want a visit to the park to be an enjoyable experience for everyone. One reason for development of this area was to provide a space away from park playgrounds and playing fields where dogs could be free to run without disrupting families with children. You may bring your kids to the park, but please be aware that the very fact that there is a pack of dogs running around changes the dynamics a bit. Not all dogs in the park have children in their homes. Some of them have not been exposed to kids, or may even simply not like them. In the interest of keeping the park a safe, fun place for everyone, please watch your children closely and read the following recommendations.

Children are susceptible to contracting intestinal parasites in areas where urine and feces are present. This is why dogs are often prohibited from playgrounds and schoolyards. Be sure that you and your child always wear shoes in the
park. Be aware that children can also pick up fleas.

This is not the place to bring a child to “get him/her over their fear of dogs”
Not all dogs are friendly with children. While some dogs will avoid children, others will harass them. (note to dog owners: whether you have children in your house or not, it is a good idea to socialize your dogs with children as much as possible- this will alleviate potential problems for everyone involved.)

NEVER allow your child to approach or pet a dog without the owner’s permission and presence. Children are easily run over and knocked down by running dogs. Some herding breeds may nip at kids in an attempt to round them up. A running, yelling child attracts attention and becomes a target for many dogs because he resembles an injured animal or running prey. Do not allow your child to wildly wave his arms around.

NEVER let a child bring food or toys to the park. Even a friendly dog may go after a treat. One adult to supervise several children and the family dog is not enough. Make sure that you can take care of everyone you bring with you.

PARENTS: Teach your children how to behave around animals and what to do in case of any emergency before bringing them to the park:

NEVER RUN: Hide face, fold arms and stand still. If necessary, lie down, tuck arms and legs into the body and lie still. In both cases, wait for help or until the dog leaves. Direct eye contact (staring) is confrontational and a challenge. A child is at just the right height for this, and, therefore, at risk.

We strongly suggest that children under the age of 8 be closely supervised by an adult; this means keeping them within your arm’s reach. Note to parents of infants: some dogs may jump to investigate babies in front or back packs. While most are merely curious and friendly, some have strong prey instincts and may mistake the baby for a small injured animal.

Doggy Manners

If you’ve ever been to the dog park, or anyplace where dogs are free to run, play and interact with each other, you may see how happy and exuberant many of the dogs appear to be. It is a wonderful thing to watch as the dogs play “tag,” “keep-away,” chase, fetch, etc.

  • Play Stimulates communal behavior.
  • Facilitates social interactions.
  • Molds adult behavior, particularly through the role of the learning curve.
  • Establishes early, strong social relationships, although the role of social
    hierarchy and its development in play is less clear.
  • Enhances physical and mental dexterity.
  • Improves coordination.
  • Provides a venue for safe experimentation and the first demonstration
    of ritual and ritualized behaviors.
  • Provide puppies with an outlet to learn about social rules and predictability
    through sequences of events.
  • Provide puppies with an outlet for exploration.
  • Provide them with a safe outlet for increasingly complex problem solving. What’s even more fascinating to see is all the “talking” that goes on between all the dogs. Dogs, being social, group animals have an intricate way of communicating with one another. Through a series of facial expressions, ear, tail, head positions, eye and mouth position, they are able to communicate and read the intentions of one another.

The problem is that not all dogs are good at speaking or reading their own language. Many are socially inept and can be rude or even down right mean. When dogs don’t speak “dog” and don’t play well with others, it’s usually for one or a combination of three reasons: genetics, learned behavior, or poor socialization.

Learned Behavior:
The dog’s natural propensities can and will be modified by how you raise the dog. Improper, harsh and abusive training methods, no training at all, abuse, etc can turn any dog into an aggressive anti-social, danger to society. It is critical that you raise your dog in an environment that doesn’t allow him to be teased, threatened, tormented or attacked by other dogs or people (kids included).

Socialize, Socialize, Socialize:
The most common reason for dogs not getting along with others is a lack proper socialization. If you keep your dog isolated or only expose him to limited environments, you run the risk of your dog developing anti-social, aggressive or fearful behavior.

When your dog says “hello”:
When your dog is greeting another dog be aware of both of the dogs’ demeanors. Friendly postures generally involve the dog making him or herself “smaller” relative to the other dog. This, along with other physical posturing, serves to decrease their potential threat to others. Dogs exhibiting passive submission tend to have an averted gaze, lower their neck and ears, lick, groom and paw.

Not so friendly greetings involve the dog making itself appear larger. Erect stance, head up, ears forward, tail up (possibly flicking tip), piloerection (hair up on neck/back, puffed tail hair), direct stare (pupils may or may not be dilated), raised lips, low tone growl, snapping, etc. There are some agnostic behaviors that are considered normal but may not be well received by some dogs, such as, mounting, chasing, pinning and the like.

You, as your dog’s owner, shouldn’t forget common sense or your responsibility for your dog’s behavior. You cannot control other people’s dogs but you certainly should be able to control your own. Don’t confuse control with punishment. You don’t need to be a dictator with your dog. You can give him as much slack as you want, but when you say “enough” the dog needs to know that you mean it. A well-mannered dog is one who does what you want him to do when you want him to do it. Controlling through intimidation doesn’t work any better with dogs than with children. (Dr. Nicholas Dodman, 2000)

You need to understand the personality, characteristics of your dog and mold your expectations around that understanding. If your dog has exhibited aggressive, or any other inappropriate behavior(s) while running in the dog park, it is incumbent upon you to (1) not take your dog to the park or (2) take the necessary steps to teach your dog how to behave appropriately in a social setting. It is a task well worth the time needed to change your dog’s attitude.