Know Your Dog Park Etiquette

Woo hoo! We’re going to the dog park! Dogs and Pawrents alike love this poochie paradise. But the dog park is more than just fun and games…it’s about proper socialization. It’s important for dogs of all ages, because it impacts the way they will react to other dogs and people for the rest of their lives. The dog park is the ideal place to give your dog some opportunities for socialization because it’s an enclosed and controlled environment.

Before you let your pup off leash, let’s go over a few things to keep in mind the next time you’re at the dog park.

Know the rules: Every dog park has its own rules posted at the entrance. Make sure you read and abide by them while you are enjoying the facilities. They’re in place so everyone can take advantage of the space. Some parks are meant for smaller dogs while others cater to larger breeds. As well, dog parks have poop and scoop guidelines—don’t leave your dog’s packages on the ground. And always ensure that your pupper has his proper ID tags on him, just in case he gets out of the park.

Keep your eyes on your dog: Leave your cell at home and focus on your dog’s fun. It’s fun to chat with other pet parents and catch up on your status updates, but it only takes a second for a situation to get out of control. By keeping an eye on your dog, you can make sure that heart-stopping issues are prevented or kept under control. It’s important to know what your dog and others around him are doing while you are there—as your dog’s guardian, it’s your responsibility.

Body language: Dogs love to wrestle, and when it happens, it’s usually harmless. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to watch for signs that it may turn aggressive. When a dog has another dog pinned for longer than five seconds, it’s time to interrupt it. Calmly move them away from each other. If your dog’s tail is under his legs or he’s hiding under a table, he’s done playing—time to call it a day and go home. Don’t force him to play with the other dogs if he doesn’t want to.

Dog vaccination: Make sure that your dog has all of his vaccinations before he romps around at the dog park. There are lots of diseases, bugs and parasites just waiting to be picked up by an unwitting dog, and a pooch that isn’t up-to-date on vaccinations or is too young is the perfect target for these illnesses.

Basic commands: Make sure that your dog responds to basic commands before bringing him to the park. Your doggo could ruin everyone else’s good time if he goes wild and doesn’t listen to you. Jumping all over dogs and people, not listening to you—this doesn’t sound like fun. And when your dog doesn’t play nice with other, he becomes a doggie bully…and no one likes a bully.

Barks’ Favorite Local Parks

If you’re looking for a place to exercise and socialize your pooch, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite local dog parks!

Columbia Dog Park – This 2.7 acre dog park offers daily passes for $5-6/day, or yearly permits for $35-40/year depending on where you live and is split into two sections for small and large dogs

Worthington Off-Leash Dog Park in Ellicott City – This park also offers daily passes for $5/day or yearly permits as well! This park also offers two sections for your convenience, one regular area and one area for small/timid/elderly dogs.

Olney Manor Dog Park – This park offers one section for small dogs (20lbs and under) and one for larger dogs (over 20lbs.). This park is also conveniently located right across the street from our Olney store, so don’t forget to stop in and pick up your pup’s favorite treats next time you’re here!

Cabin John Dog Park – This dog park is treed, a little secluded and outside of the DC hustle and bustle. It also offers different sections for different sized dogs.

By: Amy Tokic


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