I took my fur babies, Axel Rose and Chelsea to the Bark Park yesterday. My friend, Pam and her pittie, Baby had been going and we thought it would be the perfect thing to do on a sunny and warm December afternoon. This place is awesome!! Small enclosure for smaller dogs and the larger space for the big ones. That’s a sign of a good dog park. There should always be separate spaces because large dogs play a lot harder than the little ones. So, that is Dog Park Etiquette #1….if you have a smaller dog, please use the area designated for a smaller dog. It reduces anxiety for the pups and their owners. This park also had stations set up for doggie bags, not the restaurant kind either! I typically bring my own mainly because being a dog walker means you have a stash in your car or work bag. Dog Park Etiquette #2……use the dang bags and deposit them in the appropriate trash container. There is nothing worse than an inconsiderate dog owner who acts like he doesn’t see the dog poop and therefore ignores the mess. Unhealthy for everyone that enters the park. And speaking of entering the park, this one is set up with two gates to enter in order to allow the dogs what I would call breathing room before they come in to play. It also helps to eliminate the issue of a dog escaping unbeknownst to its owner. Dog Park Etiquette #3…..be aware as you enter and exit the park. Be sure gates are secure when you come through. Is there a big dog that needs to get out and head home? Maybe you could step back and let him/her go ahead of you. The dog owners that I met were wonderful! Everyone loves to talk about their crazy pups and all the funny behaviors they have. It’s a great place for dog lovers to gather. But what has to be remembered is that you should always know where your dog is. After the initial patrol of the park borders and after having smelled every behind they could find, my dogs stuck pretty close to me. Now, Pam’s Baby is quite different. Being a puppy, she just wanted to play and play and play. Perfect!! She has fabulous manners and plays fairly. When play gets out of hand, owners would step in to correct the behavior. Such was the case when Chelsea decided to take on a big, male yellow lab and she wasn’t kidding either. I immediately grabbed her and put her leash back on. Because she had been the aggressor, it was my responsibility to control her. Dog Park Etiquette #4………if your dog becomes too excited and there is some aggression, please releash your dog until it has calmed down. Many dogs just get so excited with all of the sensory overload that a nip here or a bite there could be nothing. Only you know our dog’s temperament and we all want safety to be a big part of the dog park experience. Another nice feature of this park is that they provide water because these pups are running and chasing and having a ball and they need to be hydrated just like people do. However, it’s a good idea to bring your own water just in case. This park had turned off the water as a precaution for the winter weather. Ergo, your own source is good for your pup and it can be shared. It’s a nice gesture. That would be Dog Park Etiquette #5…water
In conclusion, it was a wonderful experience for me and my dogs. A fabulous time was had by all. You will notice that these rules of etiquette mainly are concerned with the pet owner’s behavior. You see, dogs already have a system of hierarchy that was established millions of years ago, it’s called “pack behavior”. They are hard-wired with it, it is as natural to them as breathing. So when you go to the park, don’t worry about your dog they know the rules!