Probably judging you. Photo: Roberto Lopez via Unsplash
The Dog Park: a magical place for many pups and their people. A place to let dogs be dogs. To sniff ‘n stroll, romp ‘n roll, or stretch their legs and open up like the place is a canine Autobahn. To socialize, work on manners, and test obedience. And to lose the doggone leash already!
1. Inattentive owners.
This was one of the most common laments, like Natalia O.’s experience: “Your dog just smashed into my dog and hurt him but you didn’t even notice.” To avoid the hairy eyeball, keep your eye on Fido.
2. Poor manners.
“Owning a fearful dog has taught me to be hyper-aware of dog body language. When I take my other dog to the dog park, it is so hard to watch other dogs getting bullied, and their owners not interceding,” Brian S. says. “Watching a dog repeatedly try to hump another dog gets old fast,” Jim D. adds. A couple of folks also pointed to the importance of keeping big dogs outta the designated little-dog areas (and in some cases, vice-versa).
3. Poop apathy.
“Just because it’s in an inconvenient spot doesn’t mean you get to leave it there. PICK IT UP!” (if you please), Kristine H. says.
4. Toys ‘n treats.
Unless your dog is happy to share her frisbee, leave it home — or at least hang at a less-populated part of the park. “If my dog happens to get in on your game please don’t get mad at me or my dog,” Meagan F. says. Treats are also a no-go: “Other dogs sniff them out and then it can become a problem,” Michelle H. notes.
5. Hooman kiddos.
“If you MUST bring small children, please watch them and don’t let them run around. My herders will want to herd them!,” Kelli B. says. A related issue was raised by @savvy522 on Instagram: “A small child can easily get knocked over.”
- “Bringing an unspayed/unneutered dog.” – @dukeoflongisland on Instagram. [Ed. note: Dog parks rules clearly state that you should NOT bring gals in heat. Doesn’t mean all dogs MUST be spayed/neutered; does mean know thy intact dog, watch them ultra-carefully, and intercede if hormone-driven situations occur.]
- “Keeping a dog on a leash at an off-leash park.” – @chelsear94 on Instagram [Ed. note: Everyone on or everyone off. A mix of both can mess with dogs’ natural approaches and reactions.]
- “Not expecting to get dirty — mud, water, and slobber are part of the deal.” – Kerry O. [Ed. note: YASSS! Dress for the occasion and expect the potential of messy greetings or collateral damage.]
Share these to-don’ts with newbie owners or as a gentle reminder to all. Then go forth and get yo’ off-leash fun on!