Mind Your Canine Manners

The lure of the dog park is inescapable. That wide expanse of lush green grass. Trees and bushes and rocks scattered about. Perhaps a high, wire mesh fence for added security. The scent of freedom in the air.
As tempting as the scene may be, it’s wise to ensure that both you and your dog can pass the test in proper dog park etiquette before you even enter the grounds.
There may be no signs posted that declare, “BAD MANNERS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED,” but every well-informed dog owner knows what they are.
For those newbies who have absolutely no clue, the following is a list of the most essential DO’s and DON’T’s of playing at the dog park.
DO keep your dog under control at all times and DO make certain that he always comes when called. Pity those poor owners standing helpless and hoarse, leashes dangling, treat bags drooping, while their own dogs dance off disobediently into the distance.
DO make certain that your dog has been properly socialized beforehand. What’s worse than watching an aggressive dog going after a timid dog, resulting in punishment for one and pet therapy for the other?
DO ensure that your dog is up to date on all of his vaccinations, is heartworm tested and parasite protected. Think about all of those tiny, unseen menaces lurking everywhere — including ticks and fleas and mosquitoes.
DON’T bring an unneutered or unspayed dog to the park. Picture the pandemonium that would ensue. Not to mention the potential for a passle of unplanned pups.
DO monitor the behavior of the other dogs in the park and be alert to possible signs of trouble. Step into referee mode and start dropping penalty flags on the field if loose packs are forming, playing is getting too rough or bullying has begun.
DO be prepared to leave the park if it means avoiding a potentially unpleasant or dangerous situation. Whether it’s your dog’s fault or someone else’s dog, finger pointing is preferable to finger biting. But both should be studiously avoided.
DO be considerate of the other dogs and their — hopefully — considerate owners. Stoop and scoop up carefully after YOUR dog. If you don’t appreciate your dog’s nose sniffing at, or your feet slipping on, another dog’s droppings, you’re certainly not alone.
Forewarned, as they say, is forearmed.
Now go play!
This article was posted with permission by Nomi Berger. Nomi is the bestselling author of seven novels and one work of non-fiction. She lives in Toronto, Ontario with her adopted morkie, Shadow. Nomi now devotes all of her time volunteering her writing skills to animal rescue organizations both in Canada and the USA.