Today, Luna was bullied. Not only was she put down by owners because of her size (“small dogs are not really dogs”) but she was picked on by the fur-child of two of those owners. Their Husky would approach Luna while she was off on her own, swat her with his giant paw, tossing my 13 pound Luna aside like a sack of potatoes, and then would step over her (on purpose) and trample her. He would then follow that up with a hip-check, sending her flying and crying with her tail between her legs. I had to take Luna and go because the owners wouldn’t take their bully dog and leave. While this post was already in the back of my mind, this horrible experience tonight has inspired me to put it out a little faster. Read on for some Dog Park Etiquette tips!
1. Pick up poop!: It is disgusting that some people still do not pick up their dogs waste in dog parks (or outside of dog parks, for that matter). Dog feces contains bacteria that does not agree with the natural eco-system, polluting water sources, the fish within it and also causing illnesses in other dogs. If you don’t plan to scoop, don’t bring your dog to the park to poop!
2. Remove Bully Dogs: If your dog is being a bully, remove them immediately or at least make sure they stay away from the other dog that is doing the bullying. Admit to yourself when YOUR dog is the cause of the problem and do everyone a favour and remove them from the area. Forcing people to remove their dogs that are being bullied will leave a sour taste in the mouth of many dog owners and give you and your dog a bad name. Act responsibly and take control of your canine.
3. Don’t Bring Food: You never know what allergies other dogs have and should you leave some food lying around or should some food slip from your training bag, you could cause serious damage to another dog. If the illness is traced back to you, you could be responsible for a pretty hefty vet bill. Also, food being given to one dog could cause a big swarm of other dogs picking on him/her.
4. Make Sure Puppies Are of Age: It is important to start socializing your dog early but dogs younger than 4months should stay away from dog parks as they are prone to illness, are not sufficiently trained and could cause puppy-havoc.
5. No Heat!: Don’t ever bring a dog who is in heat. The scent could drive even neutered males into madness and your dog could risk getting pregnant.
6. Keep Control: Bring a leash, follow your dog around, keep an eye on all their actions and fix any holes or messes they may have made. To be a well-liked and responsible pet owner, you need to watch over your dog and not just sit back and chat with other owners. Dogs could change their behaviour from one second to the next and it is important that you’re there to keep them in line. Your keen observance means added safety to the fun dog park.
7. Doggie Language: Don’t bring your dog to a dog park if they’re feeling under the weather, if they’re sick or injured or if they’re showing signs of anxiety or fear when they are there. Read your dog and you will make the experience much more fun for the both of you!
The most important tip is to have fun. If you are having fun, your dog will surely be having fun as well. Just remember that safety and paying attention to everything around you is important to having that fun.