Know your dog and take others into consideration in order to make visits in dog parks safe and pleasant for everyone

Dog parks are visited by different kinds of dogs of different sizes. The diversity of visitors may further the socialization of a young dog and teach it to read signals of many kinds of dogs. It is however important to make sure that a young dog does not gain unpleasant experiences in the park. That is why it is a good idea to visit the park with familiar dogs or a smaller group of dogs.

All dogs do not enjoy being in the park or do not go well together with other dogs in there. A shy dog may fear other dogs whereas an old dog with aches and pains might be teased by boisterous youngsters. Some dogs may cause other dogs stress by behaving in an intimidating way or by chasing other dogs. There are also dogs that do not get along with dogs of the same sex or otherwise unfamiliar dogs. For some dogs, the owner’s things or a fenced space might trigger aggressive behaviour. In order to make visits to the dog park safe and pleasant for everyone, it is important to know how your dog reacts to other dogs, people, and situations. A considerate visitor also understands that other dogs may differ to their character or behavioural patterns from one’s own dog.

It is a good idea to make yourself acquainted with the dog park’s rules before visiting.  Rules are often found near the gate. Sometimes, the rules may also be found on the town’s website.

Etiquette for dog parks

  • Make sure that your dog is duly vaccinated. 
  • Do not take a bitch in heat or a sick dog to a dog park.
  • If the dog park is divided into separate sections for small dogs and large dogs, stick to the division. Do not take a large dog to the section for small dogs. A small dog can join large dogs at the owner’s responsibility.
  • A dog is taken to and from the dog park on a leash.
  • If another dog is already in the park, ask its owner if it gets along with other dogs. If not, wait for them to leave the park before entering with your dog. 
  • If you are with your dog in the dog park and you are unsure about your dog’s behaviour, leave the dog park when others come there.
  • When going to a dog park, remove your dog’s collar or harness to ensure your dog’s safety.
  • Do not bring your dog’s toys to a dog park and do not throw sticks or snowballs in the park.
  • Be with your dog and do not leave it unattended.
  • Make sure that your dog cannot jump over the fence. Observe that snow piles by the fences lower the height of the fence.
  • Do not let your dog jump on other people.
  • If you have a child with you, ask the owners of other dogs in the park if their dogs are used to children.
  • Clean up your dog’s waste and use the bin reserved for this purpose.
  • Do not let your dog dig holes as they pose a safety risk for running dogs.
  • Make sure that your dog does not disturb the neighbourhood with its barking, especially during night time.

Did you know that the Public Order Act obliges to make sure that the dog park stays clean? According to law, a dog must be supervised by its owner or holder also in dog parks. A dog owner or holder is liable if the dog causes damage to other people or another dog due to wilfulness, carelessness, or incautiousness.