Bark Park Etiquette

Bark Park Etiquette

Everyone wants to take their dog to the Bark Park at least once so that their dog can romp and play with their other canine buddies.  But not all dogs are good candidates for the bark park.  The rule of thumb is all dogs that are healthy and friendly are welcome.  Not welcome are body slammers, bullies, markers, or barkers!   The Bark Park is not just about the dogs though… Dog owners should follow proper etiquette too.  Good pet owner etiquette means watching your dog’s interactions with the other dogs and taking responsibility for your dog’s actions.   If you ignore your dog while at the dog bark, only pay attention to other humans, and don’t watch your dog, you are displaying bad pet owner manners.  For pet owner bad manners, check out this video:

Consider the following before taking your dog to the local dog park:

  • Your dog should be friendly and outgoing with other dogs and people without being overbearing, obnoxious, or bullying
  • He should be fairly self confident and socialFearful, aggressive, or reactive dogs are not appropriate at the Bark Park
  • He should have good manners meaning your dog should not body slam, snap or bite while playing or urine mark people or other dogs.
  • Your dog should still react to obedience commands such as “Come”, “Leave It”, “Sit/Down” and others
  • Barking should be kept at a reasonable level.  Occasional yelps for playful joy are okay, but obsessive barking or defensive barking is not acceptable
  • Only healthy dogs should visit the bark park.  If your dog is not vaccinated, or has structural problems such as lameness, arthritis, hip dysplasia, or other physical issues, then they are a high risk factor for either getting hurt or causing aggression/reactive incidents.

Owners need to be on their best behavior too… It is not social hour at the park.

All pet owners should follow these rules:

  • Make sure your dog is current on all vaccinations and vet agrees that dog’s overall condition is strong and healthy before taking dog to park bark
  • Obey all of the posted rules, even if you disagree with them!
  • Limit your use of toys and food treats to avoid dog – dog conflicts
  • Keep puppies under 4 months old home.  They will not be fully vaccinated and would be at high risk of contracting diseases
  • Be realistic about your dog’s ability to interact with the other dogs socially.  The bark park is not an appropriate place to work on behavioral issues.
  • Watch dogs at play for several minutes before you take your dog into the park to play to be sure their are no dogs who would pose a threat to your dog.
  • Remove your dog’s leash as soon as you enter the off-leash area.  Mixing on-leash and off-leash dogs can be very stressful for the dog who is on leash and may lead to aggression or reactivity
  • Supervise your dog’s play!
  • Apologize if your dog has behaved inappropriately and leave if your dog is being too rough with other dogs or isn’t having a good time
  • Be polite, even if someone else’s dog behaves inappropriately
  • Enlist another person’s help if you try to break up a dog fight.  Each person should grab the rear legs of the dogs fighting and walk backwards to disengage them
  • Have fun!  Both you and your dog should have fun at the bark park!

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