Bark Etiquette

Going to the dog park can be as much fun for the owner as it is for the dog! To make sure that you both have a relaxing and fun time, here are a few Doggie-Dos (!) and Doggie-Don'ts:


  • Keep an eye on your dog and make sure s/he is having a good time. And a good time isn't always about playing with new friends; it can be about sniffing bushes and trees and just wandering around free.
  • Make sure your pup is healthy, and consult your veterinarian if you have any questions.
  • Check to be sure your dog is up-to-date on his/her vaccinations.
  • Many dog parks will check your pooch's license, so make sure he/she is up to date and wearing I.D. tags.
  • Observe other the dogs - be sure that nobody else's dog has health or behavior problems that might affect your precious pup.
  • Clean up after your dog! Bring a pooper scooper or bags - don't count on the park to provide these essential items.
  • Supervise dogs when they are playing and stop any rough play before it turns ugly!
  • Be flexible, and be prepared to leave the dog park if you feel that your dog is either being aggressive or bullying, the play is getting too rough, or your dog is just not having fun.
  • If you have a puppy, make sure s/he's not being bullied or learning bad manners from the other dogs.
  • Fill holes that your dog digs.
  • Check the dog park's rules before you go.
  • Leave your dog on leash when you enter the park, and put his/her leash back on when you leave it.
  • Take lots of pictures!


  • Bring very young dogs (under 4 months of age).
  • Take very sensitive dogs to an enclosed dog park that may be crowded.
  • Drag your dog to the park against his/her will.
  • Give your dogs treats or toys when other dogs are around.
  • Let your dog join a loose pack.
  • Allow your dog to bully another.
  • Let your dog off-leash if there's no fence and s/he is not responsive to your verbal commands.
  • Bring intact males or females in heat to a dog park.
  • Bring small children or infants. A frightened or excited child can trigger a dog's instinct to chase.
  • Eat lunch or otherwise bring in human food.
  • Get distracted (talking on your cell, texting, etc.) - supervise your dog at all times and give him/her your full attention!

© 2008-2016 Sandi Stern. All rights reserved.