Dog Park Etiquette Part I

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A dog with pet insurance runs in a dog park.

By: Chryssa Rich
For Pets Best Insurance

For many dog owners, dog parks are a necessary part of life. They’re a great way to let your dog burn energy, socialize and get a change of scenery. But what happens when your favorite park starts to go south? We recently asked pet insurance enthusiasts to share their biggest dog park pet peeves on the Pets Best Insurance Facebook page. Read and take heed, so you can avoid being “that guy”, so to speak.

1. Follow Park Rules
Most parks have posted rules that cover the basics – no smoking, clean up after your dog, use a leash when coming and going, etc. But some have additional requirements that your dog be current on vaccinations or even spayed or neutered. Respect these rules for the comfort of all dog owners, and to prevent yourself and your pup from getting the boot.

Oh, and clean up after your dog! It was the #1 complaint we heard from fellow dog owners. Many parks even provide plastic bag dispensers for your convenience.

2. Check Park Safety
When you first arrive, make sure the fences are fully intact so your dog can’t leave the premises. If there are playground or agility toys, make sure they’re not too hot in the summer, or covered with ice in the winter. Check any community Frisbees or tennis balls to ensure they’re not breaking into pieces that could get lodged in a dog’s throat. Because accidents can happen no matter what, it’s always a good idea to have dog insurance for your four-legged friend.

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3. Know What’s Fair Play
Normal play between dogs of all sizes includes parallel running, pouncing, chasing, nipping, tug-of-war and even light growling. Unless one dog is yelping or trying to escape or hide, there’s generally no reason for concern and no need to scold another dog or pet owner.

If a situation does escalate, use a leash to remove your dog and ask the other dog’s owner to do the same. NEVER pick up a dog that’s agitated or in a fight, no matter how small he or she might be.

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4. Expect from Your Dog What You Expect from Others
Snarling, aggressive growling, lunging and biting are inappropriate behaviors, whether your dog is a 3-pound Chihuahua or a 70-pound Rottie. If your dog exhibits these behaviors, remove him or her from the park (on-leash) and opt for a less stimulating setting.

5. Be in the Moment
When the dog is occupied and there’s a nice shady bench nearby, it can be tempting to reach for your smartphone to answer emails and check your Facebook page. But distracted pet owners are a big no-no in dog parks. You need to be alert in case your dog tries to escape, harasses another dog, or makes a mess that requires attention. Besides, disconnecting for a few minutes can make the experience a relaxing break for you as well.

Check back next week for Dog Part Etiquette Part II – our Facebook friends were full of advice!

For more information about pet health insurance and pet health, visit Pets Best Insurance.

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