Dog Park Confidential
1. Pick up
This one seems almost too obvious to mention, but there are a surprising number of dog owners who seem oblivious to their dog's bathroom breaks. Yes, it's lovely to stand around and talk with a coffee, but keep an eye on your pet. If you notice a dog squatting and its owner seems to have turned a blind eye, politely point it out and offer up a bag. Gold star dog owners even pick up rogue, random poops to keep the park clean.
2. Stay away
If your dog is sick, especially with something such as kennel cough or diarrhea, keep her away from the park until she is better.
3. Keep advice to yourself -- unless asked
Every seasoned dog park-er knows there's the one know-it-all who can't wait to tell you exactly what you're doing wrong with your pup. Don't be that person.
4. Socialize your puppy -- carefully
You want a happy, well-adjusted pup, but do it with caution. Many older dogs aren't huge puppy fans, and many new dog owners can get easily spooked by their displays of dominance. Make sure you talk to your vet about when you can start taking him to the park (he needs to have had all of his shots before playing with the big guys). Better yet, find other puppies in the neighbourhood and let them socialize together in a more secluded area.
5. Keep your balls to yourself
Introducing a game of fetch in a pack can be an invitation to a fight if there are some ball-obsessed dogs in the mix. If your dog can't handle the thought of a faster dog taking away her toy, play her game of fetch away from the pack.
6. Fights happen
Remember: These furry friends are animals, and sometimes to determine pack order, they will scrap. If your dog starts regularly demonstrating aggression, or the fights are becoming habitual, consult a dog trainer or behaviourist right away to curb it.