Most parks post a set of dog park rules that dogs and dog owners must follow in order to provide a safe environment for dogs of all breeds and sizes. Here is a sampling of important dog park rules to consider employing:
Leash vs. Off-Leash
• It’s important to keep dogs on leashes at all times except in designated “off-leash” areas. When “off-leash,” dogs must be under voice control of their owners at all times.
• Dog owners must have the leash accessible at all times – in hand, around the body or in a pocket – in order to leash their dog and remove them from the premise quickly, if necessary.
• Aggressive dogs should not be allowed in the park. Any dog who engages in fighting and aggressive behavior who cannot be easily controlled by their owner should not participate in dog park activities.
• Dogs in heat should not be permitted in the park at any time.
Vaccinations & Age Limits
• All dogs must have up-to-date vaccinations in order to enter and enjoy the dog park to maintain a healthy environment.
• Dog owners need to be able to show proof of current rabies shots and other vaccinations for their dogs at all times, preferably having applicable license tags visible.
• Puppies under four months of age should not be permitted to enter the dog park because their immune systems are still developing and they may not have had their vaccinations yet.
Dog Owner & Human Responsibilities
• Dog owners are legally responsible for their dogs and any injuries caused by them at all times.
• Dog owners must remain in the park and keep their dog in view at all times, especially in “off-leash” areas. It’s important to remember that dog owners are always responsible for the behavior of their dog(s).
• It is advised that no infants or small children be permitted in the dog park for their own safety. However, if permitted, they must be under the supervision of an adult at all times.
• Human and/or dog food and treats should be allowed in the dog park on a very limited basis, if at all. Care should be taken to not have treats trigger any behavior or sharing issues among dogs in the dog park.
• In order to maintain a clean and healthy environment for dogs and their owners, owners need to clean up all their dogs’ feces immediately. All dog parks should provide proper bagging and disposal receptacles.
• Attendees who notice rule violators are encouraged to report these violations to park authorities by sending evidence via text, email or written letter. Park officials have the right to disallow entrance into the dog park of park violators.
From Arden Moore, The Pet Health and Safety Coach