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Dog park etiquette 101: How people and pets should behave

7 tips for every good dog (and good dog owner) to keep the dog park experience enjoyable for all.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Ever notice that one person at the dog park that just doesn’t seem to follow the rules? No? Well, hate to say it, but then maybe it’s you! Dog parks are great places to exercise your pup, meet other dog lovers and spend some time outdoors. Unfortunately, there are some pet owners that are ruining it for everyone else. Here’s a friendly reminder of how people and pets should behave.

#1: Don't bring your puppy to the park

"A lot of people think dog parks are the best place to socialize your dog and really that's kind of the farthest from the truth. You can't control the situation, you don't know the other dogs, you don't know what the other owners are doing, so they actually can have some pretty scary experiences, so I for sure think you should wait until your dog is older before bringing it to a dog park,” says Rachel Mairose, Executive Director and Founder of Second Hand Hounds.

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She also adds that puppies are not fully vaccinated, so it’s safer for them to stay home.

#2: Keep your kids at home too

"You never know when a dog has been socialized with kids, if they like kids, it's a dangerous situation for your dog and for your kids,” says Mairose.

#3 & 4: Leave food and favorite toys at home

Those Items are likely to cause fights. Some dogs are possessive about those two things and you don’t want and ugly situation when another dog tries to take them. 

#5: Put down the phone

Rachel says it’s important to keep your eyes on your dog to watch their behavior and see how they’re interacting with other animals. 

#6: Know your dog 

If your dog is aggressive or has had issues with other dogs in the past, just don't bring them.

"Don't feel bad if your dog can not go to the dog park. Two out of my three dogs cannot go to the dog park, and that's fine, they have their own situation, and I know that and I respect that, and one of my dogs loves the dog park,” she says. 

Breed and size shouldn’t matter when it comes to the dog park, It’s demeanor that should be the deciding factor. And, if you're not sure, do a trial run, maybe with dogs of family or friends.

#7: Dogs in heat and unneutered males should stay away 

Both of those can create some serious situations at the dog park, so it’s best to find another outlet to let your dog out.

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