Play Nice: Good Manners, Canine Style

© K9 of Mine

With warm weather on the horizon and a holiday weekend ahead, chances are you’ll see a lot more people out and about enjoying the outdoors with their dogs. Some dogs, like people, are super-social and love spending time with others. If you have a dog like this, a dog park might be a fun destination.  The website K9 of Mine has an excellent overview of the advantages and disadvantages of dog parks, do’s and don’ts, and dog-friendly alternatives if a dog park isn’t a good choice for you. It’s definitely worth reading the entire article. Find that here.

Before you turn your own Fido loose into a crowd of canine revelers, let’s review  what the AKC calls the common-sense rules of dog parks:

  • Should your pet show signs of illness or a contagious disease, don’t bring him/her to the park.

  • Don’t bring a puppy less than four months old or a female dog in heat.

  • Keep an eye on your dog! Don’t let your dog be aggressive with another dog.

  • Obviously, you should pick up after your dog.

  • Don’t bring food for yourself or your dog.

  • Bring a portable water bowl for your dog – water bowls at dog parks carry the risk of communicable illnesses.

  • Keep your small dog in the designated small-dog section of the park – even if he/she enjoys hanging out with the big dogs.

  • Bring a ball, but be prepared to lose it.

  • Don’t let your dog run in a pack. Intervene when play starts to get too rough


For more helpful suggestions about dog parks, check out this handy poster from Tail Wags Playground (click to enlarge):


Interested in establishing a dog park in your own community? Check out this infographic from the AKC or their handy guide, complete with success stories!

14 thoughts on “Play Nice: Good Manners, Canine Style

    1. Thanks for reblogging!

      Although Sasha is not well suited for dog parks (t least right now), I realize they’re popular with many people and all of us benefit from safety reminders!

  1. I tried to post on you last blog but messed up. I like this information so much I am reblogging it on my site. Dog parks did not exist when we had our German Shorthairs. Dogs were allow to run where ever they want. I hope some day the same will be the same for cats. I am looking forward to your next book and will be delighted to read and ARC and write a review for it.

  2. I’ve only taken my dog to a dog park twice, in late fall and in winter, when no one else was there. She liked being off leash, but honestly, she walked next to me the whole time, and I could have done that other places as well. I don’t want to have a run in with another, out of control, dog, so I avoid dog parks in general.

    1. Like your Katie, my Sasha isn’t a good fit for dog parks. I do think it’s important that we each evaluate our own dog’s comfort level when considering activities like this.

      By the way, I always enjoy reading your blog! Thanks for sharing such lovely photos and of course, Katie’s stories!

  3. kathyg92256

    I have found that the pet convincer works very well to distract a dog from misbehaving with other dogs. Use sparingly though.

      1. kathyg92256

        I just typed in “pet convincer” in the search box and it came right up. I think by the poorer reviews on Amazon that the people are not using it correctly. Short blasts near them (it is not supposed to be loud as one person stated) but not in their face. It was recommended to me by a trainer when I had problems with a dog I adopted who was having issues getting along with my current “dog pack.” It worked like a charm. Another time I used it when I was at the vet’s office. The dog I had with me that day had issues with a large dog who just came in to the waiting room. I tried a short blast and that was enough to distract both dogs. Now if my dogs are “misbehaving,” I pick it up and they immediately change their behavior. I suppose it may not work with all dogs but it has worked every time I used it. I bought it 3 years ago along with the 10 cartridges and I still have 5 or 6 cartridges not used.

    1. Thanks for reading! Your website is excellent! I’m researching dog parks for book #3 in my series and your advice about dog parks was some of the most helpful I’ve found.

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