Dog Park Etiquette

By: Pam Wiese Email
By: Pam Wiese Email

The weather lately has been a good reason to spend time outside with your pet. Here are some tips when visiting a dog park.

First and foremost you need to watch your dog and figure out whether he or she is having a good time. Some dogs may have no desire to play, yet will love to sniff the bushes and trees while others will be thrilled to race another dog from one end of the park to the other. Both types of dogs can benefit from the dog park, they just enjoy it in different ways.

Don't take puppies under 4 months of age because their immune system isn't developed and they could get sick. Don't make your dog stay if he or she is overwhelmed and clearly uncomfortable. Smaller playgroups may be better off to start. Don't use treats or toys when other dogs are nearby as this can lead to fights. Don't allow dogs to form loose packs, this can escalate to aggression. Don't allow a dog to bully another and don't spend time on the cell phone. Your dog needs constant supervision.

Consult with your veterinarian about your dog's health before going to the park. Make sure vaccinations are up to date. Clean up after your dog and take along water. Supervise dog play and interrupt rough play. Leave if your dog is either being a bully, the play is getting too rough or your dog is not having fun. Just like kids, not everyone wants to play together, but by observing your pet you can tell if he or she is confident, scared or somewhere in between. That way you can decide if the dog park, dog day care or maybe just a play date with one another dog is more your dog's style.

At 1:30 p.m. Sunday on the Nebraska Humane Society meadow, a free seminar will be held with trainers talking and demonstrating dog park safety. It's not a play group, so all dogs should be on a leash.

The Nebraska Humane Society at 8929 Fort Street in Omaha is open weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can always look up animals and find information at

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