Dog Park Etiquette: Part 3

Dogs — or their parents — behaving badly? Fear not. We’re here to guide you through every dog park pickle. We laid the foundation for dog park etiquette in part one of this series, then got deeper into your dog park dilemmas in part two. Now, we’re going to take one final look at how to handle bad manners at the dog park!

Someone Brings a Small Child Into the Dog Park

Warn the parents. Let them know the dogs at the park are friendly but high-energy. Perhaps even add that you once saw an unsuspecting kid get steamrolled by a clumsy but well-meaning Collie. Consider pointing out a bench, grassy area, or playground outside of the park’s parameters where their tots might be able to play more safely. The tone you’re going for is informative and thoughtful. You know, as opposed to bossy and controlling.

Your Dog Gets Into a Fight

So, your dog got into a fight at the dog park. You disciplined your pup, but the other dog’s parent completely disregarded the situation. Unfortunately, there’s nothing left to do. It’s not your place to correct another dog, and giving unsolicited dog-parenting advice to the human is hardly ever appreciated. Best case scenario, the owner ignores you. Worst case, the confrontation turns ugly, and everyone — including the canines — loses. If you notice a pattern with this pair, and you’re able to establish a rapport with the dog parent, a well-timed offer could do the trick: “Let me know if you want the name of my behaviorist — she’s terrific!”

Your Dog Jumps Up On Someone at the Dog Park and Stains Their Clothes

Your dog couldn’t contain their excitement, jumped up on another dog parent, and soiled their white pantsuit. Should you offer to pay for the dry cleaning? Nah. That’s ridiculous, like expecting Disney World to refund your lunch after you toss your cookies on Space Mountain. Don’t bring your Golden Retriever to the glass miniatures exhibit. Don’t hire the aquarium guy to fix your plumbing. And don’t wear white clothing to the dog park. A simple apology should suffice.

You Step in Dog Poop — And You Know Which Parent Failed to Scoop!

Your best bet is to simply walk away (after vigorously wiping said shoe on the grass). Even if you’re 100 percent confident it was Tinkerbell who laid the log, actually proving it is difficult at best. And let’s face it: no one wants to be standing around arguing about whose poop it is when your shoe smells like it just blew in from an outhouse. Face it, solid waste happens. At least you weren’t wearing sandals…right? Right?!

Now that you know all about dog park etiquette, read up on off-leash etiquette and trail etiquette when hiking with dogs!

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