Dog park etiquette for idiots
Here in the land of Phoenix, Arizona, there are only a few weeks left before dogs everywhere will be forced to hibernate for the summer. Afternoon strolls turn into early morning marathon pee breaks. Sunbathing on the porch becomes a health hazard. And those relished trips to the doggie park become a distant memory of cooler times. So as we’re on the home stretch of spring, here’s what you can do to make everyone’s dog park experience one that doesn’t end with poop on your shoes.
Control your dog. It’s adorable when the super-friendly Golden Retriever jumps up to lick the face of a stranger. Or when the tiny Chihuahua barks ferociously at the giant human. But that cuteness is temporary. After a while the repeated muddy paw prints and slobber start to wear on the average human and the high-pitched, oddly loud noise coming from that small dog starts to sound like nails on a chalkboard. So manage your dogs. Behavior is everything.
If you bring kids, control them too. You are at a dog park. It’s meant for dogs. Children are in no way unwelcomed, but they should also be controlled. A small child running at full speed across the length of the dog park is begging for a dog-following. Sometimes that can end with a child/dog trampling. Plus not all dogs are familiar with kids. Unexpected movements or noises can spook a childless dog, leading to bad things like nips or bites. So manage your kids too.
Don’t bring more dogs than you can handle. I see it all the time. The litter of miniature greyhounds. The house full of rescue dogs that are being fostered. Or the dog-walker who has one too many dogs to actually walk. But a single human can’t responsibly manage multiple dogs. So please make multiple trips.
No, it’s not cute when your dog can’t stop gyrating. Please make it stop. Most of us are fixed and far removed from those instincts for animal intimacy. We prefer to hang out, run around and make new friends. That can’t happen when we’re being stalked by dogs with one-track, puppy-making minds.
Pick up the poop. This is the most very basic doggie park rule yet many humans completely ignore it. No one wants to step in a pile of crap. No one wants their dog to step in a pile of crap and track it in the car and then the house. Clean up after your dog. Most parks actually provide plastic dog poo bags, so you have no excuses.
The dog park experience should be one of bliss for dogs. But that won’t happen if their humans are annoyed by other humans with no dog park etiquette. So follow these simple rules and let us dogs enjoy the last of the outdoors until September rolls around.