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Dog Parks and Basic Bark Park Etiquette

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Off-leash dog parks are a wonderful recreational outlet for dogs all over the world. The opportunity to run and play with other dogs in a securely fenced environment is a valuable tool in their social developement. Unfortunately, not every dog park is filled with responsible owners, and as in most things, a few unmannerly people can ruin the whole experience for most. Make sure you're not one of those humans by following these basic etiquette tips for bark parks.
Immunized Dogs Only:
Don't bring your unvaccinated dog or puppy in a park full of other dogs. It's just asking for the rapid spread of disease, some that could be fatal, especially to young puppies. Most parks will prohibit the entry of puppies younger than four months as well, the common age when the full range of puppy vaccines have been given.
Bring a Healthy Dog:
Don't bring your sick dog to a dog park! It's just common sense but it's amazing how many people will bring a dog who's currently suffering from kennel cough, or has fleas, or mange, or other health problems.
Clean Up After Your Dog:
To further prevent the unintentional spreading of disease and intestinal parasites, pick up after your dog. Leaving piles for other dog owners to clean up is unforgivably rude and could result in you being fined, and you and your dog being banned from the park.
Human Children at Off-Leash Dog Parks:
There are many good reasons to keep children out of off-leash dog parks, and no good reasons to bring them in. The possibilities for accidents are staggering. Be a responsible parent, and keep your small chiildren in the parks designed for them.
Female Dogs in Heat:
Taking a female dog in heat out in public is unbelievably irresponsible, especially out somewhere where there are dozens of dogs running loose, with many possibly unneutered males.
Don't Bring Too Many Dogs:
Many parks will have a posted limit on the amount of dogs one person can bring into a dog park. It's really best not to bring more than dog than you can handle, even if that number is less than allowable limit.
Don't Bring Other Animals That Are Not Dogs:
For the safety of all concerned, dogs, the other animal, and the people in the park, do not bring animals other than dogs to a dog park.
Be Responsible For Your Dog's Behaviour:
If your dog digs a hole, be responsible, and fill it back in. If he can not play nicely with other dogs on that day, then take him home.
Follow The Posted Rules:
Following each park's individually posted rules and regulations will help keep dog parks open and available to all dogs. Failure to obey the rules can result in your local park being shut down, or worse, cause a serious accident that could have been prevented.

Discussions in the Dog Park Forum About Parks and Socialization
    Rant : Children in Dog Parks - "Most dog parks these days are posted either forbidding children or strongly recommending they don't come in. Are there rules posted on yours? If not, can you contact the group that controls the dog park and ask about some basic rules?"

    Dog Parks : Do they do more harm than good? - "I know that this particular trainer is very much against dog parks. I also feel this view is biased and in my opinion Elmer was signaled out as the "bad dog of the class." However, I was wondering if I am the one that is biased. Are dog parks a good idea? If they aren't what are some good alternative ways to help my puppy release some energy? I thought the dog park was a wonderful thing before now I am worried that it is doing more harm than good?"

    Sequestered dogs: pampering or torture? - "Is it really healthy to keep a small dog shut in the house 24/7? This lady seems very indulgent towards the dog--she's even ordered a custom-made doggie canopy bed--but she's adamant about never letting it go outside."
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