Dog Parks Etiquette
Here are some more dog park Miami etiquette guidelines for pet parents and their dogs.
Inappropriate Dog Behavior
While in the dog park, how often do you watch your pup playing and having a great time when the chronic humper comes along and is hip thrusting your dog and every other dog in the park? It may be funny for a brief second, but the reality is that if your dog is sitting down or walking away, they do not wish to engage in the humping behavior of the other dog and this is not a welcome, or mutually agreed upon relationship. If one dog is forcing themselves upon other dogs in the park, it is the responsibility of the pet parent whose dog is the humper to either put their dog on a leash and/or walk them out of the park. It is not OK for them to let their dog disruptive another, annoy or offend any of the other dogs in the park. It’s “natural” is not an excuse or intelligent.
Proper Exercise and Dog Training for your Pup
While many people use the off-leash dog parks as an excuse to not walk their dog or provide them with the necessary enrichment, adequate exercise and/or dog training necessary to maintain a happy, healthy dog, it is not OK to take an overly hyper-active dog into the park to go “crazy” and out of control. A hyperactive, out of control dog brings unbalanced energy into the park, and it negatively affects the entire stability of the dog park and creates an unstable and dangerous environment. Think of the dog park as a Starbucks or a restaurant where dogs gather for fun and socialization not as a race track or MMA gym where they to get their exercise and get their frustrations out. You should be taking your dog to the park after they get a nice long structured dog walk, exercise and some dog training so that they can meet other dogs and socialize and play in a calm, civilized manner that is healthy and safe for all the pets in the dog park.
Proper Supervision From a Dog Behavior Professional
What good is a dog park with residents destroying the atmosphere and disobeying the laws? With no enforcement to adhere to rules and regulations and to detect and remove dogs and pet parents with inappropriate, disruptive behavior, all of these other suggestions are moot. A force-free behavior professional with proper independent certification such as a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT) earned from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), and/or a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) earned from the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) would be a huge bonus to have around to answer all questions relating to dog behavior.
Out of Control Ill-Mannered Dogs That Bum Rush and Mug Other Dogs
Inappropriate growling or bullying is also not permitted in a dog park. The entire balance and ambiance of the park are offset when there is a dogfight, bullying, unaltered or an aggressive dog in the park. If your dog is not dog and people friendly, by no means should they be in a park or anywhere with other dogs off-leash or around people. You should seek professional help from a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant & certified professional dog trainer (CPDT) to help you and your dog before exposing him/her to a dog park and the potential dangers inherent there. Do not risk your dog biting someone, a lawsuit and/or causing the entire balance of the dog park to be disturbed. No one’s life or health should be at risk in the dog park, and it is your responsibility to keep it that way.
Ganging Up on Other Dogs
If you see your dog forming a group or hanging out with a group of other dogs that are chasing after and bothering/mauling every dog that enters the dog park, that is inappropriate and should be stopped immediately. Some dogs naturally form groups and small social gatherings in the park and bully other dogs and cause trouble when they are together. If a parent is not vigilant in watching their dog, then this could occur and go unnoticed. The last thing you want to happen is for a dogfight to break out and your beloved pet or another to get injured. Furthermore, it is just plain rude and unacceptable to allow your dog to bum rush another dog or to gang-up and pick on another dog.
Unaltered Male and Female Dogs
Unneutered male dogs and unspayed female dogs throw off the chemistry of other dogs faster than Boy George eating a corn-dog at a political convention. In addition, unaltered dogs in off-leash dog parks, with their excess marking behavior, and humping/mounting, cause havoc to other dogs socializing and playing. If your dog is marking every bench, chair, tree, shrub, and blade of grass, it is time to get your dog fixed. Marking is not a polite behavior; it is a territorial, controlling, unfriendly and potentially dominating display. Your dog is communicating to all the other dogs, in a not so nice way, that this is his/her territory and marking their scent and advertising that they are unaltered and ready for action and taking over. Again, this disturbs the balance of the park. Often this triggers dogs of both genders to act more aggressively towards your unaltered dog and may cause many hormonal changes within the dog park. If your dog is unaltered, or can’t stop marking, remove them from the off-leash dog park and put them on a leash where you have some control over their behavior and out of harm’s way. Not only is it inappropriate and irresponsible to bring an unaltered dog into a dog park, but it will also extend your dog’s life by almost two years!1-2 Now, who doesn’t want that! Go get your dog spayed and neutered! Miami Dade kills 20,000 + adoptable dogs and cats each year, do we really need any more breeders!! What are you waiting for?
The central theme of dog park and dog beach etiquette is parent responsibility. Responsibility is the hallmark of the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test and others like it and should be required for any pet parent entering a dog park. If you are not a responsible dog parent, you should re-home your dog to a responsible dog parent. Being a pet parent is not a right but a great privilege! If you did not get that memo, now you know.