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Dog Park Etiquette
January 13, 2021
Many of our Bivvy pet parents are working millennials who have their own dog for the first time, and not a lot of spare time on their hands. They’re in the formative days of building their own lives and careers, and have a lot to juggle, including trying to give their beloved pups their best, most active lives.
If that’s you, then you’re probably familiar with a little modern invention called the dog park. Often touted as *the place to be* for dogs and their people, many think of the dog park as a wonderful thing. And it is that! If you play by the rules.
If you’re a dog parent wondering if the dog park is a good idea or what rules you need to follow, you’ve come to the right place!
Dial In Your Pup’s Health
We’re all about responsible dog parenting at Bivvy, and that includes making sure you’ve checked all of the medical boxes before you snap on the leash and start heading to a dog park. First of all, make sure your dog is up to date on vaccines and parasite protocols.
And if your dog’s not spayed or neutered, the other dog parents may thank you for simply not bringing them. Or if you do, keep a very close eye out for not only mating but fighting.
If you want the dog park to be part of your life, it’s not just about you and your own dog and preferences anymore. By willfully going to have your dog interact in an up-close-and-personal way with others, you owe it to them and their humans to have your own healthy pup that won’t introduce illnesses. Dog insurance eases the financial burden of going the extra mile to get your pup healthy for the dog park. Bivvy Wellness Care is an add-on that’s available in select states that covers many types of routine and preventative care.
Leave Your Babies (Both Kinds) at Home—For Now
And speaking of pups, if your dog is one in the true sense of the word—we’re talking younger than four months old, now’s not the time for the dog park. If they’re not fully vaccinated at this point, they may come into contact with illnesses that they don’t yet have immunity to. Plus, they’re still getting used to you. Introducing them to the hectic environment of a dog park could traumatize them.
And anytime you go to the dog park, your human children should stay home too. As fun as it may sound to have a whole-family outing, some dogs simply may not be used to small humans and may get too rambunctious around your exuberant, excited little ones.
Scoop that Poop!
This is a basic one, but—just do it. Even though you’re out in the great wide open, picking up after your pup is not only the clean and courteous thing to do, but the healthy thing to do—dog feces can be one sure way to pass undetected parasites to others.
Be on Your Best Behavior
Is your dog cut out for the dog park? Think long and hard about it. If your dog has any history of aggression or is not well socialized, the answer is likely no. The dog park is not the place for socialization training, but rather the reward for a well-socialized dog. Socialization needs to happen in a controlled environment.
A fearful or reactive dog may not handle it well either. Breed and size aren’t the ultimate test of whether your dog belongs at a dog park—but obviously use your best judgment and follow any posted rules there. Personality is the ultimate decision maker.
If you know your dog to be one who’s not a socialite—who’s reactive or just gets nervous around other people and dogs—there’s NO shame in ruling them out for the dog park. In fact, it’s the best decision you can make for your pup’s happiness and the dogs at the park. Or if you think your dog would enjoy the dog park but be overwhelmed by a crowd, try to discern the non-peak hours and go then.
Play Nice with the Other Humans
Let your dog play with other people’s dogs as long as it looks like both are having a good time. There’s no need to step in if one of the dogs gives a quick correction, like a quick snarl, growl, or yelp. Don’t discipline another person’s dog. If there is a legitimate fight, or the other pet parent isn’t comfortable with what’s going on, both dogs should be given a “cooling off period.”
Other things to keep in mind if you’re heading to the dog park? Ideally your dog should know some verbal obedience cues, or at least a recall. Don’t take toys, food, or treats. Pay attention—don’t be on your phone, and if you chatter with other pet parents, don’t let it take your attention away from your dog. And insure them! Bivvy’s simple pet health insurance policy costs less than $1 per day regardless of size, age, or breed. Bivvy pet parents are equipped with a dog insurance policy that covers accidents, surgery, hospitalizations, and emergency care. But there is a waiting period after you sign up before coverage goes into effect, so get it ahead of time, before you venture out.
What’s better than the dog park? It checks off all the boxes of:
Getting your dog’s zoomies out of their system.
Helping your pup and you make friends.
Getting you both some fresh air and Vitamin D.
Practice proper etiquette and have fun!