With the millions of dog owners across the US, it's no wonder dog parks are popping up all over the place. Momo, being the little rambunctious thing that she is, LOVES to run and romp with all sorts of dogs. Big or little - she is right there with them. Chasing tails, sniffing butts, and slowly wading in the water are some of her favorite things to do. 
Dog parks are great places to take your pup to get some exercise and socialization. For owners, it's important to know and understand dog park etiquette before going. Here are some tips and general rules.
 
When you should not bring your dog
  • If you have a puppy under four months old, they likely have not had all of their shots. They should not be around other dogs because they can be exposed to viruses and diseases.
  • If your dog is in heat. You are just asking for trouble.
  • If your dog doesn't play nicely with other dogs. This should be a no brainer, but you will be amazed how many people think that since parks are big,  that this is okay.
  • If your dog isn't (or you don't know if they are) current on their shots. Get them to a vet!
Etiquette for humans
  • Always (and I mean always) pick up after your pet! No one wants to step in your dog's leftovers.
  • Don't ever leave your dog unattended.
  • Don't bring more dogs than you can handle. There are often limits (usually three) on how many dogs you can bring. Make sure to check the posted rules
  • Keep your dog onleash until you are safely inside the park, then REMOVE the leash! Dogs act very differently when on and off leash - they want to say hello to others and smell all the different surroundings. They can easily get frustrated and uncomfortable if you try to keep them onleash. If you are unsure of how they will socialize - try socializing them with other dogs in a controlled environment BEFORE bringing them to the park!
  • Be mindful of your pet. If they are jumping on someone or constantly humping another dog - stop them.
  • If your dog becomes unruly or plays too rough, remove them from the situation. If you still have problems after seperating your pup, it's time to go home. With that said, understand that most scuffles are short and usually harmless. Dogs have a different way of communicating than people.
  • Don't eat or smoke at the dog park. Dogs get tempted and these things can be harmful to them.
  • Follow the rules! Most parks have rules posted and they are there for a reason.

Overall, dog parks are supposed to be a fun experience for you and your dog! If you follow these rules, you should have no problem making new friends (the four-legged and two-legged kinds) in no time!