Tips for proper dog park etiquette

WASHINGTON — Off-leash dog parks offer great opportunities for people and pets to socialize. But it doesn’t take much to spoil the fun.

Appropriate doggie park etiquette may seem obvious to some, but enough violations occur that some dog owners may need friendly reminders.

Some suggestions from The Dogington Post and others include:

  • Keep pets from crowding newcomers at entry gates
  • Keep big dogs out of areas intended for smaller dogs
  • Don’t wear nice clothes or shoes intending to keep them clean
  • Don’t let small children wander around amidst dogs unattended
  • Don’t discipline or give treats to another person’s dog
  • Be aware of what pets are doing
  • Clean up doggie doo

A sign detailing rules at the Newark Street Dog Park in Northwest says, “Visitors must have full control of their dogs at all times and are responsible for the collection, bagging and proper disposal of their dog’s solid waste.”

Posted rules sometimes conflict greatly with practical reality.

One park user notes how inattentive owners allow dogs to pee on the ground level water fountain that’s intended to let pets get a refreshing drink.

“All the male dogs do it,” says Sue Ruff. An attempt at a solution resulted in a sign being posted asking owners not to let their dogs pee on the fountain. But, Ruff observes tongue in cheek, “Dogs don’t read.”

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