Best Rules for Dog Park Etiquette

The freedom to run around, play with other furry friends, and sniff until their heart’s content… is there another place your pup loves more than the dog park? We think not!

While dog parks can be a sweet oasis for your canine, it’s important to be aware of park appropriate dog behavior, pet parent behavior, and common rules of park etiquette so you and your fur baby can have a safe and fun time.

Here are five common etiquette rules to follow while at the dog park:

1. Make Sure Your Dog is Healthy

Your dog should be up-to-date on their vaccinations before you head to the park, and if your pup is less than 6 months old or has not yet been spayed/neutered, it’s best to wait to expose them to other dogs and the dog park. Also, any furry friends that might be under the weather should be left at home so they can rest up and feel better!

2. Take Charge of Your Furry Friend

Your dog should be responsive to basic cues so you can get control of them if necessary and prevent any issues at the dog park. It’s also important that Fido is pretty well-mannered. If your dog has a history of getting too excited, aggressive, fearful, or has some trouble playing nice with others, 1-1 play time in a different environment might be best for everyone. You can also try keeping your pup more even-keeled before they get to the park with a calming supplement.

Dogs playing

3. Pay Attention to Your Pup and Other Pups

Even though your dog will have a blast with other pups at the park, their mischiefs can get out of hand in a flash. So, be sure to keep an eye on your dog at all times to know where they are and what they’re up to! In addition, try to learn who each dog’s pet parent is so if anything happens, you know who to go to!

Lastly, it’s a good idea to keep their leash close by or in your hands in case you need to quickly remove them from a situation and always pick up after your dog.

4. Leave Food and Treats at Home or in the Car

While it might be tempting to bring a snack for you and Fido, it’s best to not bring food and treats into the dog park so it doesn’t tempt other dogs. Also, a lot of parks have water fountains available but it’s never a bad idea to have a bowl and water as back up in case the park doesn’t have any.

5. Know How to Handle a Scuffle

If you notice another dog looks like they might want to tussle with your pup, try to get ahead of it by distracting them with toys or loud clapping. As much as we hope rough play never happens, if it does, give it a few moments at first to see if it ends quickly. If it doesn’t, try to use water or a long stick to push them apart so they can get back to being playful.

The dog park can be a great way to socialize your Fido and wear them out but it’s important to be aware of common dog park etiquette so everyone can have a great time! If you have any questions or comments about the do’s and don’ts at the dog park, comment below or reach out to us directly at (800) 940-1972 or

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Brandon, Customer Care for Zesty Paws

Brandon, Customer Care for Zesty Paws

Thank you for sharing, Jennifer. We appreciate that you have tried to assimilate your Border Terrier with other sweet pups. We have heard from other pet parents that sometimes our furry friends may become territorial as time goes on. Perhaps providing treats when she is friendly, or even a dog park that affords more open space may continue to help them. After these encounters, we recommend our Calming Bites as a great addition (and are often seen as a treat) to consider.

Feel free to reach to us anytime if we can help further! Our number is 1-800-940-1972.



I have a 7yr old border terrier who up until about a year ago loved playing with other dogs. I never had to worry about her being aggressive. Now, other than a few of her friends we do regular play dates with, she is aggressive towards other dogs. If we’re on a walk & she sees another dog, she starts barking & growling. Pulling at the leash. Another dog came up to her & tried to sniff her; her tail wagging the whole time so I know she was friendly. My dog lunged aggressively towards her with her hair up & growling. I don’t know what is causing the change in behavior. No change in her behavior around people though. (Thankfully!) Any advice would be appreciated.

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