Watch how your dog reacts with others to see if they all look comfortable. If the play gets too rough, be ready to restrain and remove your dog from the park before things escalate.
Dogs must be under effective control at all times. In dog parks, this may be on leash or by command.
Calling your dog to you periodically can give them a chance to calm down before going back to play and reaffirms your effective recall. Your dog should be recall-trained prior to taking off their leash at a dog park.
If you want to talk to others, ‘walk & talk’. Walking the park stops big groups forming which can make some dogs over-excited and others anxious.
Dogs are usually quite happy to roam with their humans around the park, naturally stopping to sniff new smells, people and other dogs on the way.
If you have a high energy dog, consider exercising your dog before attending the dog park.
A calm walk outside the park on lead might be more suitable for your dog. Sometimes dogs need your help to learn how to play appropriately.
Dogs running with trailing leads or loose harnesses can become tangled. Remove your dog’s lead inside the gate and make sure your dog’s collar or harness is secure.
Keep an eye on your dog, who they’re playing with and what else is happening in the park. If you’re unsure of the play, call your dog away and leave if you feel uncomfortable.
Most parks have rules to help everyone understand and respect the shared space. Please be aware of the rules specific to the park you attend and follow them.
Don’t stand at the gate because it makes it hard for others to enter or exit. If you see your dog going near the gate, call them back, especially if another dog is entering. Give the dog and its owner a chance to get in.
Don’t let your child play or ride a bike in a designated dog park. If you take a child to a dog park, you’ll need to supervise them at all times, as well as your dog. You should explain that not all dogs are used to children and this is the dogs’ time to play with other dogs, not them.
If you don’t like dog parks or your dog is not a suitable candidate, don’t take them.
There are lots of excellent and accessible ways to exercise and stimulate your dog in South Australia. Dog parks are just one space to let well socialised dogs exercise.