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Dog Park Etiquette Tips

dog park etiquette

by Heidi Frankel

If you’re an urban or suburban dog owner, you’re likely familiar with the local dog park. It’s a canine oasis, where your leash-less pet is free to sniff, run, and socialize with other dogs.

But like any social activity, it’s important to know basic rules of etiquette. And in this case, it’s not just a matter of a social faux pas—failing to comply can put your dog and other pets at risk.

Basic Dog Park Etiquette

  • Should your pet show signs of illness or a contagious disease, don’t bring him/her to the park.
  • Do not bring a puppy that is less than 4 months old or a female dog in heat.
  • Keep an eye on your dog! Don’t let your dog be aggressive with another dog.
  • Be courteous, pick up after your dog.
  • Don’t bring food for yourself or your dog.
  • Bring a portable water bowl for your dog—water bowls at dog parks carry the risk of communicable illnesses.
  • Keep your small dog in the designated small-dog section of the park—even if he/she enjoys hanging out with the big dogs.
  • Bring a ball… but be prepared to lose it.
  • Don’t let your dog run in a pack. Intervene when play starts to get too rough


Do you have other suggestions for dog park etiquette? We’d love to hear from you!


Originally published by the American Kennel Club. For more dog tips and information visit


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