Dog Park Etiquette
The sense of freedom and excitement most dogs feel at the dog park can be infectious, but don’t let a carefree attitude make you a discourteous dog park visitor. Your dog shouldn’t go to leash-free parks if he or she is unresponsive to your commands, and leave the treats at home, as they can trigger aggression among other dogs, says Nicole Wilde, a canine behavior specialist in Santa Clarita, Calif., and author of Help for Your Fearful Dog (Phantom). Initially, take your pooch to the park off-hours, when there are fewer dogs, to ease him or her into it. “It only takes one negative incident to traumatize a dog,” Wilde says.