[dropcap]Visiting[/dropcap] the local dog park should be a fun and relaxing adventure for both pup and owner. It’s a great time to socialize and meet new human and canine pals. It can also cause stressful situations and tense moments unless everyone is on the same page about proper dog park etiquette. Each park has rules posted, and these should always be observed. Unfortunately, we only have control over our own actions and those of our pup, so incidents do occur at these parks. The best way to ensure the most safety for yourself and your dog is to observe the etiquette of a dog park.

Keep little ones out. Both small puppies (those under four months old or not spayed or neutered) and small children should stay outside the park for their own safety.

Scoop your dog’s poop. This one is a no-brainer, but there are still pup parents who are too lazy to clean up after the deed. No one wants to play poop police, so just clean up after your dog, and no one gets hurt.

Bring plenty of water; keep food and treats away. Dogs can become territorial and hostile around food. Keep the treats at home and your burger in the car.

Keep one eye on your pup. Teenagers don’t appreciate a helicopter parent, but dogs need a little ‘coptering at the dog park. You know your dog’s temperament, but you cannot know the temperament of all the other dogs (or parents). It’s important to keep a watchful eye out for potential conflict or trouble for your dog’s sake.

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