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10 Dog Park Safety Tips

A brown and white dog chases a tennis ball towards the camera while outside with a human in the background

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Have you never been to an off-leash dog park before? Even if you have, it never hurts to brush up on some safety tips. Here are our top 10 dog park safety tips!

Make Sure Your Dog Knows Basic Commands

One of the best ways you can prepare your pup for a trip to an off-leash dog park is to teach them basic commands, such as “stay” and “come.” You never know when you might need your dog to stay away from another pooch or quickly exit a hairy situation. Use positive reinforcement to train your dog. We recommend getting a clicker and clicker training book. Every time your pup correctly performs a command, you click your clicker and reward them with treats!

Do a Health Check

It’s crucial that you don’t take your pooch to the dog park if they are sick or in heat. It is so, so, so easy to spread disease in high-traffic places like dog parks, kennels and doggy daycares, so your pup must be healthy.

Vaccinate Your Dog

Your dog absolutely must be up to date on all their vaccinations. This includes all required or “core” vaccines. We also recommend getting “non-core” or vaccinations that aren’t required but still protect your pup from things like dangerous drinking water.

Pick the Right Dog Park

Pick a dog park that has secure fencing and a double-gated entry, as well as posted rules of conduct. You should also choose a park that has separate areas for large and small dogs as a safety precaution.

Bring the Right Supplies

Go to the park prepared. Bring:

Look for Openings

When you get to the park, make sure there are no openings that your dog can sneak through. Possible escape routes include holes and loose fencing. You also want to make sure the fencing is tall enough to contain your dog. For some pups, this means up to six feet!

Separate by Size

We always recommend separating dogs by size. Many dog parks have separate areas for small dogs and big dogs. If you have a small dog, don’t risk their safety by letting them romp with a bunch of large dogs.

Be Watchful

Keep an eye on your dog for the duration of your trip to the dog park. Pay attention to their behavior and that of other dogs. Know the signs of aggression in dogs, such as growling and snarling.

Be Responsible

If you see your dog behaving in a reactive, aggressive or even overly rambunctious manner, remove your pup from the situation. Each of these scenarios with other dogs can escalate into a fight.

Know What to Do

If a fight breaks out, don’t get in the middle of it or else you could get hurt too. Throw water at the dogs or use an air-horn to break up the altercation.