Shelby Says: Know the Etiquette When Visiting a Dog Park

Visiting dog parks is a great way for dogs to become socialized and its even better for exercise.

As the summer weather arrives, Shelby Says, this is the season for visiting dog parks. Visiting dog parks is a great way for dogs to become socialized and its even better for exercise. Shelby Says she loves going to the dog park and making some canine friends while she’s at it but there is some dog park etiquette that Shelby Says we owners should know. Follow these few tips before bringing Fido to your nearest dog park.

Before Your Trip.

Check with your vet and make sure your pup is ready for a dog park adventure. Make your dog is up-to-date on all its shots and vaccinations. Very young puppies should not visit the dog park.

Arrive Prepared.

Bring a ball, stick or favorite toy to play with. You’re dog may just run around the park but Shelby Says chasing a ball is much more fun. Also, bring water and a small container to put it in. At well-maintained dog parks there are bowls of water set out or water fountains but it’s often warm water and bug infested. Shelby Says she enjoys her own water when taking a time out at the dog park. It’s also a good idea to bring along some dog treats, whether to reward your own dog or to make friends with the other dogs. Don’t forget waste bags as well. Some parks provide them but it can’t hurt to bring your own.

Know Your Dog.

Know your dog’s personality and comfort level before visiting a dog park. It’s important to know if your dog will be scared of the other dogs or will be aggressive toward the other dogs.

Shelby Says she gets a little timid and shy when she first meets new friends. She stands politely and allows them to sniff her but she always stays close by her owner and doesn’t stray far. For timid dogs, slowly bring them over to the other dogs and try to meet the other dogs one-on-one and not in a large pack. Pet the other dogs and show your canine that it’s OK. Offer treats for good socialization. Throw a ball or stick for other dogs, along with your own. Shelby Says that although crowds of dogs make her nervous she does enjoy the time spent with other canines and sniffing together.

For aggressive dogs, try to stir clear of the other dogs. Go to the dog park during off hours when less dogs will be playing. Or keep your dog on a leash. If you know, your dog does not play well with others at all, please do not bring the dog to the park. If your normally well-behaved dog acts out while at the dog park. Deal with the situation immediately. Take the dog away from the group and make it sit by you. Attach the leash and let all the dogs calm down. Keep an eye on your dog and understand its demeanor before continuing your stay at the park. If it appears your dog will continue to be aggressive or not get along with the other dogs, leave the park.

Pay Attention and Mind Your Business.

Shelby Says don’t talk on your cell phone or ignore your pooch while at the dog park. Keep an eye on your dog to assure it’s playing nicely and not getting into any trouble. Shelby Says to remember not to discipline other dogs or give other’s your advice. Most people don’t want to be told how to raise their children or their dogs.

Clean Up.

Clean up after your dog. Shelby Says everyone wants to enjoy the dog park, owners and dogs, so clean up after your pooch. Also, be aware of your outfit and foot attire. Dog parks can be dirty, muddy or dusty and Fido can easily jump on you, so Shelby Says, dress accordingly.

Have Fun.

Shelby Says remember to have fun at the dog park. Most dogs love to run and play so have fun with your dog and enjoy your time at the dog park, Shelby Says.


Here are a few dog parks in nearby areas. 

Haverford Reserve on Parkview Drive at the former Haverford Hospital site

Kent Park near Darby Creek in Upper Darby Township 


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