The Emily Post Guide To Proper Dog Park Etiquette

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
Even dogs need to learn manners! We serve up dog park etiquette that all refined pooches should bone up on.

Emily Post is quoted as saying: “Whenever two people come together and their behavior affects one another, you have etiquette.” And that rule of etiquette still applies – even more so – when those same two people have dogs. Mrs. Post may not have had the convenience of dog parks in her time, but if she did, we bet that she would have written a book of etiquette on the subject. But since she didn’t, we’re going to share our guide to proper Dog Park Etiquette, inspired by the First Lady of Manners.

If you want to get your dog out of the house and give him some time to play with other dogs, the best place to go is to a dog park. Dog parks provide dogs with an opportunity to run and play in an enclosed environment under the supervision of their owners. While dog parks are great, there is the potential for certain problems to arise. Before you start taking your dog to the dog park it would be wise to familiarize yourself with some basic dog park etiquette and safety tips.

Related: 6 Off-Leash Tips For The Dog Park

Why Go to the Dog Park?

Socialization is incredibly important for dogs, especially for younger dogs, because it impacts the way they will react to other dogs and people for the rest of their lives. A dog park is the perfect place to give your dog some opportunities for socialization because it is an enclosed and controlled environment. Another benefit of dog parks is that it gives your dog a chance to run around off the leash. Dogs were meant to live active lives and, for many breeds, a basic daily walk is simply not enough. If your dog doesn’t get enough exercise, or if he gets bored at home, he is more likely to develop problem behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing or digging.

Dog parks provide many benefits for your dog including opportunities for fun, exercise and socialization – but they can be beneficial for the owners too! A dog park is a great place to meet like-minded individuals and to share stories and tips with other dog owners. You may also enjoy spending time with other dogs and watching your dog interact with them. One thing many dog owners do not realize is that dog parks are a great place to practice training skills – the park provides an enclosed environment but also incorporates plenty of distractions to test your dog’s mastery of the skills you have trained him for.

Related: Why You Should Always Pick Up Dog Poop

Safety Tips for Dog Parks

Before you start taking your dog to the dog park, there are a few safety tips you should keep in mind. Most dog parks will have a set of rules posted that apply to that particular park, so pay close attention to these rules. There are some general rules, however, which apply to all dog parks:

  • Avoid bringing puppies under four months of age to the dog park
  • All dogs should be properly vaccinated (for their own protection and for the protection of other dogs at the park)
  • Never bring a dog that does not have a collar or proper ID to the dog park
  • Do not bring intact males or females in heat to the dog park
  • Always clean up after your dog and dispose of the waste properly.

Dog Park Do/Don’ts

As long as your dog is friendly with other dogs and you follow the rules listed above, you shouldn’t have any problems taking your dog to the dog park. In addition to the rules, however, you should also keep in mind a few simple bits of dog park etiquette. Below you will find a list of dog park dos and don’ts:


  • Make sure that your dog responds to basic commands before bringing him to the park
  • Keep a close eye on your dog – don’t get distracted with your phone
  • Make sure your dog isn’t being bullied by other dogs
  • Observe the other dogs in the park to avoid potential problems


  • Bring treats or toys into the park if other dogs are around
  • Force your dog to spend time in the dog park if he is nervous around other dogs
  • Let your dog off the leash unless he responds to verbal commands appropriately
  • Bring your dog to the park if he is sick or injured
  • Pet or play with another person’s dog without receiving permission

Do you have any other points you’d like to add to our dog park etiquette guide? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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