Should I Take My Dog To The Dog Park | Yeah or Nay

Once you have become a dog owner, you realize pretty quickly, that exercising your dog is an absolute must. But to do this should I take my dog to the dog park?

dog park sign
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Getting them out of the house and yard, can be as easy as walking your dog on a leash around your neighborhood.  There are times when dogs require a far more intense way of releasing all that energy.  For some people taking there dog on a bike ride, or run can also help.  Many people don’t do either of those things, and need a place to take there dog.

Taking my dog to the dog park, was something I used to do regularly so we could really get our boys tired out.  This always made them way easier to handle for the rest of the day.

Dog park etiquette

Deciding to take your dog to the dog park, is a very exciting thing for your dog.  That being said, the kind of etiquette your dog displays at the dog park is very important.

We have all been to the dog park when there is a dog with terrible manners who is not very well-behaved. That one dog can ruin the entire park experience for you and your dog.

Right away, when we get there if we see a badly behaved dog, we will leave the park. The risk just isn’t worth it.

It’s really important to have a dog that knows the proper way to interact around other dogs. Nobody wants an aggressive, unfriendly dog in the dog park.

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When first arriving at the dog park, ensure your dog has a collar and leash on. Once you get to the gate, remove your dogs leash and let them go in.

Once inside I have found it important to interact with the other dog owners right away just to make sure they have dogs that are good around other dogs. Nobody wants an incident to occur between 2 dogs.

Dogs that are getting to know each other will approach each other to sniff one another out. This is the normal way dogs meet. If things are going to go well, they will just meet and go about their own business.

dog with frisbee

What to bring with you

There are some very important things that you need to bring with you to the dog park.   This will ensure you have the best outing possible.

Always have a collar on your dog with the required dog license information, rabies tag and proper ID tag. Bringing a water container of some kind is also essential.

My dog Finn is obsessed with the Frisbee and the tennis ball. I purchased a chuck it ball retriever for picking up the ball once he brings it back. Bringing these toys is okay to do, just make sure to pay attention that there is no fighting over the ball or Frisbee.

This can get a bit difficult if another dog is also an obsessive ball retriever. When this happens, I generally pick up the ball and stop the game. Having a ball conflict is not something that generally turns out good.

You can use your judgment and get a feel for the other dogs in the park. If things seem to settle down or the other dog causing the issue leaves, I may bring the ball back out. Your call.

Cleaning up after your dog

We have all been around dog owners that refuse to pick up after there dog no matter where they are. Of course this also true for the dog park.

Do not be one of these people. Your dog is your responsibility and it is just unfair to everyone else if your are not picking up after your dog.

The only way that dog parks stay clean and maintained, is if everybody does there part. Other dog owners, will not think very highly of you or your dog if you don’t clean up after them.

There are generally only a few dog parks, in your area, so there is a good chance you will come back to the same one more than once.  Leaving a good impression at your dog park, will ensure you don’t get a bad dog park reputation.

Most dog parks have a poo bag dispenser system and garbage for you to dispose of your dogs mess. This makes it so easy to clean up after your dog, so it is extremely important to not be the person who doesn’t care.  To be safe, I always bring my own poop bags, just case the dispenser is empty.

dogs kissing

Play safe and pay attention

While at the dog park, make sure to pay attention to your dog.  It is your responsibility to ensure that your dog behaves and plays respectfully.  Not paying attention, for even a few minutes, could cause you to miss what is going on around you and as we know things can go badly with dogs very quickly.

You don’t need to helicopter parent them by hovering over them the whole time, but be aware of how all the other dogs are reacting to your dog.  More times than not, you can see when a situation starts to change and hopefully step in quick enough before an incident occurs.

Make sure that you feel confident with your dog at the park and not let them see if you are uneasy about a specific situation.  Dogs can pick up on your nervousness and will know if you are unsure.

Act calm and keep yourself collected in way that makes your dog feel secure in the outing while at the park.

Dog park toys

Dog park success

Just because you own a dog doesn’t mean you have to go to the dog park. Lots of people do not ever take there dogs to the park.

For many years we took our dogs to dog parks in areas around where we lived.  Unfortunately for us we had a terrible experience with our little dog Boo.  He got attacked by a couple of badly behaved dogs.  Luckily we were paying attention, and were able to get in between the dogs to ensure it didn’t turn out badly.

What this shows is that one bad dog park experience, with a badly behaved dog, can turn you off going to the dog park all together.


Should I take my dog to the dog park for us is a nay decision.  We made the choice for ourselves not to take our dogs back.  For us this is the right decision.  Everyone has to decide for themselves and there dog.

If you do decide to take your dog to the dog park.  To achieve dog park success, just follow a few important rules, but most of all have good manners.

Never let your guard down and always be aware of the surrounding dogs. There usually is a sign you can pick up on that may save you and your dog.  Ensure everyone goes home tired and happy.

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12 thoughts on “Should I Take My Dog To The Dog Park | Yeah or Nay”

  1. Yes, you are right, dogs that are well trained normally behaved well. Someone once told me a dog that is bad/badly behaved is because it has a bad owner. Very often I found this to be true.
    A dog is like a member of a family. How your kids turn out depends on how well you treat them and so are the dogs.

    • Thank you so much for your comment. I 100% agree with you, A bad dog is a bad owner. Our dogs are a reflection of who we are. Be kind and your dogs will be kind.
      Thank you Coralie

  2. My personal view is that if a dog is not well trained, he/she should not be allowed into any area. Why should other dogs suffer because one dog is not well trained to behave?  A few weeks ago, a dog bit me just because she could do it. All I wanted to do is to play with her. The thing is, your dogs should be friendly with everybody and every dog in the park. Sometimes, probably the owners are the problem. 

    • Hi Oana,

      You are absolutely correct in your statement about bad dogs at dog parks. It ruins the fun for everyone and defeats the whole purpose of going to the park.

      Going to the park with your dog is suppose to be fun. It sure isn’t much fun if you get a bite, or your dog.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I think we need more of this type of discussion within the dog community.

      I really appreicate it.


  3. I think you touched on all the points that people are aware of when they avoid dog parks. My wife and I take our children to a park that is right across the street from a dog park and we seem to always see fights between the dogs. My dog has been attacked by another dog and it was awful not to mention very expensive vet bills. I guess you should “shop” dog parks before you take your own dog.

    • Hi Lee,

      I really appreciate your comments on my post. I agree that maybe shopping around, or watching a dog park without your dog for a few times, maybe the best idea I have heard. Why not right? We don’t want dogs fighting, because as you said who has money for expensive dog vet bills.

      Especially when all you were trying to do was get your dog some off leash time. People need to be responsible for their dogs, and that is the bottom line.

      Thank you for sharing your story.


  4. Excellent advice here, especially interacting with other dog owners. If there are a bunch of people in a park with their dogs off lead, then I suggest watching the dogs and seeing how they are all acting before letting them off. But if there’s only a handful of people, then interacting is what I recommend (just like you said).

    • Hi Nate,

      Thank you for your comments on my post. It still amazes me that people walk into the dog park unleash their dog and don’t pay any attention to what is happening from that point on. Making sure your dog and all the other dogs are getting along is super important, I 100% agree with you.

      I wish more people would follow this type of behaviour, it would make dog parks a lot safer.

      Thank you


  5. Hey Coralie,

    This is an informative and helpful article I must say. Like everyone I have a dog of my own. Actually he is a member of family. Everyone in the house adore him a lot. And yeah it’s very important to take him out for exercising. It develops the characteristics virtues of him. Moreover it feels great roaming with him in the park or outside the house.

    Thank you for writing this helpful article.

    • Hi there,

      Thank you for sharing your dog story. It always feel great, to get out and even walk around with your dog, like you said. Dogs also learn a lot from exercising outside and the different elements they encounter when they are out and about. We need to expose them to as much as we can when we take them outside.

      Thank you


  6. Hi Coralie! Thank you very much for writing this post. I have quickly arrived at that conclusion our dogs need to exercise.

    I don’t want to be the owner of the aggressive, unfriendly dog in the park. So I have paid close attention to your suggestions.

    My dog and I like Frisbee. And we like to play with the ball. The ball I use for my dog is just fine, but it’s a bit smaller than a tennis ball. And I’m sometimes afraid that other dogs may pick it up and choke. What could I do when we’re at the park?

    • Hi Henry,

      I’m with you, I don’t want my dog to be the aggressive dog either.  Making sure they are well socialized with other dogs prior to going to the dog park, I think it’s important.

      My dog Finn loves the ball to, I would just make sure the ball you take to the park is a bit bigger, just to avoid that from happening. Obviously another dog choking would be awful, so just to be safe make it a bit bigger of a ball.

      The other thing, you could maybe do is just take the frisbee instead. 

      I hope that helps Henry.

      Thank you for sharing your dog parks story, I appreciate your input.



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