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Dog Park Etiquette 101 BY LORRE LAMARCA

Lorre LaMarca is the owner of the Bark Station, 240 Arnold Mill Road. www.barkstation.com. 770-517-9907

The dog park is a place dog owners love to visit with canine companions. It’s great to get fresh air, watch our doggies frolic and meet people who have the common bond of loving their pets. There’s a sense of satisfaction we feel when we see our pets tuckered out from a joyful dog park visit. Most regulars know how to make their way around the dog park while keeping their canine companions safe. Here are some suggestions for a positive experience. And don’t forget your poopy bags!


Scope the park. Before entering the park and the entire time you are at the park, make sure you look at what dogs are currently there and the energy of the park. Your judgment is the most important piece to keeping your dog safe.


Be willing to quickly leave the park if your dog is not comfortable, not having fun, playing too rough or getting bullied.


Do not use the dog park pack to “test” to see if your new dog likes other dogs.


Refrain from bringing food/treats inside the dog park. Food takes the focus off playing with other pups and on the food/treats you harbor. Also, some dogs become quite territorial over food.


Keep away from personal distractions (cell phones, books, etc). You should be paying attention to your dog and the body language of the dogs playing with them. Also, be sure to clean up promptly after a potty stop.


Make sure your dog is vaccinated against these common deadly local viruses: rabies, DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus and parainfluenza) and bordetella.


Keep in mind, even though your “little” dog loves to play with “big” dogs, “big” dogs might not feel the same.


Do not bring intact males or females in estrus into the park. Even though there are several dog park etiquette do’s and don’ts, being proactive versus reactive is key. So go get your pooper scoopers and head to the park for some fun! AROUND WOODSTOCK | March 2015


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