Dog Owner Dos and Don’ts at the Park

Dog park etiquette is for the pet owner not the dog. It has nothing to do with whether the water bowl should be on the right or the left.


It is about sharing the experience with other pet owners and protecting your pet.

Chicago’s north suburbs are well populated with both dog parks and dog beaches, public places where the animals can run, play and socialize. If you’re not sure where to go, we’ve got a guide to north suburban public places for dogs to romp.

Meanwhile, here are some simple practices to follow when visiting a dog park:

  • Check the rules. Is there a dog park permit required? Is the park open to the public or only to residents? What are the hours?
  • Keep your pet on a leash entering and leaving the park
  • Always have our dog in view
  • Do not bring a female in estrus
  • Be certain your pet’s shots are up-to-date. These are public places and besides other dogs, a variety of wildlife and potential disease carriers roam there as well including raccoons, coyotes, foxes and rabbits
  • Experts advise that you not take a dog younger than four months old to a dog park. They do not have all their immunity built up and off leash they are less likely to listen you and they are bait for bigger dogs who may bully them
  • Know if your dog is socialized. Some dogs are great with people and just animals with other dogs
  • Be considerate about the kinds of toys you bring. A ball or Freesbie are as likely to attract other dogs who won’t recognize it belongs to your pet hound
  • Clean up after your dog. Always!

And be aware that there is a debate in pet circles about the value and dangers of dog parks. Because you only know about the behavior and history of your pet, many experts suggest using supervised dog day care and boarding facilities to give your pet exercise and a social experience. What do you think: Share your thoughts with our readers at