Welcome to Poochie’s Proper Dog Park Etiquette, by David K.
Rule number one: Always be nice, no matter what. Dogs that are mean or humans that are mean are not tolerated at Poochie’s Park.
Dogs should be leashed until you are inside the double gates, then they should be unleashed before opening the next gate and entering the park. It’s better that EVERY dog is off leash vs. on leash when in a safe environment. Some dogs can get tense and defensive or nervous when leashed to their master.
If your dog is acting like a maniac at the gate and has all the dogs on the other side of the gate upset, then do not open the gate. Walk away from the gate and wait for as long as it takes for everyone to relax before entering the next gate into the park. Or, even better, start off by going through the nature trail entrance and burn off some of that high energy with a long walk/run.
All dogs must wear collars, no metal choke collars. Metal collars may be a good tool for leash training, but they can get tangled in another dog’s mouth during play resulting in the dog wearing it getting strangled.
Only 3 dogs per adult may be brought at one time. If you have more than 3 then you’ll need to bring someone with you to keep up with all of them!
Always have eyes on your dogs. If your dog digs a hole, fill it back in. If he poops, pick it up. It is your responsibility to pick up after your own dog and it is okay to nicely point out to someone else that missed theirs. We supply poo bags at many places around the park for your convenient and enjoyable poo patrol.
Children under 4ft tall must either be carried or within arm’s reach always. ONLY DOGS may swim in the pond or play on the agility equipment. Please do not allow your children to do either. Children may not use park equipment improperly. No running, playing near the water’s edge, screaming, or chasing dogs.
Small dogs vs. Big dogs- Small dogs are welcome to ALL AREAS of the park but owners must realize the risk of allowing a smaller dog to play in the big dog area. Some dogs are attracted to small dogs and simply will not leave them alone. If your dog is one of those, move to a different area in the park.
Only pet another dog if they approach you and always ask the owner first.
Toys: It’s not recommended that you bring your own toy unless your dog is the sharing type and/or you don’t mind another dog running away with it. We have plenty of tennis balls and Frisbee’s here for you.
No food or treats inside the park, not even in your pocket. Some dogs will act defensive if they smell treats in someone’s pocket.
Do not allow your dog to bully another. If a dog is reported to be a bully on different occasions then that dog may no longer use the park. We have kind of a 3 strikes and you’re out rule…. To report a “bully”, contact the office (call or text 272-4545). If the owner is not watching or doesn’t take action when his dog is bullying and you can’t get your dog away to move to a different area, then just discreetly give us a call or text and we will send someone out to monitor the behavior and put a stop to it.
Territorial behavior-(for frequent dog park users) If your dog is used to you always sitting in the same spot in the park, then they might become territorial of that area. Move around or go for a walk if your dog starts to act aggressive around you.
Every dog has different play styles, keep an open mind. Never allow your dog to pick on or dominate another unless it is mutual. Some dogs actually ENJOY being dominated and they even “ask” for it. If you’re not sure, just come ask us to monitor the behavior and we will let you know what we think.
Rough play is acceptable only if both dogs involved and their owners are consensual. If your dog is the one playing rough and the other dog does not like it, or the owner doesn’t then be respectful and move your dog to another area, take a walk or leash them for a time out. Do not just give up or assume that the other owner/dog is okay with it. Ask them! Say, “Is this kind of play too rough for your dog?”
Should any injury occur, be responsible not emotional, remain calm and follow these guidelines: Exchange phone numbers before leaving and agree to talk about it later after things have calmed down and the hurt dog has been taken care of. Let the office know about the incident so that a record can be made. Keep in mind that any incidents are to be handled between the parties involved only. The park is not responsible for an incident or injury involving another dog and yours. However, we can help by: 1) Giving you all the supplies from our First Aid Kit in the office. 2) Directing you to the nearest Vet if your dog needs further treatment. 3) Getting you, the phone numbers of the parties involved if you haven’t gotten them already. 4) Explaining to both parties involved, the details of the Liability Policy that we have everyone agree to and sign before entering the park.
You should know that whenever you go anywhere with your dog… YOU are always financially responsible for any damage or injury that your dog does to another dog, person or property–EVEN if “it was in self-defense” or if “it was an accident” or “he had it comin!” you must pay for the medical bills involved for the damage that your dog did during the incident. Its Florida law and it’s the same deal when you’re in the dog park off the leash.
Did I miss anything? Don’t let that last paragraph scare you. Incidents in the dog park are very rare. The park is for friendly dogs just like yours. You and your dog are going to have a great time!
If you’re not sure how your dog will behave in the dog park environment, please call ahead and ask the office to set up a behavior check before entering. We are here to help you and your buddy become a part of the Poochie’s Park family!