Dog Park Adventures: the Etiquette Edition

(ARA) – Dogs are man’s best friend, and dog parks are the ultimate playground. For those rough and tumble play sessions that aren’t appropriate at home, dog parks are the perfect escape for our canine friends to run free, jump and play with other dogs.

Countless dog owners across the country have discovered the benefits of off-leash areas — not only do they provide your dog some much-needed exercise, but they also reinforce the bond between people and pets. Whether you’re visiting a park for the first time or you’re a regular, it’s important all patrons help make the park a safe and fun place for everyone to visit.

Consider these simple etiquette tips every time you head out with your four-legged pal to ensure the best possible experience.

*Plan a test run. If you’re visiting the local dog park for the first time, go to the park’s website or visit without your dog to check out rules, hours and permit or vaccination requirements. Consider visiting at an off-peak time so your dog can get acquainted with the area in a relaxed setting before jumping in with a large group of dogs.

*Pick up. This is the golden rule of dog parks. If your dog answers nature’s call, always have poop bags on hand in case they are not provided. Try to avoid eating, but if picnic tables are offered outside of the dog park gates, be sure to dispose of any garbage before you leave. Dogs are scavengers and will eat or chew on anything left behind.

*Pitch in. From small changes to large renovations, there are many ways dog owners can get involved in their community to help maintain a beautiful oasis for their pets. On May 7, The Nutro Company is hosting its second annual Room to Run Dog Park Appreciation Project in 30 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Volunteers from local communities, alongside associates from The Nutro Company, will roll up their sleeves to refresh and rejuvenate local park spaces through various projects including painting fences, providing benches, picking up trash and landscaping. For more information about the Room to Run Project and for ideas about how you can make a difference in your community, find The Nutro Company on Facebook at .

*Be aware. Know where your dog is at all times. It’s easy for owners to lose track of their pets as they run around, but that doesn’t mean your dog has to be by your side either. You should be able to see your pet at all times. This allows you to monitor your dog’s interaction with other pets and discourage them from rushing new dogs or urinating on any seating areas or water stations.

*Make friends. Your dog wants to get to know other dogs; follow their example and strike up a conversation with a fellow pet owner. Not only might you find a new friend, but getting to know fellow pet owners helps build a stronger community and promotes even better experiences at the dog park.