Proper ways to run, play, and behave at your local dog parks
With temperatures cooling down, now is the best time to take your dog to the dog park. While rough-and-tumble is generally accepted between dogs, there are a few things that owners should still keep in mind. Here are a few tips to ensure the dog park is a fun and enjoyable place for dogs to roam freely.
Follow the Rules
Maricopa County requires that all dogs be licensed and that any dog over 4 months of age is current on their shots. Before venturing out to play, it’s essential to make sure your dog’s license and vaccinations are up-to-date. Contact your veterinarian to schedule an annual exam and ensure your dog’s license is renewed.
Any dog over the age of 3 months is additionally required to wear a collar or harness with a valid license tag. Tags help identify your four-legged friend in case they wander off during playtime or get lost.
Many designated off-leash dog parks have their own rules, but some general rules apply to every park. Arizona State law requires all dogs to be on a leash until they’re inside a park’s off-leash area, and the gates are completely closed. It’s recommended to first familiarize your dog with other dogs while on a leash before letting your pet run freely.
Keep it Clean
Making a visit to your area park (or neighborhood sidewalk) shows us that some people need to be reminded to clean up after their pets! Always bring a waste bag with you as a backup in case the park doesn’t supply bags (or they’ve run out for the day). In addition to being courteous, cleaning up decreases the spread of water contamination and infectious diseases.
Some cities have even taken matters into their own hands to make owners responsible for cleaning up after their pets. Mesa, for instance, enacted a city ordinance requiring owners to pick up dog waste and subjecting violators to fines. Regardless of your city, be courteous of parks and others – always scoop the poop.
We’ve all seen it: the owners who are so immersed in texting, reading, or a phone call while their dog is doing something wildly inappropriate. at the dog park. We all don’t want to be that person!
Visits to the dog park are a great way to meet fellow pet owners and make new furry friends. When mingling, it’s important to stay alert and not get too caught up in those distractions. As a pet owner, you are personally liable for your pet’s conduct at all times and can be responsible for any damages or injuries caused if your dog harms another dog or person. It only takes a minute for a fun, playful scene to turn awry, so always be on the lookout for those behaviors!
Even as a regular visitor to the dog park, you never know what to expect from other dogs and their owners. Overeager playmates. Bullies and ball hogs. With so many individuals and dogs sharing space, there’s always the potential for conflict. It’s essential to train your dog to respond to commands, even in a distracting situation. This training can help quickly defuse potential conflicts. Teach your dog to sit or stand still when meeting new people and dogs.
If you witness your dog being territorial, marking excessively, stealing toys, ganging up on or rushing other dogs, put a stop to their behavior immediately. Leashing up and leaving the park is an excellent way to make sure things don’t escalate while teaching your pet that bad behavior has consequences.
Contact your veterinarian for recommendations on trainers and resources to work through aggressive and antisocial behaviors.
Phoenix Dog Parks
Now that you’ve reviewed the dog park etiquette rules let’s get out and play. Need suggestions on a dog park in your area? Check out our list of Phoenix dog parks below:
- RJ Dog Park at Pecos Park on 48th Street and Pecos Parkway is named after RJ, a police service dog killed in duty. Two acres of grass are divided to provide areas for small and large dogs. Fully fenced and ADA accessible, owners give this park high reviews for cleanliness, ample shaded seating, and friendliness of other patrons.
- Steele Indian School Dog Park is open from 6 AM-10 PM every day at 300 East Indian School Road in Phoenix. The park includes paw-shaped pathways, chilled drinking fountains, waste bag dispensers, and ADA-compliant double-gated entrances. As with other Phoenix dog parks, they may close to allow turf to dry appropriately after heavy rainfall.
- Cesar Chavez Dog Park is located in South Mountain. The park is open from 5:30 a.m. to 11:45 p.m., giving you plenty of time to take your dog out before or after working hours. If you’re wanting to take your dog for a scenic walk, the Alvord Lake Path located next to the park is a great place to stretch your legs.
- Margaret Hance dog park, located in the northwest section of Margaret T. Hance Park between 3rd and 5th Avenue prioritizes your dog’s safety. That’s why this unique park separates its playing area into two regions: one for smaller dogs and one for bigger dogs.
- Paradise Valley Dog Park is the perfect place for family and dogs alike to get outside and play. Featuring 2.4 acres of grass and 2 shade ramadas, owners can watch as their furry pals bound across the gated fields. Another perk? There are benches, tables, and drinking fountains.
Have you been to the dog park lately? If so, what tips can you share about local parks and park etiquette? We look forward to your comments!