Dog Park Etiquette

A big feature to consider for dog owners is if your apartment complex has a dog park inside! Many complexes will now include a fenced, grassy space where residents can bring their canine friends for some off-leash fun. There will always be rules posted that are specific to your apartment complex, but here are some tried and true dog park etiquette tips to keep your furry friend a dog park favorite!

  • Always follow leash and gate rules

Before taking your dog to the dog park for the first time, walk by it to read the rules. They’ll be posted and easy to find. Don’t see any? Contact your landlord. In most cases, there will be a specified area for dogs off-leash and an area where dogs must be leashed (close to the gate, for instance). When entering and exiting the dog park, keep a close eye on your leashed pup as well as other dogs that may be roaming nearby. If there’s a dog too close to the gate while you’re trying t open it, ask their owner to come and grab them so you can get in or out. Owners will be grateful you asked instead of risking the dog getting out.

  • Limit barking

Just like you do you in your apartment, try not to let your dog bark incessantly. Not only can the noise become annoying for other dog park patrons, but other tenants of your apartment complex will likely hear as well. Practice training your pup not to bark and enforce the training in public places and private places alike.

  • Be attentive

Keep a close eye on your dog at all times and never step away from the dog park while your dog is off-leash inside, even if another dog owner has offered to watch it. This is especially true when there are multiple dogs off-leash in the park.

  • Introduce your dog to others

When seeing new dogs and new dog owners in the park, take a moment to introduce yourself and introduce the dogs to each other. This will keep you on the right foot with neighbors and keep dogs safe. As stated above, keep a special close eye on your dog’s interactions with newbies to the park.

  • Don’t monopolize time

If the dog park fills up quickly, try not to monopolize the time you spend there. Give your dog good exercise, but if other dogs are waiting to enter, don’t linger too long. This is a common courtesy and shouldn’t be a problem very often.

  • Keep your dog healthy

This is likely already a rule in your apartment’s dog park, but your dog should always be up to date on their shots before interacting with humans or other dogs. If you aren’t sure, take your pup to the vet to check. Just like humans, sick doggies should stay home until they’re no longer ill.

Be sure to keep etiquette in mind when you’re in any public apartment space, and especially when you add dogs into the mix. Many people are very sensitive about their animals, and the last thing you want is to start a passive-aggressive feud with an apartment neighbor.

Are you finding that some dog owners aren’t following your apartment’s dog park rules? Contact your leasing company to let them know of the poor behavior and try to schedule your park visits when they’re not there.

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Author My First Apartment

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Sarah is a dog lover and advocate for conversation & laughing at your own jokes. Since finishing her college career in communications, she began working (and living) in Atlanta. After living in a few different apartments over the last few years, she's ready to share experiences. Stay tuned for adventures, tips and advice!

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