With backyards and other open spaces shrinking, parks are becoming increasingly important for the city dwellers and their pets.

Although in India, dog parks are not very common, there are some parks like the Dog Park in Kondapur, Hyderabad; Lodhi Garden, New Delhi; The Elephant Pond, Bengaluru, Yari Road Pet Park in Mumbai and Off the Leash Park in Gurugram where you can enjoy fun outings with your pets. While we love to see our four-legged babies freely run around, jump, relax, crawl and exercise, there are some basic rules, responsibilities, and etiquettes that we all must follow to ensure our pets’ safety and make the park pleasant for everyone.

Prepare in Advance!

Before taking your pooch to a dog park, visit the site without your pet first to get an idea of the overall atmosphere of the place. Ask the guards and the visitors to know when it is the busiest. If your dog is scared of new places, people, and other dogs, take him to the park when there aren’t as many dogs. That way, you’ll have more control over your pet and the surroundings. Don’t forget to keep him/her on a leash and under your supervision to avoid any unpleasant occurrences.

Try to Spend Quality Time with your Pooch! 

Very often, a lot of dog owners visit dog parks with their dogs, let them off-leash and then whip out their cell phones and engage themselves somewhere else. They take a glance every five minutes or so to make sure their dog is fine and then they go right back to answering texts, clicking selfies, responding to emails or talking to their known people over the phone or in person, if they find someone in the park. While it is understandable that you cannot totally avoid your mobile phone or any such circumstance but, it is still your responsibility to monitor your pet’s interactions and make sure they are getting proper attention from you. Also, mobile phones can be a big distraction in an open play environment, so keep your mobile phone in your bag for some time and remain attentive to make sure your dog is safe, behaving well, and not indulging in unwanted snacking.

Do Bring your Own Water Bowl!

You will find communal water bowls at some dog parks, but they are usually pretty nasty. Some of the contagious dog diseases are spread through saliva so your pooch might fall sick after drinking water from a communal bowl. You can bring your own water bowl to ensure your dog is healthy and well hydrated.

Don’t Let Your Dog Lunge at Other Dogs or People!

While dog people absolutely love dog hugs and licking, others find it rude and frightening. So to avoid offending people and scaring other pets at the park, take responsibility for your pet. Maintain a strong pack leader status during your visit to the park, to ensure your dog always behaves well.

Do Clean-up After Your Dog's Pooping Session!

Ever went to a dog park with your pooch and accidentally stepped on dog poop? It’s a great feeling; isn’t it? Moreover, poop lying in open is never a good sight, no matter how much you love your pooch. So, always clean up after your dog even if you are in a hurry. Bring poop bags and pick up your dog’s droppings when exiting the park.

Don’t Forget to Give Your Dog an Identification Tag!

It’s never safe to take your dog outside without an identification tag. God forbid, if your dog manages to escape the park, the tag will ensure you’ll be reunited again.

Don't Bring a Dog or a Young Puppy during Heat Hours!

Very young puppies that haven’t been properly immunized against common diseases should never be brought to dog parks. Dog parks house many parasites and diseases. So, it’s best to leave your young fur baby at home. As far as a dog in heat is concerned, does this even need to be stated? Not only it will cause havoc in the park, but you will also be the most hated person there for the obvious reason.

Make Sure Your Dog is Vaccinated!

Before taking your dog to a dog park, it is important to ensure that your dog is fully vaccinated. In public parks, diseases can be found in bowls, water, soil, and even air, so vaccinating your dog/dogs is absolutely important.

Don’t be Harsh on Strays!

Dog parks may be an area of recreation for our furry babies but for some unfortunate homeless dogs, that place is their ‘home’. We all know dogs are territorial in nature, so be calm if a homeless dog barks at you or your pooch. Chances are that he is scared or feels threatened. You have to make them understand that you are not a threat to them. So, whenever you visit a dog park, don’t forget to carry a packet of treats or dog biscuits.

Feed them to the strays you meet on your way, very soon they will start associating your presence with tasty treats and may even become your pooch’s playmates. Are you following the rules and being a good pet parent and a responsible citizen? Make sure, you follow all these dos and don’ts when you visit a dog park the next time. Following these rules will ensure that everyone’s experience at the dog park is pleasant, safe, and enjoyable.

Happy Parenting!!