Keeping it Cordial at the Dog Park

Amy & Rod Burkert Amy & Rod Burkert  |  12.06.2017

Off-leash areas are increasingly popular amenities at RV parks and campgrounds – in fact, they’re almost necessary for any park claiming to be “pet-friendly.” After a long day of back-seat driving, many pups look forward to a romp in the dog park to burn off some energy, and providing a safe place for them to play is a convenience pet owners truly appreciate.

Any time pets and people are coming together, it’s wise to observe a few rules of etiquette, and we have some tips that will make your dog park experience more fun for everyone.

Ask Before You Enter: While we generally think of dog parks as a place for canine socialization, the off-leash areas in campgrounds and RV parks are a little different. When these spaces are not being utilized by others, owners whose dogs don’t necessarily enjoy the company of other pets might take the opportunity to let their dogs explore off-leash. Before entering the dog park at a campground or RV park, always ask if the pets already there are friendly. If they’re not, move away from the gate so the other person can bring their dog out without a confrontation.

Drop the Leash: Part of the fun of going to the dog park is ditching the leash! But if you’re concerned that your dog won’t come when called and would be difficult to catch, let him drag his leash around the enclosure instead. Holding the leash while he’s inside the dog park could make your dog feel threatened when interacting with other dogs and may lead to a fight.

Mind the Size Differences: Pups of all shapes and sizes are traveling with their families, but mixing large and small dogs in the dog park could lead to problems. Large dogs play rougher, and could see small dogs or puppies as prey. Unless you know all the dogs well, it’s a good rule of thumb to choose doggy playmates that are no more than twice the size of your pup.

Always Pick Up: There is nothing worse than stepping in some other dog’s mess while you’re trying to enjoy time with your dog! And abandoned waste can transmit illnesses to other dogs. Picking up your pet’s waste and disposing of it properly is always the right thing to do.

Take Care With Toys: Some dogs are possessive of their toys and may instigate a fight if another dog tries to join in the play. If your dog is prone to this behavior, leave his toys in the RV, or only take them when there are no other dogs using the park.

Leave the Food and Treats Outside: Some dogs have trouble controlling their impulses around food and treats, so the dog park is not the place to bring these items. Dogs are there to have fun – temping them with tasty snacks and hoping they won’t jump up or try to get them is expecting too much.

Pay Attention: In our constantly connected world, it’s easy to be distracted by your phone while you’re at the dog park with your pup. When other dogs are there, this behavior is not only irresponsible, it could be dangerous. Watching the interactions between dogs is your responsibility as a pet parent. Your top priority at the dog park should be ensuring that play doesn’t escalate into a fight, and that dogs aren’t being harassed by other dogs.

Having off-leash dog parks for our furry travel companions to play is a nice treat when we’re on the road, and we want to be sure everyone has the chance to enjoy them! Do you have any additional suggestions on how to make these spaces safer and more fun for your dog?

If your dog loves dog parks, use our pet-friendly road trip planner to locate them along your route anywhere in the United States!


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