Walking in the Park with Your Dog – Safety Tips and Etiquette

The park seems like an ideal place to go to when taking your dog out for a walk. After all, parks can offer plenty of opportunities for socialization and enough space for your dog to exercise. Picture your dog running around off-leash and bonding with other dogs. At the end of the day, you come home with a tired but happy pup. It’s definitely the dream. 

In reality, however, you’ll most likely end up dealing with a few hiccups because of untrained dogs and sometimes irresponsible dog parents. To help you enjoy your dog’s walking routine, make sure to practice proper park safety tips and etiquette. 

Understand that walking in the park isn’t for everyone

Before you get too excited to let your dog join a larger group of dogs, find out if he/she is ready for social interactions. Usually, pups who grew up with their siblings and mother tend to develop exceptional socialization skills. They can get along with other dogs as well as humans quite well. 

If your dog missed out on early socialization opportunities, you can try seeking help from a professional dog trainer. This way, you can figure out what the best way to help your dog is. In no time, you’ll feel more confident to take your dog out for a stroll in the park. 

Besides gauging your dog’s socialization skills, it’s also equally important to consider your dog’s health condition. For example, if your dog hasn’t received their vaccinations completely, it’s highly discouraged to bring him/her with you on your park visits. You should also avoid bringing your dog along if he/she has something contagious.

Find the right leash to use

Leash laws tend to differ in various places, so it would come handy to know local regulations to avoid getting into trouble. If the area requires you to walk your dog with a leash, see that you have the right one. The perfect leash can make a lot of difference to your dog’s comfort and safety while walking. When shopping for one, consider the following factors:

    • Washability – Hate dealing with stinky or filthy dog leashes? There are many washable and odor-resistant options available today.
    • The material used – Leashes can be made from different materials. Some of the popular types you can find in pet shops include:
      • Nylon – If you’re on a tight budget, nylon leashes are a good option. They’re also easy to clean and made quite comfy. 
      • Rope – If comfort is your top priority, the rope type is a perfect choice. It’s highly durable and can protect against injury.  
      • Hemp – Does your fur baby have sensitive skin? It may be better to use a hemp leash. It’s hypoallergenic and environmental-friendly. The material is also odor resistant because of its anti-microbial property.
  • The time you want to go on a walk – Love strolling with your dog at night? It may be worth it to invest in a reflective leash. You can also look for variants equipped with LED collars.  
  • Leash size and thickness – Choose one that fits your dog well. For example, if you have a small dog like a Boston Terrier, a large and thick leather collar might cause extreme discomfort. 
  • Adjustable vs. retractable – While a retractable leash may seem more practical, it can encourage your dog to pull on his/her leash. That’s why it’s better to choose an adjustable type. This way, you can temporarily shorten it if you need to exercise more control or teach your dog proper walking behavior.
  • Leash clips used – You can choose from several types of dog leash clips. Each type offers different advantages.
    • Trigger snap clip – It is an ideal option if you have a large and physically active dog. These are big clips designed to withstand pressure.
    • Bolt snap clip – Looking for something that’s suited for a small or medium-sized dog? The bolt snap clip is the right product to use.
    • Carabiner with locking clasp – Most dog leashes come with built-in carabiner. While they’re bulkier compared to the other types, they’re made to be more durable.  

Be mindful of your manners!

It’s quite unfortunate how some dog owners forget to practice basic park etiquette. For example, a lot of people tend to forget that not everyone loves dogs around them. Some find it incredibly scary when an overly enthusiastic dog jumps on them. As a responsible dog owner, you need to be aware of such situations.  

You should also avoid petting other dogs. Make it a habit to ask permission from the dog’s owners before anything else. Keep in mind these two basic dog walking etiquette as well as the rest of the tips below: 

  • Redirect your dog when he/she feels anxious or shows signs of aggression.
  • If your dog keeps making trouble, it may be a sign that he needs to undergo behavioral training. 
  • Discourage your dog from chasing wild animals or other pets. 
  • If you brought treats with you, avoid feeding them to other dogs. 
  • Clean up after your dog at all times. No one likes to deal with pet waste. 
  • Dispose of poop bags or snack wrappers in the proper trash bins.

Lastly, keep watch of your dog!

There are some cases when it’s best to ignore a dog’s behavior, such as when he/she whines before you leave the house. However, most of the time, you need to address bad dog attitudes before they get worse. For example, if your dog loves running amok while in the park, it might cause problems with others passing by or those who also have dogs with them. Find out what’s causing such behavior and see what you can do to resolve it.

Additionally, you should always keep an eye on your pup. Never leave him/her unattended, especially when you see a lot of distractions in the area. 

Enjoying a smooth and peaceful walk in the park with your dog is definitely possible. As long as you practice the basic safety and etiquette tips discussed above, you will do just fine. Enjoy your next trip to the park!