Our mission: To protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.

Dog park dos and don'ts

 September 20, 2010

If you take your dog to the local off-leash dog park, mind your manners.

“Communities don’t have to provide space for off-leash dogs, so the best way to ensure this is an amenity that always exists in your neighbourhood is to behave responsibly when using it,” says Meghann Cant, animal welfare educator for the BC SPCA.

Cant says that dog parks are for well-socialized dogs and their responsible guardians. By following a few simple rules, guardians can make a trip to the dog park a highly enjoyable experience for people and dogs alike.

Dog park etiquette from the BC SPCA:

  • Watch your dog at all times at the park. This is your opportunity to set boundaries for your dog of acceptable behaviour. Intervene with clear commands when your dog is misbehaving and praise with positive commands when your dog is playing appropriately. Pay attention to your dog’s body language and be prepared to recall him at signs of trouble – baring teeth, low growls and offensive posturing.
  • Rain coats and clothing on your dog inhibit his ability to communicate to other dogs and should be left at home.
  • If your dog has a behaviour issue such as aggression or fearfulness, you should work on these issues with a dog behaviourist prior to turning him loose at a busy dog park. The behaviour section of the SPCA website has some great information on intervention strategies for common behaviour issues.
  • Bring extra bags and pick up after your dog.
  • Leave the toys at home. Resource-based aggression is one of the most common initiators of aggression so even a dirty old tennis ball can cause a fight.
  • Spay or neuter your dog. Spayed/neutered dogs are less likely to incite or exhibit aggression. Low-cost spay/neuter is provided at the BC SPCA Vancouver Animal Hospital and our spay/neuter clinics in Prince George and Kamloops

Read more about proper dog park etiquette in The Province newspaper.


The Monty Fund for Community Education & Outreach helps the BC SPCA provide educational programs and public resources. Your support allows us to reach out to pet guardians across the province and prevent suffering before it starts. Please donate today.

Photo caption: Our furry friend Monty keeps cool with a friend in the water at Trout Lake (top) and enjoys a game of fetch (bottom).

The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.











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