Being a Responsible Dog Owner at the Park


  1. Have Your Dog Under Control - On-lead or off, your dogs must be under your control at all times. If off-lead, your dog must have a reliable recall and remain under your voice control.
  2. Good recall, where your dog immediately responds to your recall cue at all times is essential to prevent your dog running off towards something dangerous such as an open road, man-hole or a box of chocolates/chocolate bars someone has decided to leave discarded on a bench/ground in the park (it does happen!) or out of sight where there could be hidden dangers.
  3. Not all dogs like to socialise with other dogs and we need to respect this by teaching our dogs not to go running up uninvited to another dog.
  4. Just like people, dogs need 'Personal Space' and just like people, some dogs need more 'Space' than others!
  5. To allow our dogs to run towards another dog, especially when asked to keep our dogs away, is rude and poor dog etiquette - how would you like a stranger to come towards you and touching your body or throwing themselves at you?
  6. If another dog owner asks you to move your dog away from their dog or put them on a lead, do so immediately and do not reply '(s)he's friendly' as continuing to pursue a dog that is signalling to your dog that they do not want to interact is not friendly behaviour. Please remember not doing so may cause their dog to develop a fear of other dogs and not want to go for a walk or become reactive towards other dogs out of fear/anxiety and not aggression.
  7. If your dog is interacting with another dog and you are asked to move them away, do so by going and physically getting them, if you know or see that they are not doing so by you calling them.
  8. If your dog tends to go bounding up to dogs uninvited put your dog on a lead as soon as you see another dog in the distance.
  9. If you see another dog in a sit-stay maintaining eye contact with their owner and ignoring/looking away from you and your dog make sure that your dog does not try to say 'hello' as this dog is giving a clear message that they do not wish to/unable to socialise with other dogs and have a right not to.
  10. Ask before allowing your dog to interact with another dog and while doing so have your dog do a stand or sit stay by your side. Respect their answer if it is a 'no'. Dogs have the right to be left alone if they do not wish to socialise in the same way us humans have.
  11. Always remember, one day it may be your dog that needs 'Space'.
  12. Show compassion for people with shy or reactive dogs and for these dogs themselves.
  13. Never let your off-lead dog go up to a dog on-lead -
    the on-lead dog has no way to move away if they do not wish to interact
    the lead can cause a confrontational stance making the dog snap at your dog
    the dog may be on a lead for the very reason it is not up to interacting with other dogs
  14. Lock retractable leads when you see other dogs
  15. Responsible dog owners are aware of how their actions impact those around them and do not allow themselves or their dogs (no matter how friendly their dogs may be) to frighten, disturb, or hurt other dogs, even unintentionally.
  16. It is best if dogs can say hello off-lead as this allows the dogs to independently initiate and follow through the ritual of a dog greeting without interference from the owners, reducing the likeliness of tension or confrontation. The owners remain calm, all the time watching the dogs' body language for signs of being uncomfortable. If either dog shows such signs then the owners recall their dogs. Should the dogs not listen, the owners could try to lure them off by showing a yummy treat or their ball/toy, if they are toy orientated. It is not wise to physically intervene as this may be misinterpreted by one of both the dogs and escalate any tension that may be between them. It is rare for dogs off lead to attack each other as they're both free to walk away.
  17. If one or both dogs must be on-lead when saying hello, ensure that the dogs are able to arc towards each other and the owner(s) keep a loose lead and walk with their dog(s) as the dog(s) move around each other rather than remaining stationary, preventing the leads getting tangled, reducing the likelihood of tension or confrontation caused by face-on meeting when on a lead.
  18. Ask before approaching or petting any dog - you would not like a stranger to touch you uninvited! Never assume it is alright to approach an unfamiliar dog. By asking you are being responsible, respectful and safe.
  19. Respect the Response - Wait for the dog owner to respond and respect their wishes if they say “no”. It’s not personal. Their dog just needs space. Please give them enough space to pass by, as you would another human without a dog.
  20. Never allow your dog to jump on people. Be vigilant around cyclists, runners and children; if your dog is not socialised to these people s/he should be kept on a lead.
  21. Teach your dog to sit to be petted, and instruct people not to pet the dog until it is sitting
  22. Always Pick-Up after your dog.
  23. Occasionally stop or sit to let your dog just watch the world go by. This can be a useful time for him to get used to sights, sounds and smells and make sense of them.
  24. Enjoy yourself and the time you spend with your dog.