How to Prevent Injury at the Dog Park

Basic Etiquette:

  • Practice “Come" when called, “Sit”, and “Leave it” with your dog regularly
  • Never bring a sick or hurting dog to the park - this can increase aggression
  • Be polite and respectful when confronting an owner about their dog’s behavior
  • Be willing to leave the park if your dog is being too rough

Pay Attention:

  • Always keep a mindful eye on your dog
  • Watch your dog’s body language and look for cues of stress or fearfulness
  • Step in and give your dog a time-out before play gets rough
  • When other dogs are fighting, call your dog quietly and keep out of the scuffle

When Dogs Fight:

  • Stay Calm - many scuffles are loud arguments that resolve themselves quickly
  • NEVER put yourself in the middle of a dog fight
  • Do NOT reach for your dog’s collar - you could be bitten and seriously injured 

If a fight gets serious, use the following techniques to break it apart: 

Distract the dogs or confuse them temporarily

  • Drench the dogs in water - aim for their mouths
  • Toss a heavy blanket or jacket on top of their heads
  • Use loud noises, such as shouting, clapping, or an air horn to get their attention
  • Use a citronella or pepper spray, but beware of people affected downwind

Separate the dogs:

  • Ideally two people are needed to separate two dogs
  • When only one person is available, focus on the worst aggressor
  • Use the “wheelbarrow method” to pull your dog away:
  1. Grab your dog’s hind legs
  2. Pull his legs upwards and away from the other dog
  3. Walk your dog backwards, keeping his front paws on the ground
  4. Turn away in a circle so your dog focuses on moving his front feet
  5. Carefully leash your dog once he is facing away from the other dog
  • Use caution when handling your dog after a fight - lingering fear or pain can make dogs act aggressively towards you

Like a car accident, when anyone has been injured, exchange contact info and report it to us.