Skip to main content

It's a common scenario at many off-leash dog parks: dogs are running freely, owners are throwing sticks or chatting with friends, non-owners are enjoying a coffee or a walk. All is well until a fight breaks out between two pups, and the owners are scrambling to pull them apart, or until a non-dog-owner steps on something brown that isn't mud. Here are some tips on how everyone can enjoy the dog park together and avoid the fights.

For dog owners:

Carry a leash: Even if it's an off-leash area, you never know when you'll need it.

Story continues below advertisement

Have a reliable recall: Be within sight and voice range, and make sure your dog will come when you call for it.

Be courteous to others: Always clean up after your dog, and if a person is concerned and asks that you and your dog keep back, respect that request.

Obey the signs: Off-leash areas often have time restrictions, so take your dogs off the leash only when it's okay to do so.

Pre-exercise: Take your dog for a long walk before hitting the dog park. The walk will tire it out, and it will be much calmer.

Keep your dog active: Giving dogs a job to do – running, fetching – keeps them focused, happy and more inclined to mind their own business.

Watch for signs: The nose-in-the-bum sniff is a friendly gesture, but charging at or jumping on each other is not. Preoccupied owners may miss it when their dog suddenly tenses up, or when it's being attacked by another dog or starts bullying others.

Damage control: If your dog's in a fight with another dog, don't try to get in there; you might get bitten. The safest way is to grab its hind legs and pull back.

Story continues below advertisement

Leave their favourite toy at home: If your dog tends to be protective of his ball or stick, leave it at home. It could become a source of conflict if other dogs want to play with it.

For non-owners:

Avoid the clash: Come at a time when dogs must be leashed. Most parks in Vancouver restrict off-leash dogs between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Don't run: Resist the urge to flee when you see a dog running toward you.

Take care of little children: Caution them about petting a strange dog, keep them close when they're running and tell them to stand still if a dog turns aggressive.

Put your food where dogs can't reach it: Rather than spreading your picnic lunch on the grass, move it onto a bench or a table.

Story continues below advertisement

Be courteous to others: Space is often limited, and keeping to unspoken boundaries is crucial to avoiding conflict.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading…

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.