Dog Park Etiquette     Back to the Etiquette Page
Dog Parks - Assumption of Risk...
To all those entering the off-leash designated boundaries of a dog park, you are aware dogs are un-leashed and loose. Despite the best efforts of any dog owner/handler, a dog may act in an unpredictable manner. Dog owners/handlers are entirely responsible for their dog’s actions and accept the risk of allowing their dog(s) to interact with people, other dogs, existing park and lake conditions, and park employees and vehicles in the performance of their duties. Owners are legally responsible for any injury caused by their dog(s).

Tip for new dog park attendees...

  • Scout out a couple of different parks so you can pick up the park that makes you feel most comfortable.
  • Make a visit to the park once without your dog so you can learn the ins and outs of the park. Each park is quite different.

Tip for new dog park attendees...

  • Arrange to take your dog to the park for the first time during non-peak hours so your dog can get used to the environment without all the high canine traffic.
  • If you or your dog get stressed, don't be afraid to leave.

For Dogs...


  • remember your manners
  • be responsive to basic commands: come, sit and down
  • be friendly and outgoing with humans and dogs alike



  • be a bully
  • body slam humans
  • left your leg on humans

For Humans...


  • leave alcohol at home
  • clean up after your dog
  • supervise your dog's play
  • be courteous to new people
  • obey the posted rules and park hours
  • know when your dog is ready to leave
  • bring extra essentials (water, poop bags, etc)
  • be polite even if someone else's dog is inappropriate.
  • be realistic about your dog's potential as a park playmate
  • remove your dog's leash as soon as you enter the off-leash area
  • know that mixing on and off-leash dogs can stress the leashed dogs - potentially leading to aggression.



  • bring too many dogs
  • leave your dog unattended
  • discipline someone else's dog
  • bring animals that are not dogs
  • wear your best clothes and shoes
  • bring food or snacks in to the park
  • allow your dog to be a bully to the other dogs
  • provide unsolicited advice on dog-rearing techniques
  • worry if your dog doesn't play with the other dogs in the park
Children and Dog Parks...

Children and Dog Parks is always a touchy subject. If you ask 20 people then you'll get 20 different opinions. Here at DogsLifeKC, our own Pack has differed on the views of kids in dog parks. Some feel it is okay and others approach it with extreme caution.

One of the comments we most frequently hear from friends and associates is "My two-year old is great with dogs. He handles mine quite well and is able to control them. He can handle the dogs at the dog park."

Our response, "Oh. That's great. But, your dogs are comfortable with kids and were raised to respect them."

Dogs and kids can be a great combination when supervised. But, they can also be a really bad mix too. While some dogs are kid friendly, not all are. Expecting all the dogs at the dog park to be kid appropriate is not realistic. Some dogs will avoid kids and others will go out of their way to harass them.

Some dogs are used to typical kid behavior such as: poking, prodding, pushing, screaming, yelling, hugging, crying and staring at them eye to eye. There are dogs out there that will take this behavior as being down right rude and they might want to discipline the child.

Dog parks are first and foremost, an area for dogs to run free and act like dogs without the concern of knocking someone over or being disruptive to a neighborhood, home or yard. This means that there will be barking, playing, wrestling and possibly nipping and mouthing.

Dogs, even well-behaved ones, can get a bit wild at the park and may not pay attention to where they are going. When this happens, dogs can run into humans, other dogs and possibly children knocking them down. While it is not intentional, it can and does happen quite frequently.
With all of this said, it is up to the adults involved to decide if they should bring their child to the dog park. If you do, watch your children closely. Remember you need to pay attention to both children and your dog and they could both be running off in different directions causing you stress. Be prepared so fun can be had by all.

  • Don't bring a child in a stroller.
  • Don't let your child take a dog's toy away from it.
  • Keep on eye on your child so he is not running right up to a strange dog.
  • Don't let your child bring in food, bottles, sippy cups or toys in to the park.
  • Don't let a child approach a dog who may be eating something. Some dogs are food aggressive.
  • Don't allow your child to approach or pet a dog or group of dogs without the owner's permission.
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