With summer around the corner… more people are venturing outdoors for an array of activities, such as sports, picnics and other events. So what about the people that are dog owners and decide to take their pet to the park with them? Some will want to run their dogs along their side… whether biking or exercising, while others just want enjoy a leisurely stroll through their local park. Many of the parks seem to cater to pets, creating their own space, such as a dog park. These parks inside the park are fenced and a safe place to let your pets run free (in a controlled area), while improving their social skills among other animals. The majority of these areas provide biodegradable baggies for the owners so they are able to dispose of their doggy poop, but let’s face it…not everyone will use them. It’s time people become aware of some park etiquette; rules and guidelines for those who like to use public parks.

As a pet owner you have a responsibility, to your dog and to others that share this public space. When using the dog park one must always look for signage, it will post its’ rules and regulations; ‘Petiquette’ is the term used here. Depending on your location, rules are not always the same, though generally similar.  For interested parties on dog parks you can find advocates just about anywhere through the NDPA; National Dog Park Association.

Public parks are for all to enjoy, whether you are taking your family on a picnic or children to a playground, it is a wonderful place for just about any activity. When taking children to a playground for the first time, you will need to teach them patience, as you guide them through some ‘little people’ etiquette of their own, in order for them to play nicely among peers. It is a learning process for everyone, but once you set boundaries for them they will learn to respect the property of the parks and others as they grow into young adults. I’m not sure that everyone actually talks to their children about rules or proper behavior before entering a park for the first time. When discussing this, my thoughts are general, such as; teaching them to throw their garbage in a trash can (even if it requires a short walk), learn to wait their turn when it comes to swings or other equipment on the playground, always respect your elders and be nice to others. Such simple rules to follow, yet I’m not seeing it often in the parks. Then we have our teens. They like to play sports, but the teens today (not all), use foul language which is disturbing, as there are usually smaller children around. I know this might sound petty to some, but we need to stay vigilant when it comes to respecting others and teaching the younger ones the same. From there we move on to adults. There is not a day that goes by… that I see someone walking their dog and leaving their feces without picking it up. They use the park as a dumping ground for their animals and it disgusts me, the lack of respect for others! Usually these dog owners have larger animals, oh…and I’m sorry…but if you can’t take proper care while in public… then don’t become a pet-owner. This past weekend I couldn’t believe the dog walkers everywhere, and half of them didn’t bother picking up their poop. Not only is it disrespectful, it’s downright dangerous (toxic) to our young children that play in these parks. I, for one have no problem speaking out when I see this. The same goes for those that refuse to put their dogs on a leash while walking through the middle of the park or playground. You don’t know if something might upset the animal, even if it is trained, as it might attack a child or something else in the park if it becomes skittish. All I am saying here is please… Please adhere to your local rules and, or guidelines to your parks, and let’s not forget to treat others as we would like to be treated. Respect the world we live in, and teach those that do not know any better, together we can make a difference.

Make your week count.