What should I never bring to a dog park?

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There’s a lot of talk about dog park etiquette. Use common sense—but here are a few guidelines.

Don’t bring:
• A dog on a leash into the dog park. Dog parks are places where the dogs can run off-leash, exercise and play. They are double-gated so the dogs can’t get out and. If your dog is on a leash and is approached by one who isn’t, it can become a territorial issue and a fight will break out.
If you think your dog should be on a leash because she’s timid or aggressive, she probably isn’t a good candidate anyway. Make sure she’s socialized and knows a few basic obedience commands.
Always watch your dog– and watch others. Sometimes overexcitement can turn playful behavior into one of aggression; if you see stiff or rigid bodies, a low, slow tail wag or intense eye contact—leave immediately!
• An aggressive or possessive dog to the park. An aggressive dog can injure others or maybe even injure itself by picking on the wrong dog. A possessive dog may attack when she see someone go near her toys OR her owner.
• Small children: Your dog probably loves your child and allows him to pull her tail and otherwise play. Not every dog will like, or understand, that. Remember, it’s a dog park—not a kid park.
• Treats. That’s one of the best ways to start a fight.
• Food. It’s not always obvious, but there are two reasons why you should never do this. First, do you really want to be swarmed by a dog pack wanting a piece of your sandwich? Second, you can really make a dog sick by giving it some food without first checking with the owners.
• Toys if you don’t want them stolen. Fair warning: Know that other dogs will chase the ball you throw, will jump at the toy in your hand and will often steal the ball from your dog to get a reaction and entice a game of chase.

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