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Sharing Public Parks: Tips for Dog Owners and Parents

Sharing Public Parks: Tips for Dog Owners and Parents

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You guys, the good weather is coming.

Actually, here in BC, the good weather is here. I know that there are some of you out there that still have snow and so I totally get it if, right now, you want to throw rotten fruit at me. In my defence, the good weather isn’t like, every day, we’re still get more than our fair share of rain and mud, but the nice days in between are breath taking.

The best part of the good weather is being about to get out and really enjoy it with your dogs.

Get out and play! Your dog will thank you for it.

Get out and play! Your dog will thank you for it.

In the summer we do a whole lot of walking in public parks and dog friendly spaces, and yet, many of the places I would love to go are off limits to dogs. As much as I hate that not all public parks are dog-friendly, I also understand.

Play parks and ball fields are meant for kids to hang out at and I can see why some parents are reluctant to see those spaces shared. After all, tiny humans are always putting their hands in their mouths and rubbing their faces and eating dirt. Who wants to wonder if someone’s dog pee’d in that dirt a few minutes ago? Plus, off leash dogs and free-roaming kids can be a recipe for disaster unless everyone is dog & kid savvy.

If we want to see more public spaces designated dog friendly, we have to be respectful in how we use those spaces and hey, in exchange for a little more prudence on the part of dog owners, I’m hoping parents can do us a few favours too. Let’s all work together to make public spaces safe, fun and functional for everyone, OK? ( ♩ ♪ And I think, to myself, what a wonderful woooooooorld ♪ ♩)

Sharing Public Parks: Tips for Parents & Pet Owners


Dog Owners make sure your dogs are using designated potty spots. There is nothing worse than an owner that lets their dog pee all over everything. I’ve seen dogs lift their legs on benches, swing sets and randomly in the middle of ball fields. Not only is this unhygienic, it’s gross and rude. If you’re planning to hang out near an area where kids play (like the playground or the ball park), take your dog for a walk first and make sure they go elsewhere. (I hope that) it goes without saying that if your dog uses the bathroom somewhere they shouldn’t, you should make an effort to wipe it up. (I carry a small packet of disinfectant wipes for this purpose. <-affiliate link). No matter where your dogs goes, pick it up. No exceptions. Ever.

Earth Rated is looking for people who want to clean up their local parks – they’ll even supply the bags. Find out more here.

Parents teach your kids to be dog savvy. Sure, my dogs are very friendly, but any dog can get freaked out when a small person rushes them squealing and waving their hands. I can only control my dogs as well as you can control your kids. Let’s work together to make sure no one gets hurt.

Dog Owners Respect leash laws. Let me say this again, RESPECT THE LEASH LAWS. I don’t care how well behaved your dog is or how solid your voice control is, a law is a law and when you wilfully break this one, it makes us all look bad. And while we’re on the subject of leashes, can we please toss the retractable ones. These leashes are dangerous at the best of times, let’s not risk using them in spaces where small children could get hurt.

dog walkies beta biothane leash review

These guys are always leashed when we’re out…
and not just because they can’t be trusted. It’s the law, yo.

Parents, I know that snacks are an important part of keeping kids happy and preventing melt downs, but for the love of woof, PLEASE, if your child spills, clean it up. Your “no big deal” handful of goldfish crackers will end up with my dog vomiting and then three weeks of itching, hot spots and my shouting “leave that alone” as he licks at his red, sore open welts. I am begging you here.

Dog Owners, if you have a ball obsessed dog, train a “play ball” command, so that they don’t go after every ball they see. Small children are a prime target for canine ball thieves. Train your dogs that running and flailing is not an invitation to chase, jump or maul people. Teaching your dog to play these games on command only makes the park safer for everyone.

Jasper from No Dog About It loves his ball, but he knows not to be a jerk about it.

Jasper from No Dog About It loves his ball, but he knows not to be a jerk about it.

Parents keep control of your kids in off-leash areas. Allowing them to snack and run around in these areas is asking for trouble and someone is going to get hurt. Make sure any behaviour inside the off leash gates is first and foremost, dog safe.

Hopefully, if we all make a few small adjustments, we can share our public parks and green spaces in peace. After all, we’re all paying taxes and trying to do the best we can for our dogs and children. Let’s work together to make the whole experience easier for everyone.

What’s your biggest pet peeve about sharing public parks? What can be do to make sharing these spaces easier?

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How to Plan a Dog Friendly Picnic + a Give Away | Kol's NotesKol's Notes

Friday 23rd of May 2014

[…] For more ideas on how dogs and people can respectfully share park spaces, check this post out. […]

Stacey Van Horn

Monday 5th of May 2014

Great post with wonderful tips. I just wish there was a way we could make sure other people had to read them and then follow them.

Homes Alive Pets

Thursday 24th of April 2014

Great ideas! It's refreshing to hear about responsibility beyond picking up your dog's poo. And I like that you mention things that parents should do, too. Often people with children and no pets (and vice versa) don't think about how their actions might affect those who have pets.


Saturday 26th of April 2014

Thank you Homes Alive! I think if we all just worked together and tried to be a bit more considerate, our parks could be so much lovelier.


Thursday 24th of April 2014

If the dog park signs say no children under twelve, then don't bring your kids.

Jen K

Friday 25th of April 2014

There are dog parks that have that?! Like, not just in my dreams?

Cynthia Amber Downer

Wednesday 23rd of April 2014

I'm a parent and I have 3 dogs. I have to say my BIGGEST pet peeve is when people take their kids to off-leash dog parks. I'm sorry, even if the child is "dog smart", some dogs just don't like kids. They still deserve a safe place to get outside/off owner's property, and a dog park provides that. Just like no dogs in some areas for children, I say no children at off leash dog parks.


Saturday 26th of April 2014

I can see both sides. On one hand, in an ideal world, this would be the case, but in THIS world, it isn't, so as long as kids are allowed at dog parks, there needs to be some rules an education.

Also, I have a friend, great mom, great dog mom, who takes her kids and her dogs to the park every day. She's taught her kids to sit quietly at the picnic table and colour while the dogs play and taught her dogs to lay quietly on their towel while the kids play. If she couldn't take both to both parks, they would almost never get to go...

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