Eight Simple Rules for the Dog Park

Now that spring's here, Houston's dog parks will see more action, and it's important that we all be mindful of each other so going to the park is a pleasant experience for both two- and four-legged visitors.

Parks already have basic regulations, and some, like Johnny Steele Dog Park, have extra regulations, like a one-hour time limit and two-dog maximum. But here are some unwritten rules that everyone should keep in mind, so that we can avoid any faux paws (HEY-OH!).

Don't Keep Your Dog on a Leash

We've seen people keep their pooches on leashes well after they've entered the park, and that can invite trouble. According to the ASPCA, "many dogs lunge and bark at other dogs when on-leash, a behavior that trainers call 'leash reactivity.'" Butt-sniffing -- the traditional canine handshake -- is extremely difficult when one is hindered by a leash. You're at a park for a reason, so let Fido free.

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Contributor Craig Malisow covers crooks, quacks, animal abusers, elected officials, and other assorted people for the Houston Press.
Contact: Craig Malisow