Jun 162014

When the weather gets warmer…more dogs come out to play!  So now is a good time to review the rules and etiquette for taking Fido to the park.  Most important of course is to make sure your dog is properly vaccinated and socialized.  Puppies under 4 months, dogs without all their shots, and aggressive or extremely timid dogs are best to avoid the dog park.

The best way to insure a good time for all, be respectful of your park (clean up after your dog) and always watch your dog.  Make sure your pooch isn’t playing too rough or cowering in fear under the park bench.  Always be there to protect your dog.

That said, here are the official rules for Chicago’s dog parks – click on the link for more information from the MonDog Website:

  1. Owners are legally responsible for their dogs and any injuries caused by their dogs.
  2. Owners must remain with and watch their dogs at all times.
  3. Dogs must be leashed prior to and upon leaving the DFA.
  4. Owners must immediately clean up after their dogs.
  5. Dogs with a known history of, or who exhibit, dangerous behavior are prohibited.
  6. Dogs must be healthy, fully immunized, dewormed, and licensed.
  7. No dog will be allowed in a DFA unless it has a current rabies vaccination.
  8. Dog owners are responsible for the monitoring and maintenance of the DFA.
  9. Owners or other responsible persons must have a DFA permit with them for each dog visiting the DFA.
  10. Each dog visiting a DFA must display a current Chicago Park District DFA tag.
  11. DFA permits expire on December 31 of the year that it is issued.
  12. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult; younger children must be closely supervised.
  13. Only three dogs per person allowed.
  14. Puppies under four months old and female dogs in heat are prohibited.
  15. Failure to comply with the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control Regulation for Chicago Park District DFAs can result in a fine.
Onto Etiquette…our dog parks will only continue to thrive if we are compassionate and considerate of our dog park neighbors.
  • Clean up after your dog
  • Don’t bring people food into the park
  • Always ask before feeding another dog a treat
  • Don’t discipline another person’s dog, but do remove your dog from an aggressive or inappropriate situation.
  • Play with your dog and pay attention to him, but don’t forget to let him socialize with the other dogs.
  • If you see another dog and their parent about to leave, call your dog over so they can leave easily.
  • Always shut the gate behind you.
  • Talk to people – chat about your puppies and give other dog parents a heads up if you’ve been there for a while and noticed anything unusual or a dog that could be potentially aggressive.
  • Fill the water bowl, take the time to rinse out the bowl and fill it with fresh water if it’s been sitting there for a while.

Did we forget anything?  What other tips can you think of for making our dog parks a better place?

This is an updated version of Dog Parks Rules & Etiquette posted 5/7/12 on the 16thWabashDogPark blog.

  5 Responses to “Dog Park Rules & Etiquette… updated”

  1. Grant Bark seems to need a major “pUpdate”. Looking down from the tall residential buildings lining Grant Park, you’ll see this dimly lit space in contrast to the ultra-lit (and rarely used in Fall/Winter) sand volleyball area and tennis courts. Additionally, the former skate park area sits empty and well-lighted throughout the Winter.
    With all the constant rehab of the grounds surrounding Grant Park from the major events happening all Summer, I hope to see some major improvements in 2020 for Chicago’s Wag Mile.

  2. Do you consider allowing dogs to bark uncontrollably proper etiquette? I see no mention of this. I live nearby and there are times when certain dogs will endlessly bark without any owner intervention. This park is a major disturbance to nearby residents.

  3. I would like to emphasize that watching your dog means actually paying attention to your dog at all times. Though chatting with other dog owners is great, your main focus should be on your pooch. Also, refraining from taking phone calls or spending time on your phone would also be appreciated. I have witnessed many situations where it only takes a few seconds that an owner can completely miss if they are not attentive to their dog.

  4. Yes! In fact you do need a special ‘DFA tag’… you get them from your veterinarian! Here’s some information on the Chicago Park District website, and here’s the list (pdf) they provide of ‘participating vets‘.

  5. Just a quick question. My dog has gotten all the vaccinations needed, but I was told by my vet that there is a specific tag that needs to be purchased to have him in a dog park. Where would I go to receive a DFA tag? Is this different than the simple registration tag through Cook County I have already received?

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