Bella Bark: Dog Park Etiquette and Safety

In addition to outlining the best dog parks in New Orleans, we’re also pleased to have our own dedicated park for the pups: Bella Bark at Bella Ridge. Whether you choose to let your dog run and play at Bella Bark or one of the city’s other great dog parks, there are definitely a few rules to keep in mind! Keep scrolling to review dog park etiquette and safety information.

The exclusive Bella Bark dog park at Bella Ridge.

The exclusive Bella Bark dog park at Bella Ridge.

Dog Park Etiquette and Safety

First, ask yourself: Is your dog a good fit for the dog park?

All dogs love to run and play, but not all dogs are good candidates for a dog park full of other dogs with different personalities. Here are a few ways to determine whether or not your dog should be at the park:

  • Does your dog have an anxious personality? If so, the hubbub of a dog park might put him on edge. Try taking him at quiet times during the day (for example, mid-morning) for a happy medium.
  • Is your dog new? Make sure you get to know your dog one-on-one before you introduce her to other pets and social situations. This is especially true of rescue dogs, who may have had previous traumatic experiences. And remember, puppies younger than 6 months old are not suitable for dog parks!
  • Does your dog have alpha tendencies? If your dog just loves being top dog — to the point that he might pick fights with other dogs — it’s probably better to limit his time at the park! If you do choose to take him, make sure to keep a sharp eye on his behavior.

OK, so your dog is a good candidate for a dog park. But does she meet these requirements?

Our dog park — like most dog parks — has general rules and requirements. Familiarize yourself with them below!

  • Dogs must be spayed or neutered
  • Dogs must be vaccinated (the state of Louisiana mandates vaccination against rabies, distemper, and bordatella)
  • Owners must clean up and properly dispose of his or her dog’s waste
  • Dogs must be leashed outside of the dog park and off-leash once they’re inside
  • No dog treats, human food, or glass are allowed within the dog park

Good Dog: The importance of being courteous!

Rules are just one half of the dog park experience. The other half is courtesy and etiquette. Here are a few ways you can maximize dog park enjoyment, both for the humans and their four-legged friends.

  • Do not allow a dog to bully another dog. Play nice!
  • Discourage dogs from forming packs.
  • Supervise your dog while he or she is playing at the park. This means limiting cell-phone time and socializing to make sure you’re being vigilant!
  • Keep the gates closed to prevent dogs from running in and out.
  • Discourage your dog from digging.

Know Your Dog’s Behaviors

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers has several helpful tips on behaviors to watch for while you’re supervising your dog’s park playtime. Note: if you see signs of aggression, you will need to intervene. Try a non-physical intervention first, such as clapping or whistling. Remember, physically separating dogs is a last resort! Instead, plan on prevention wherever possible.

Signs of Anxiety:

  • A low tail with fast wagging
  • Whining
  • Ears pinned back

Signs of Fear:

  • Tucked tail
  • Tense
  • Head down
  • Hunched position

Signs of Aggression:

  • Pinning another dog
  • Bullying
  • Snarling or raised lips
  • Baring teeth
  • Raised hackles

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