Park Guide

Estimated Reading Time: 15 minutes
Educating is part of what makes DogWorld great. We strive in creating an educated community that serves itself. Taking the time to read our park guide will help keep all of DogWorld a safe and fun envrionment.

Why Color Code?

Our color code helps you better understand the potential play dynamics in the park. This helps you figure out what dogs your dog will most likely enjoy! Looking for color tags can make it easier for you to paid your dog with a good friend – or it helps others understand what your dog wants, maybe they aren’t interested in playing with others!

Is My Dog Having Fun?

It’s easy to misread dog play. It may seem like both dogs are having a blast but it is also possible that one of them may be asking for a way out. You know your dog best so behavior cues can always be contextual. However, having an idea of behavioral cues and having an understanding for your dog will help determine whether or not your dog is enjoying the play.

Ways to break up play:

  1. Walk in to the dogs
  2. Recall your dog
  3. Ask other owners to recall their dogs
  4. Use a squirt bottle
Review the following illustrations and read the text to better understand your dog!
An infographic on doggie language

Anxious

When a dog makes themselves smaller and ears are tucked then chances are they're a little anxious about the play or the greet. Give them plenty of space to decide for themselves how to approach the situation. If a dog does not leave your dog alone then politely ask the owners to recall their dog and if the dog continues to approach you can give them a spray with a squirt bottle to help them better understand what is happening.

Threatened

Sometimes dogs can be intimdated by other dogs. If your dog is barking at another dog while backing away then chances are they feel intimdated. Give your dog plenty of space to feel comfortable and recall them away into a different area. You can always properly approach the dog that is intimdating to let your dog know everything is okay.

Stress release (yawn)

If your dog is continuously yawning throughout their play/stay then chances are they are stressed. Help them by identifying the things they are stressed about and creating space. If your dog seems to be enjoying play but they are yawning often, chances are they would like a break. You can break up the play be recalling or using a water bottle. Give them a minute or two to calm themselves and if they continue play then one of them just needed a small break.

Stress Release (Shake-Off)

If your dog is continuously "Shaking-Off" throughout their play then chances are they are asking for a break. You can break up the play be recalling or using a water bottle. Give them a minute or two to calm themselves and if they continue play then one of them just needed a small break.

Fearful

If your dog is showing "whale eyes" then they are clearly asking for space. Whale eye happens when the dog will avert his head slightly, but his eyes stay fixed on something or someone, showing the whites of their eyes. Help them out by moving them to a different area, asking people to give your dog space, and utilizing the water bottle for any excited approaching dogs.

Avoidance

If your dog continues to turn and walk away during play then they don't want to play with that particular dog. You can politely ask the owners to recall their dog or spray their dog with a water bottle so they better understand that your dog wants to be left alone. If your dog returns to the dog then you can let them play.

Avoidance

If your dog continues to turn their head away during play then they don't want to play with that particular dog. You can politely ask the owners to recall their dog or spray their dog with a water bottle so they better understand that your dog wants to be left alone. If your dog returns to the dog then you can let them play.

Stress Release (Scratching)

If your dog is continuously scratching throughout their play then chances are they are asking for a break. You can break up the play be recalling or using a water bottle. Give them a minute or two to calm themselves and if they continue play then one of them just needed a small break.

Stress Release (Nose Flick)

If your dog is continuously flicking their tongue (licking their nose and lips) throughout their stay then chances are they are stressed. Help them by identifying the things they are stressed about and creating space.

Curved Body

A curved body can sometimes be confused with avoidance but if the body is curved and the dog is looking at the other dog then it's just a friendly greet. It is an invitation for play.

Reciprocal Play

A good rule of thumb is that play should be reciprocal. If your dog is being chased then stop the play and give your dog a chance to play. This is especially important to look for in big groups of play. You always want to break up play every 3 minutes to ensure everyone is getting a chance to chase or to be on top of the wrestling pile

Let's talk about greeting other dogs

Your dog may love kisses, hugs, and squealing, etc. but imagine what could happen if you did these things to a total stranger?

Don't put your hand in their face

As kids we were taught to let a dog sniff your hand for a polite greeting. The issue is, that's not how dogs communicate and they don't want your hand in their face. Dogs have an immaculate sense of smell so trust us when we tell you, they can smell you!

Don't lean over and pat their head

Dogs can read the action of leaning over and patting their head as threatening and intimidating.

Don't restrain the dog

Nobody likes being restrained so let's not do it to stranger's dogs. Refrain from hugging or greeting a dog in a corner.

Don't stare into their eyes

Dogs can feel threatened and intimidated when you stare into their eyes.

Don't be overly exciting

Dogs can be shy and over excitement won't make for a pleasant greet.

Don't kiss their face

Dogs don't communicate this way. When you greet by holding their head and a kiss on the forehead you are restraining them and dogs do not enjoy this. It will make the greeting unpleasant for the dog.

Similar to people, dogs have different personalities but we want to start out the relationship in the most respectful way possible. We always want to aim for a polite and correct greeting. Please view below on how to politely greet a dog
An infographic on how not to greet a dog
Graphics provided by Lili Chin. You can view other useful graphics at https://www.doggiedrawings.net/