Saturday, July 08, 2006

Dog Run Etiquette

In order that everyone enjoys their time in the dog run we ask that you respect the rules of the run and be considerate of your fellow dog guardians.

You are responsible for your dog's safety, behavior and for any damage or injuries caused by your dog while at this run. Help us keep the dog run safe and clean.

To learn about the McCarren Dog Run Association, volunteer or report injuries contact:

info@mcdogrun or

We thank Sharon Mear, Trainer and Behaviorist, of Training Cats and Dogs, for consulting and contributing for this poster. To learn more contact:

To learn more about dog parks go to the New York Council of Dog Owner Groups:

Copyright 2006, Lynn Pacifico, President Dog Owners Action Committee.

*Small Dog Run vs. Large Dog Run: The small run is now safe and secure for small dogs. There are no steadfast rules regarding the small run but it is intended that it be used by small dogs (30 lbs and under), especially during organized play groups. Many owners with aggressive dogs or dog in heat like to use the small run by themselves. It is suggested that they do this during slow times.

*Open and Close One Safety Gate at a Time when entering the run. Dogs love to meet and greet newcomers. Please pay special attention when entering and exiting so no dog has a chance to run out.

*Unleash your dog within the safety gates before releasing your dog into the dog run. A leashed dog can excite problem dogs into aggression. Dogs can also be more aggressive when leashed due to the loss of control over their environment. They may feel frustrated, anxious and or threatened and since they can’t do what they instinctually do (flee or fight) to protect themselves and/or their owners they do what they can, they bark and lunge. It is safer to leash your dog up within the safety gates and not in the dog run itself.

*Stay conscious of the environment. Using headphones in the dog run is not a good idea. Talking on your cell phone is not a good idea either.

*Keep an eye on your dog. Always keep your dog in view and under control. Be especially aware of your dog when children are near.

*No aggressive dogs. At the first sign of aggression please remove your dog from the dog run. Our dog run is open to all (non-membership) we and our dogs could be vulnerable to dogs that don’t know their physical boundaries. The dog that knows good physical boundaries can play without shoving the other dog. There is a difference between rough play and fighting. Dogs at play often mouth, jump on and/or nip each other. It can look like fighting, but no blood is drawn and the biting is inhibited as it doesn't break the skin. A dog in play will play without accentuated or obsessive physical contact. If your dog begins to get aroused divert his/her attention before it escalates and if necessary leave the dog run.

*Know the signs of aggression. Although difficult to define on certain breeds, the conflicted or overly confident dogs’ ears are usually up and/or forward. They face and stare directly at the other dog or human with whom they are interacting. Eye contact is sustained hard and direct. Their brow is furrowed. The tail carriage is likely to be high up and arched over the rump. The (hackles) fur along their back stands up like a ridge and the chest and stance is forward. Dogs with shorter tails might be straight and wagging stiffly.

*If a fight breaks out, all involved dog owners should immediately help break it up. **First and foremost – Please try and remain calm and never put a body part between the fighting dogs.

- For the experienced guardian only- take your dog by its hindquarters – just below the rump – and raise them up like you are holding a wheelbarrow and start backing up slowly as you pull the dog with you. Be very careful as you pull because if one dog has another by a body part and decides to hold on you risk tearing the skin.

- Once the dogs have separated themselves take yours away.

- If you suspect damage has been done to you or your dog exchange vital information with all involved parties as you leave to get vet care.

*If your dog consistently harasses other dogs or people by intimidating, mounting, or annoying another dog, correct that behavior immediately. If it continues please take your dog out of the dog run at least for a short time out.

*Closely supervise intact males (non-neutered). If your intact male is involved in any altercation, regardless of which dog started it, please leave. (Intact males commonly provoke aggression.)

*No dogs in heat in the dog run. Since most females go into heat only 2x a year and are considered to be “in heat” for 21 days (7 days going in, 7 days in heat and 7 days going out, it is advisable not to bring them to a dog run during this time. Male dogs can sense females in heat through pheromones. These are airborne chemical attractants that are liberated from the female when she is cycling. They travel through the air for great distances.

*Teach your dog to be quiet. Some barking is fine, expected and normal. However incessant barking can be annoying to those around you. Try and find creative ways to discourage barking by changing your dogs focus towards something more fun, like a game of chase and interaction with you.


*No food in the dog run. This means human food and dog food and treats.

*No prong, spiked collars or choke chains in the dog run. The ring ends can get caught on other objects as well as other dogs’ collars. Leave on your dog's regular collar with ID and license while in the run.

*Do not bring rawhides or toys to the dog run. Many dogs are so crazy for rawhides and toys that they will fight over them. (This does not apply to special events.)

*The small blue balls for playing handball are dangerous for medium and large dogs as they can easily get lodged in their throat. If you bring a handball or any small ball to the dog run and a larger dog is interested in playing, please refrain from using them and be sure to take them with you when you leave.

*Do not bring dogs that are ill or sick into the dog run.

*Shared water bowls can cause dogs to get sick if one of the dogs drinking from the bowl is sick. Refresh the water bowl as often as possible or bring your own water bowl.

*Put dog hair in a trash can if you groom your dog in the dog run.

*No glass containers in the dog run.

*Pick up after your dog & kindly alert others if they miss a pick up.

*Please throw away all trash, even empty water bottles. Thanks so much for not littering & keeping our dog run clean! Empty water bottles are not good chew toys for dogs. If you have time, please feel free to pick up any garbage you see on the ground. Set an example! It is up to us to keep our dog run clean.

*Bring your children into the dog run at their/your own risk. ABSOLUTELY NO INFANTS OR TODDLERS.

We recommend that children under 8 years of age not be permitted in the dog park but if you choose to please, for their safety, keep children under your supervision and within arms reach at all times.


Dangling feet are stimulating to dogs. They may jump up as if playing with a toy.


1. Do not run or scream in the dog run. (Running and screaming are invitations for dogs to chase.)

2. Do not touch or take a dog's ball without speaking to the owner first.

3. Ask an adult before petting an unfamiliar dog. All dogs are potential biters no matter what size. Just because a dog is small does not mean it is safe and can’t do damage. Wait for the dog to approach you instead of offering your hand.

4. Do not touch dogs while they are resting or sleeping, especially if they are under a bench.

5. Do not hug or kiss dogs that are not your own, however friendly they may seem.

6. Avoid rough play with dogs or other children while in the dog run.

7. If a dog growls at you, avoid eye contact by looking immediately away. Do not run away. Instead, back slowly away, continuing to avoid eye contact. If you have something in your pocket like a ball toss it to distract the dog as you continue to back away.

These rules and guidelines are meant to educate people who use the dog run in order to make it a safer, cleaner space for the dogs of McCarren Park.

The McCarren Dog Run Association maintains this run. We are all volunteers. If you would like to find out more about what we do, please visit:

We are raising money to make basic repairs to the run and also replace fencing. There is a pay pal button on the website where you can make a tax deductible donation. If you prefer to write a check, please make it payable to “NYC Dog c/o McCarren Dog Run” and mail it to: Ketchum c/o MCDOG RUN 106 Milton St., Apt. 1 Brooklyn, NY 11222.

We hold regular clean ups on the first Sunday of every month from 9:30am – 1:00 pm. Please come help us out! All are welcome!

Thank you.

1 comment:

Rebecca11222 said...

Hi -

I'd like to add a safety tip re: the large run.

- When a new dog is entering the run, do not let your dog play "bouncer" and rush the gate.

Once dogs enter the large run (after the 2nd gate), it is very easy for them to be cornered by other dogs who run up to greet them. Entering dogs literally can be pushed into the corner formed there by the 2nd gate, iron fencing, and tree. If a dog feels trapped or endangered, it may react violently.

I've seen over 12 fights that occur in that area and with that scenario.

Even if your dog typically is well-behaved, you can't be sure how other dogs might react to it if they feel trapped.


Rebecca Poole