People should train their dogs to come when called before they visit an off-leash dog park. It can be helpful for them to visit new parks without their dogs first to make sure they're comfortable, then try to visit during quieter times at first.
Reliable recall is an essential skill for dogs at dog parks because it allows their owners to keep them out of trouble. Owners should pay attention to their dogs and call them back if they notice the dog getting too rough or pushy with other dogs or being rude to people in the park. Other commands such as "Leave it" and "Settle" may also help calm down overexcited dogs.
Dogs need to be healthy and fully vaccinated before visiting a dog park. Non-vaccinated dogs run the risk of catching serious diseases, such as parvo. Females in heat should never go to dog parks, and intact males also often cause problems so are not good candidates. Some dog parks have rules against intact dogs. Dogs that are fearful, aggressive or undersocialized also should not visit dog parks.
In hot weather, owners need to pay extra attention to their dogs. Shade and fresh water should be available, and owners should make sure their dogs take advantage of them.