Dog park etiquette: Part 3

Sometimes playtime can get out of hand — do you know when you should step in?

Dogs — or owners — behaving badly? Dear Labby’s here to guide you through every dog park pickle. And don’t forget to check out Dog Park Etiquette: Part 1 and Dog Park Etiquette: Part 2.

Someone brings their small children into the dog park where your friendly but exuberant dog (and many others) are playing

Warn the parents. Let them know the dogs here are friendly but high energy — perhaps even add that you once saw an unsuspecting tot get steamrolled by a clumsy but well-meaning Collie. The tone you’re going for: informative and thoughtful. You know, as opposed to bossy and controlling.

Your dog gets into a fight and you discipline him, but the other dog’s owner doesn’t do anything

There’s nothing you should do in this situation. It’s not your place to correct another dog, and giving unsolicited dog-parenting advice to the human is hardly ever appreciated. Best case, the owner ignores you. Worst case, the confrontation turns ugly, and everyone — including the animals — loses. If you notice a pattern with this pair, and you’re able to establish a rapport with the owner, a well-timed offer could do the trick: “Let me know if you want the name of my behaviorist — she’s terrific!”

Your dog jumps up on someone at the dog park, covering her white pants with muddy paw prints. Should you offer money for dry-cleaning or simply apologize (she should know better than to wear white pants to the dog park!)

Ridiculous. That’s like expecting Disney World to refund your lunch after you toss your cookies on Space Mountain. Don’t bring your Golden Retriever to the glass miniatures exhibit. Don’t hire the aquarium guy to fix your plumbing. And don’t wear white pants to the dog park. A simple apology suffices.

You step in dog poop — and know just which owner failed to scoop!

Your best bet is to simply walk (shuffle?) away. Even if you’re 100 percent confident it was Tinkerbell who laid the log, actually proving it is difficult at best. And let’s face it: No one wants to be standing around arguing about whose poop it is when your shoe smells like it just blew in from an outhouse in Amarillo. Face it, solid waste happens.