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Play Group 101

Play Group is a great way for your dogs to meet and socialise with other dogs. Dogs are social animals and the vast majority will benefit from mixing together in groups. 


NOTE only friendly and sociable dogs are welcome. - If you know your dog is not good around other dogs then do not bring them to play group.


Owners must supervise their dogs at all times


  • As with all of our services, we need to make sure that your dogs vaccinations are up to date. This includes the dogs annual booster & as all the dogs have close interaction with other dogs we require all dogs that attend play group to have had the kennel cough vaccine. 

  • Your dog must not have had the kennel cough vaccine within 2 weeks of attending the play group session as it is a live vaccination and has the possibility of passing this on to another dog. 


What to bring to play group
  • Dog

  • Lead

  • Poo Bags

  • Bottle of water and a bowl (Water will be provided in play group but your dog may want some drink once the session is over)

  • Towels

  • Dress for the mess- Do not overdress. No, it’s not polite for dogs to jump on people, but it may happen. At the dog park you should expect dirt, mud, slobber and wet dogs. Please know that grime is part of the scene


Before getting into the paddock
  • Do not attempt to enter the play group if there is someone in the process of entering themselves

  • Keep dog on a lead until you reach the first set of gates in the paddock and into the holding area. 

  • Let your dog off their lead in the holding area. your dog could feel threatened if they are restricted by their lead when they first join in the with the rest of the group

  • Make sure the first gate is closed before entering the second gate. If the outer gate is open, there is always a chance that a dog can run out of the paddock.

  • Wait for the crowd of dogs to move away from the gate before entering. All owners in the paddock should encourage their dog to move away from the gate to allow your dog to enter. 

  • Push the gate inwards rather than open it outwards when coming into the paddock.

  • If you have an extremely high energy dog, consider taking him or her for a nice, long walk before going to a play group. This way he or she is less likely to over stimulate the other dogs in the group upon entering.

  • Don’t bring your dog to a play group if the seem ‘under the weather.’ They could be coming down with something contagious and might pass it on to other dogs.

  • Do not feed your dog within an hour of coming to play group or an hour after play group - This reduces the chance of your dog getting bloat. 



Whilst in the paddock

We want to make sure that all dogs have a great time in our paddock & prevent the chances of a fight breaking out during play group, lets face it, no one wants to see a fight! To prevent fights from starting we have a few rules to follow whilst in the paddock.


  • Be Observant - You are responsible for your dog for the duration of play group. If your dog is harassing other dogs or is being harassed be ready to step in and resolve the situation. We ask that owners be spaced out throughout the paddock to prevent the dogs from grouping together in one section. 

  • Clean up after your dog - Please make sure you clean up after your dog if they toilet in the paddock. This is a self cleaning area.

  • Be mindful of people entering the paddock - When you see someone approaching the paddock ensure your dog does not gather around the entrance to the paddock when another dog arrives. 

  • No Humping! - We’re not that type of establishment! If you see your dog trying to hump another please go over and stop them from doing it. If your dog consistently harrasses or mounts other dogs or people, be prepared to give your dog a time out from play or to leave the group all together. Even the sweetest, most well-mannered dog can have a ‘bad day’ and find a certain dog or a particular mix of dogs too stimulating or not to their liking. Repeat offenders will be asked to leave the session by a member of staff.

  • No Toys - Although the majority of dogs love to play fetch with a ball or have a favourite toy they love to play with, some dogs can get toy aggression or guard their toys which could lead to a fight. We ask that you leave toys at home or bring them for a solo session in the paddock instead. If you see a toy in the paddock during play group please highlight this to a member of staff.

  • No Human Food - We ask that you dont bring any food with you when attending play group. If you would like to eat food in the paddock you can do so during a solo session.

  • No Treats - We ask that you don’t bring treats with you during play group. Many dogs have sensitive stomachs, food intolerances, or even food allergies. Don't feed or offer treats to other dogs. You don't know if the other pet parents allow their dogs to take food from others and your treats may cause problems.

  • No dogs in season - Please wait a minimum of 4 weeks from the start of your dogs season before attending play group.

  • No Children - Avoid bringing children to a play group session. While kids can have fun watching dogs play, it can be hard for them not to become excitable around dogs. This can be frightening and therefore potentially dangerous when there are dogs who are not comfortable with children. Play groups are for dogs and we should do all we can to set them up for a safe, fun play time.

  • Dog to Human Ratios - To ensure you have full control of your dogs during play group we ask there be a minimum of 1 person per dog that attends the session & to ensure the dogs have plenty of space to run around we ask there be a maximum of no more than 3 people per dog

  • Look out for the signs - Lip Curling, Lifted Paws, Curled body, ears moved back,  these are all signs to look out for when in the paddock. Spotting these signs early can stop a fight before its begun.


If a fight breaks out
  • The majority of dog fights end just a quickly as they start. By leaving them for a couple of seconds they may quickly resolve the fight without jumping in. 

  • Buckets of water are provided in the sessions to help break up fights that take place.

  • Do not approach your dog from the front as this increases the chance of getting bitten

  • Try to distract them with loud noises

  • If a fight breaks out, everyone (even those whose dogs are not directly involved) should help to control the situation by calmly getting a hold of their dogs. Two dogs in a fight is scary and dangerous, but when a group of dogs gets over stimulated and involved it can be far worse.



All owners are able to bring their phones/cameras with them into play group. Please be mindful of other dogs and owners when taking photos, no one likes to be caught off guard on a photo.

We kindly ask that any photos used for social media use the hashtag #Pawprintsplaygroup

You can also use the location Pawprints Secure Paddock (Please do not use Pawprints Kennels)


When its time to leave the session

Know when your dog is not happy, There will be times that it will be best to end your session early. This could be if your dog is either being bullied by other dogs or is being the bully. Some dogs can get too excited and forget their manners


As there are many dogs playing in an unrestricted space there is a chance of a fight breaking out although we try our best to prevent this from happening you enter these sessions at your (and your dogs) own risk. Pawprints & its owners will not be held responsible for any injury to human or dog that occurs from dogs fighting in the paddock. There always is the risk that two or more dogs will engage in a serious, possibly injury-causing fight. If you have the slightest suspicion your dog has a propensity to be aggressive toward other dogs, you should not allow her to place other pets at risk.


Repeat offenders will be asked to leave and will be told they will no longer be able to attend the play group sessions. 

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