Before I took my adopted dog to a dog park, I practiced recalls. A lot. Outside I used a long line. I wanted to be certain that he would instantly turn and race towards me every single time no matter where we were or what else was happening. At the park, I took his leash off once we were safely inside, then called him back to me within 30 seconds. I still do this in any off leash play situation.
Some dogs will hang around the entry gate waiting for a newbie to enter then rush him. Don’t let your own dog be one of those rude dudes. If you spot your Spot loitering there, call him back to you. Let him greet the new dog away from the entrance where there is plenty of space.
Sometimes I see people walking through the dog play area with their own dog on a leash. Don’t do that. Consider how stressful that restraint must be for the leashed dog.
Think long and hard before taking a child to the dog park. Besides the risk of getting knocked down, there is a high probability that some of the dogs at the park are inexperienced or even uncomfortable with children.
Different dogs have different play styles. Some just like to run and chase, some are all into the body slam. Some dog play can appear very rough to us. The key thing is that play is reciprocal. If the same dog is always at the bottom of the heap, or always the one being chased, it might be a good time to interrupt.
Some people can be very testy if your reprimand or criticize their dog. If you feel another dog’s behavior is inappropriate or the owner isn’t being responsible, it’s usually best to just move along.