Even dogs need to keep in mind that life is a competition. The new sport of dog parking adds a sporting element to something that most dogs just consider fun. Well, fun is for losers, so here are some ways your dog can get and maintain a competitive edge at the dog park: Each dog starts out with 1,000 points upon his or her arrival. Certain behaviors will cause the dog to lose points. Each infraction is worth a 50-point deduction. Canine friends, please familiarize yourselves with behaviors that will cause you to lose points: 1. Overeagerness upon arrival. Don’t jump out of the car as soon as the door opens, run in circles, or bark crazily until your human opens the gate. Amateur hour. The pro move is to jump out of the car only once you have permission, and then sit patiently by the gate. 2. Sniffing first. It’s better to walk in nonchalantly and wait for the other dogs to sniff you. Running from dog butt to dog butt like it’s the first time you’ve encountered another dog is not suave. Don’t be desperate. 3. Having a lame name. Sure, you can’t help it if your human calls you Kevin, but think about it: how many other male dogs at the dog park have a purely human name? Not your fault, but it’s hard to run around all badass after your human calls you over with a name like Stephen, William, or Joseph. There is more flexibility for female dogs. 4. Lying down under the picnic table your owner is sitting at. The “park” in dog park does not mean “park your lazy ass on the ground for an hour.” 5. Getting carried by your owner. I’m sorry I even need to write this. It should be self-evident. You have four legs. Use them for walking. Don’t be “that” dog. 6. Wearing scarves. I know your paws aren’t super dexterous, but if you could remove your dapper bandana before other dogs and humans see you, that would help you win at the dog park. Otherwise, running around the park with a bandana, or worse yet, a sweater, is not a winner’s move. Save the clothes for family pictures. You’re not a human; it’s okay to run around without clothes on at the park. It is actually preferable. 7. Not leaving when it is time to go. Sure, you think you look like you’re in charge when you run away. In reality, you look defiant and obnoxious. Nobody thinks you’re cool when you do that. It’s not good member-of-the-pack behavior. 8. Vomiting in the car on the way home. It doesn’t matter how many points you have; if you throw up on the way home, you lose them all. You lose even more if it gets in your brother’s fur. Yes, I’m talking to you, Comet. Photo credit: DariuszSankowski - CC *** Dani Bostick is a writer and 5-time dog parking champ. You should follow her on Twitter.