If you live in a city and have a dog chances are you’re familiar with dog parks – those area’s in the city that are designated off-leash play area’s for your fury friend. There are pro’s and con’s to taking your dog to a dog park and not all dog parks are created equal so here are a few tips for picking the best possible park for your dog to play in.
Size: Make sure that the size of the park is appropriate to the dogs playing in it. A small park filled with dogs can quickly become uncomfortable for your dog if they don’t feel that they have enough room to interact or to retreat if they want to. When it comes to dog parks size does matter.
Fencing: Does your dog have excellent recall? Or does it sometimes get carried away when playing with other dogs? A properly fenced dog park can be a huge advantage. Your dog can run and play and you don’t have to worry about it ending up running onto the street. Even better is when the park has a double gate entry – so if your dog runs over to the gate when a new dog arrives there is a second gate to prevent them from leaving the enclosure.
Clean up facilities: Close proximity to a garbage can is a MUST! And even better is if poop bags are also available in case someone has forgotten theirs. You are much less likely to run into unpleasant surprises on the ground if the park is set up with garbage cans and poop bag stations.
Water: Either to play in or to drink, both are awesome features to add to a park!
Finally: who goes there? Check the park out without your dog a couple of times and get a sense of the type of dogs that go and their behavour. In the park by my house the smaller dogs all gather around 5:00 pm and the large dogs gather between 7 and 8. Dog parks can have a different personality at different times and on different days – so check it out first!
Doing a bit of dog park research in advance will help ensure your pet has the best possible experience.