What’s The Deal With Dog Parks?

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Did you ever think you’d see the day that parks were created specifically for man’s best friend? A dog park allows your pampered pooch to run and play without a leash in a fence-enclosed environment. In response to a migration back toward urban living, many more pet owners find themselves without a yard and dog parks provide a facility whereby their dog can get his exercise and meet other dogs.

If you’re not sure if there’s a dog park near you, just Google dog park followed by your location (city and state, etc), and you should find lots of listings. You can also simply type in dog park locations and you’ll find many directories and resources pointing you toward dog parks in your community.


Dog parks, like Tompkins Square Dog Run pictured here on the left, can seem like a Disneyland for dogs in some areas, featuring fire hydrants, water taps, shade trees, ponds, and so forth. And for Fido’s family members, there are human benches and tools to scoop and dispose of poop.

Unlike some of their human counterparts, dogs crave canine companionship and like to see other dogs. All dogs, just like all humans, need regular exercise and the dog parks allow them a place to do that.

According to research, dog parks serve several beneficial functions to a community, including, but not limited to:

  1. offering older or disabled people a place to exercise their pets
  2. reducing aggression in dogs by allowing them to play together
  3. promoting responsible dog ownership
  4. dog socialization

It comes with a caution though: a dog park shouldn’t be used in lieu of daily walking, but in addition to walking your dog. Experts agree that walking your dog is a form of bonding communication, showing the dog that you are the leader of your pack.

Most public dog parks are run and maintained by the city park systems and are therefore free, but there are also private dog parks that require a membership fee.

As much as we’d all like it not to happen, fights between dogs can break out at dog parks. If the park has someone on duty to set expectations for dog owners, that person can sometimes intervene and require that certain dogs be kept on a leash or even ask someone to remove their dog from the park. Most articles that you read will indicate that while dog parks serve a purpose for dogs, they also serve an even greater purpose for humans and that purpose is to instill more responsible dog ownership and compliance with regulations.

Perhaps dog parks also sprung up because people who don’t like dogs were tired of people bringing their dogs to public parks. Some dog owners think it’s cute when their dogs run up to strangers to be petted and admired. While cute, and I admit I rather like canine attention when I’m out and about, I know that there are definitely people who do not. Though it’s nearly unimaginable to those of us who adore our pets, not everybody likes dogs. So having a separate park where dogs are expected and even welcomed gives dog owners a place to take their four-legged friends without fear of offending anyone.

Some general rules associated with most dog parks, which make pretty good common sense, are:

  • Dogs must be at least four months old
  • No more than two dogs per human visitor
  • No food allowed in the dog park
  • Owners must clean up after their pets

Research dog parks in and around your area! Many have websites that offer photos, rules, facts, and so on. Most dog parks are open from sun-up to sundown to accommodate those who want to take their dogs before work, during the day, or after work. There’s an old saying that, “A tired dog is a good dog.” Giving your dog the opportunity to get some exercise and run off some of that energy might make you both happier at the end of the day.


This article was brought to you by Tina Smith of pet-super-store.com, where you can find great deals on pet stairs and pet doors. It was embellished and edited a bit by the editors here at PETSblogs.
Photo Credit on Wikipedia Commons

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About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi spent her time working in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions.

6 Comments

  1. Hi there:

    Dog parks are getting to be a popular item being added to towns now. It gives not only the dogs to interact with other dogs but pet owners as well. People of the same interests and keeps your dog socialized with other dogs but also the idea is where maybe non dog owners will not have to worry about those poop and scoop people who do not do the scoop end. Those non dog owners will not have to worry about stepping in it.

    These are all ideas situated with the dog park where you dog can finally get to run free off a lease to enjoy themselves and not worry about those non dog owners.

    Abbylane
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  2. Dog parks are a great idea, though I grew up in a rural community and didn’t even hear of such a thing until I moved to the city! My dog growing up never would have been able to tolerate being around that many dogs since he had little exposure to other dogs; I think it’s great that dogs can express their “pack instinct” by having companions at the dog park.
    .-= Celia´s last blog ..Recipe: Super Simple Chunky Peanut Dog Treats =-.

  3. Dogs love dog parks too. It’s about the smells you see.

    All of those dogs leaving their mark on every tree and bush – so much to explore!

  4. Turn Your Pet Into A Well Behaved Family Member on

    Dog parks are great for people who want to let their dogs socialize while they socialize with other dog owners. Plus, most parks have safety regulations to make sure the human and canine visitors have a safe and happy time.

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