Trends in dog parks on the rise

Dog parks are by far one of the top features on the municipal and community parks wish list. Dog parks can be wonderful additions to a community, either as an addition to an existing community park or as a dedicated standalone dog park. People considering building a dog park should be aware that there are many obstacles along the way. Although they are important and necessary components, building a dog park is not just about the business plan or the architectural illustrations. It’s not just about that perfect plot of land you want to use, the type of fencing you will install, or the unique sign you want to put up at the driveway. Before doing anything, learn about your market, get to know the dogs and the people who own them.

To have a safe park, you must have rules and make sure they are followed; must have a supervised park. While many who use dog parks may be experienced dog owners who realize they still have a lot to learn about dogs, many people are first-time dog owners and think they know it all. Dogs need to be interested in being sociable in the first place for them to have a positive dog park experience. Imagine mixing all the dogs in an off-leash environment? You never really know what will happen, so supervision is imperative. There are several models of dog parks. Municipal dog parks are usually free and open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Although most have published rules, there is no one to make sure that people follow them. These parks are the ones that present the most problems. Member-based parks generally charge a fee and require people and their dogs to be registered. Many fee-based parks require dogs to pass a temperament test before being admitted to the park, and people are asked to attend an orientation session. It is not a good idea to mix large and small dogs in an off-leash environment. Many dog ​​parks have a small dog area and a large dog area.

According to a recent study by the Humane Society, at least one dog can be found in approximately 39% of American households. As a result, America’s largest cities have seen a comparable 34% increase in the number of dog parks in the last 10 years. With dog parks on the rise, parks and recreation departments now have a variety of equipment, pet waste solutions, and other products at their fingertips.

The basics:

Although not always possible, successful dog parks are often thrown into spaces that are not currently in use. To determine the correct location, look for areas that:

  • You currently see a high use of dogs

  • They are outside the parameters of the main parks.

  • It will not affect wildlife or water quality.

  • They are evenly distributed throughout the city.

  • They are near the parking lot

  • They are away from existing playgrounds, residential areas, and heavy traffic.

  • They are dry and irrigated

  • Are at least 5,000 square feet

* It may also be helpful to place your dog park along a trail system to give dog owners a greater opportunity to walk with their four-legged companions.

While grass is currently the most common surface option for larger dog parks, chips of bark (pun intended), sand, gravel, granite, or synthetic grass can also be used. The budget, climate, park size, use, and amenities of the surrounding park should be considered when determining what acreage should be used. Dividing a dog park in half, alternating which side is open, can help preserve the surface of larger dog parks, while letting a smaller dog park turn to dirt may be a better option.

Fencing first:

Depending on the demographics of the dog breed and the needs of pet owners in your area, fences are usually pretty standard in smaller off-leash areas, while larger ones are often left without a fence. To create a more seamless dog park operation, parks and recreation departments are getting a bit more strategic in fence location, while many parks simply use a typical setup. This configuration includes two sets of doors in the entrance areas to allow pet owners to close the outside door and release their dog before opening the inside door and heading to the main area. Others, however, use a separate entrance and exit area. If your potential dog park area contains a pond or other water source, it is a good idea to put an additional fence around the body of water to prevent dogs from bathing unnecessarily.

Characteristics of the park:

Today’s dog parks range from basic parcels of land to elaborate pet playgrounds with ponds, sprinklers, agility equipment, and other park amenities. The basics are now becoming standard, especially when it comes to staying cool and cool. Although slightly less important in more moderate climates, be it a shade structure or trees, providing shade from the heat is especially important for both pets and their owners. From a simple pet water fountain to a more elaborate sprinkler fire hydrant, water is a welcome treat for all dogs. Since dogs often use anything upright as a signpost, the location of the water source is important. It can be beneficial for everyone to place water fountains in areas where owners still have control over their pets via a leash.

Although the equipment in public spaces should not be of professional quality, newer dog parks also have play facilities such as agility equipment. This adds a little more fun and gives people the opportunity to do more than just sit on a park bench. When selecting your agility team:

  • Look for equipment covered by a comprehensive warranty

  • Choose several pieces that challenge and suit dogs of different sizes and skill levels.

  • Use rust / rot proof materials

  • Select equipment with non-slip surfaces

  • Avoid equipment that is more than 3 feet tall to avoid injury to dogs and children.

Here are some things to consider that can help you choose the right location for your future park:

  1. Evaluate the size: the size of your park may depend solely on the availability of land. At least 1 acre is recommended, but they can be as large as your community can manage and maintain. If space is not an issue, consider an area large enough that it is possible to rotate high-traffic areas annually or even seasonally.

  2. Pack It Up – Consider how your community will use the park. Remember that people need to enjoy the park too! It is important to plan seating and shade so that everyone feels comfortable when visiting your park. Don’t stop there! Do you want to include space for agility equipment, a litter box, pond or fountain, climbing wall, walking trails, or anything else you can think of that your community and your dogs would love? A community meeting can help determine what is feasible and preferred by future park customers.

  3. Water, water everywhere: Consider a water source for humans and dogs, as well as a rinse station for dogs. On especially muddy days, being able to rinse your dog to prevent cars from having the full dog park experience can make everyone have a more enjoyable day.

  4. Plan Cleanup: To help make your dog park enjoyable and as clean as possible, position waste stations and trash receptacles a decent distance (about 4 per acre, depending on the layout). Make sure the park is easily accessible for gardening equipment so it’s easy to keep your park lush and orderly.

  5. Show Your Spirit – Remember that your dog park design extends to the spirit of the park. A key way to do this is to set the stage for responsible pet ownership and behavior in the dog park by developing and publishing park rules. Some sample rules may include:

  • Dogs must be properly vaccinated and it is recommended that they be spayed or neutered.

  • Puppies under 4 months and females in heat are prohibited.

  • Do not bring dog food to the dog park.

  • Owners must clean up their dog’s litter.

  • Dogs with a known history of aggressive behavior are prohibited.

  • Dogs must wear an identification collar at all times.

  • Dogs must be on a leash when entering and leaving the park.

  • It is forbidden to leave dogs unattended.

  • Children under the age of 16 must be supervised by a parent or guardian.

  • Maximum of 3 dogs per person, per visit.

  • Be on the lookout for dogs on the other side of the front door when entering or exiting to avoid escapes.

Whether your dog park is a basic parcel of land or fully packed with high-end amenities, it should be a place that your community’s pet owners appreciate. The knowledge and products now available give parks and recreation departments the ability to create a dog park that is tailored to their specific location, needs, and budget.

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