In the U.S., millions of families own dogs. Yet many communities lack the facilities for pups to run off-leash and play.
A dog park is an ideal solution to this problem. If you notice the need for a dog-friendly spot in your community, consider starting your own. Understand the positive impacts such a facility will have on everyone involved.
1. Allows Dogs to Socialize
Parks allow dogs to socialize with each other, because dogs need friends, too! It’s beneficial to dogs who are skittish, shy, overly protective or aggressive. Dogs who visit parks have better-coping skills and are more stable. Lack of socialization can lead to a dog that’s afraid of people, new places and other pups.
Visiting the dog park also benefits owners. Proper grooming is an essential aspect of every dog’s life, but anxious dogs are difficult — and sometimes dangerous — to groom. Socializing dogs makes the process easier for everyone involved.
If you travel with your dog, this process makes it easier to manage inside and outside the car. If you need to leave your furry friend at home, the sitter will have an easier time caring for them.
2. Promotes Owner Responsibility
Dogs need room to run and let off steam. If you live in a big city, apartment or small neighborhood, however, finding a space to let your pup run free can be challenging. Starting your own dog park is the perfect solution. Enclosed play areas allow dogs to release pent up energy and stay safe.
A park also promotes responsible pet ownership. People who take their pups to the park make their pet’s safety a priority. They must also clean up and abide by park rules. Owners who neglect to pick up waste or allow aggressive pets to run loose can damage the park’s reputation and success.
With your dog park, you must make and enforce the rules. Unless you hire a team, you’ll be in charge of maintaining and regulating the dog park. Plus, it will be up to you to help settle disputes in a responsive, educated manner. The development of a dog park requires planning and effort. Ensure you can handle the responsibility before taking it on.
3. Benefits of the Community
Dog parks are a wonderful place for owners to meet others with common interests. A shared space promotes a sense of unity and may lead to doggy-related events.
Developing a park in your community will reduce behavioral issues like barking, digging and aggression. Often, these problems are the reason pets are brought to shelters or abandoned. If more dogs go to the park and benefit from it, there will likely be a decrease in the number of pups euthanized.
Parks are an excellent place to host pet adoptions. Here, people can play with prospective pups and get a feel for how they interact with others. Plus, owners who can no longer care for their pets — whether due to age, disability, etc. — can meet with potential adopters.
4. Benefits Your Health
As the creator of the dog park, you have a unique opportunity to meet new people, get involved in the community and work with the local government. After establishing the park, you’ll have opportunities to organize dog-centered events and meet-ups.
If you have a pup of your own, the park will directly benefit both of you. You’ll have a new place to bond with your furry friend and get some exercise. Plus, watching your pet bounce through the grass and chase squirrels will put a smile on your face.
Want to Start Your Own Dog Park? Here’s How
Dog parks are being built all over the country. They offer a wealth of benefits to dogs, owners and the community as a whole. However, there are a few things to consider before you get started.
First, rally a small group of people who share your concern about the lack of off-leash space. Once the core committee is in place, hold a community meeting to solicit input and suggestions. Then, write a clear mission statement addressing the purpose and benefits of the park.
Choose a site location that is ideal for dog owners. Create a budget and decide on the dog course you want to include. The agility kit, for example, consists of a hoop jump, doggie crawl and grooming table. The Best in Show kit, on the other hand, includes a jump over, sit and stay bench and pet waste receptacle.
Now it’s time to create a proposal and demonstrate the park’s need. When you’re ready, request a hearing and answer questions regarding the risks and benefits. Remember to be patient and flexible. Working with the city government is rarely a quick process. Persist with emails and letters and be willing to work toward a compromise.
Before you know it, you’ll create a space for both dogs and owners to congregate, play and run free.