People love parks! From toddlers to the elderly, you will see people playing in the grass, slipping down the slides, shooting a basket, tossing a softball, enjoying a picnic or taking a quiet nature walk. One common visitor who is often overlooked though in the planning phase for a park is the family dog! Creating a dog-friendly space in your neighborhood park would enable man’s best friend to exercise and have a dog day afternoon.
By following a few simple guidelines, Park Directors can offer the public a service that can really benefit all, by giving the dog its day in a secluded environment designed especially for them.
Pick the place. Dogs need lots of space to run, play, and learn to socialize with people and other pets. A dog park may range from one to ten acres in size. Ideally, the area would be fenced to protect the dogs from accidental run-ins with traffic, to keep overly curious pets out of neighbor’s lawns, and control contact with other park visitors. A varied landscape with short and tall grass, shade trees, and gravel near the entry-ways is recommended.
Don’t forget the amenities. A few basic additions can make your dog park successful. Water, for a quick drink, plenty of trash cans for human and doggy waste, fencing or boundary markers, a little shade, a place for owners to sit, and access to park restrooms make for a great day at the park.
Engage the community. Once a location has been selected, and a basic design has been made, it’s time for the park users to create a list of rules for their dog park. Organizing a dog park volunteer committee to hold clean up and hole-filling days helps create a sense of park ownership and general good-will between the park staff, park users and neighbors.
By carefully selecting your dog park area, fencing properly, providing a clear set of rules, and plenty of trash cans, you can avoid the most common problems associated with dog parks and add value to the residents of your community.
Checkout some online resources for more insight into the design of dog parks, their benefits, how they were created, and common issues.
- www.dogpark.com – everything you ever needed to know!
- https://images.akc.org/pdf/GLEG01.pdf - American Kennel Club publication, "Establishing a Dog Park in your Community”
- http://www.doodycalls.com/blog/tentips-for-planning-and-building-a-dog-park-in-your-community/ - Ten Tips for Planning and Building a Dog Park in your Community