Dog parks are by far one of the leading features on the wish list of municipal and community parks. Dog parks can be wonderful additions to a community, whether as an inclusion to an existing community park or as a stand-alone, dog specific park. People who are thinking about building a dog park should be aware that there are many pitfalls to be encountered along the way. Although important and necessary components, building a dog park is not just about the business plan or the architectural illustrations. It is not just about that perfect parcel of land you want to use, the type of fencing you will install or the unique sign you want to place at the entrance. Before you do anything, learn about your market, learn dogs and the people who own them.
To have a safe park, you must have rules and make sure they are adhered to – you 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, a lot of people are first time dog owners who think they know everything. Dogs have to be interested in being social in the first place for them to have a positive experience at a dog park. Imagine mixing all dogs into an off-leash environment? You really never know what will happen, so it’s imperative to have supervision. There are several models of dog parks. Municipal dog parks are usually free and open to the public 24/7. Although most have posted rules, there is no one to make sure people abide by those rules. These parks are the ones where most problems are encountered. Member based parks usually charge a fee and require people and their dogs to be registered. Many fee based parks require dogs to pass a temperament test before they are admitted to the park, and people are asked to attend an orientation session. It is not a good idea to mix small and large dogs together in an off-leash environment. Many dog parks have both a small dog area and a large dog area.
According to a recent study from the Humane Society, at least one dog can be found in approximately 39% of American households. As a result of this, America’s largest cities have seen a comparable 34% increase in the number of dog parks within the last 10 years. With dog parks on the rise, park and recreation departments now have a variety of equipment, pet waste solutions and other products at their fingertips.