A dog park is a place that is set aside specifically for dogs to play and exercise freely (off leash) but under the watchful eyes of their owners. Dog parks are usually fenced areas. They should ideally have separate entry and exits to minimize conflicts that are experienced when aggressive dogs meet.
There are dog runs as well. A dog run is a fenced area usually inside a normal park where dogs can play and exercise off leash. Other parks do allow off leash dogs to roam freely is special, designated off lease areas.
A dog park needs to have good drainage, trees to provide a shade, enough benches for dog owners to sit on and enough parking for vehicles.
Dogs need to drink water especially when they are playing. Consequently, a good park for dogs needs to have adequate water. And what about all that dog poop? Dog owners know that cleaning up after their pet is essential – and inevitable.
Consequently, a canine park should have the tools necessary to pick up and get rid of dog waste into covered waste boxes. A dog pooper scooper is a great tool for this job.
How to be Safe in a Dog Park
Many dogs are aggressive towards strangers. Lack of proper socialization can also make dogs to be unfriendly to people and other dogs as well.
Remember the following points to ensure your (and your dog’s) safety while in a dog park.
- Be carefully where you tie your dog – benches, light poles, fences and roadways are bad places to leash your dog.
- Do not leave the dog unattended – many dogs tend to be mischievous. Leaving a dog unattended may lead to serious and unwanted results. Always remember that you are directly responsible (financially and legally) for the actions of your dog.
- Separate unsocialized and aggressive dogs from other dogs.
- Keep away from other dogs if you have dog allergies. You can’t always tell which dog is non-shedding.
- Even dogs get stolen! Consider making use of microchip technology to keep track of your canine companion.
- Large dog breeds should not be allowed to enter areas reserved for small dogs
- Maintain enough distance between you and fighting dogs – shout, create a loud noise or toss water at fighting dogs to separate them.
- Do not let your dog drink unsafe water. Dogs are also not allowed to play in or drink from park fountains except where it is marked as a special dog fountain.
- Keep your dog away from swimming pools, beaches and bathing facilities – they may be a danger to humans and themselves as well.
- Do not use prongs, chain or spike collars since these may lead to injuries
- Accompany your child at all times. Children are naturally tempted to play with dogs, and are likely to be injured by unfriendly dogs
- Do not take a sick dog (communicable disease) to a dog park or dog run
List of Popular Dog Parks Nearby
It is important to know and obey the rules set at any dog park. The following are 5 great parks that have dog friendly areas for your canine friend to run, roll and enjoy themselves.
- Tompkins Square Park – This dog-friendly park is located in New York City. Note that the law of the State requires that all dogs be vaccinated against rabies. As a result you should be able to prove that your dog has been vaccinated against rabies. A dog license is required to prove ownership. Violating these New York City dog park laws may lead to a fine.
- Bark Park Central – This off leash dog park is located in Dallas, Texas. Like many parks, it features dog shower, drinking bowl, fenced areas and shaded areas. There is also a pet waste station. The park is open every day from 6 AM to 11 PM, except on Tuesdays and rain days.
- Action Petz Cardiff is a popular dog park in Cardiff, the largest city and capital of Wales in the United Kingdom. It has both indoor and outdoor playing areas for your dog. Small dogs such as Bernedoodles and Goldendoodles and Chihuahua have their own play area away from the large and muscular bully dog breeds.
- Conroy Pit off leash dog park in Ottawa, Canada – also has places for walking, hiking and trail running. This is a popular dog walking area.
- Binhai Forest Park in Shanghai, China – This vast park is great for dog walking. You need to proof of dog ownership (license) to enter this park with your pet.
It is good to be able to read and understand dog signals, especially at dog parks where you will encounter many dogs.
A relaxed dog will have a wagging tail, relaxed ears and a generally happy demeanor. Dogs that get enough exercise are healthier and have a lower risk of getting sick. Consequently, finding a good dog park nearby is a great step for any dog owner.