Is Your Community Ready for a Dog Park?

Association of Construction and Development
May 16, 2012 — 1,125 views  

Dog parks can be wonderful places for pets and their owners to socialize. However, municipal authorities must keep several concerns in mind when planning such an area. If not completed properly, dog park development can lead to unsafe areas where dogs may become confused and irritated, leading to noise complaints, aggressive behavior or worse. The following suggestions should always be kept in mind when researching dog park development.

1.) Park boundaries - Dogs need space to run around and physically let off stress, so the larger the area, the better. Some pets become uncomfortable in enclosed spaces, so an expansive dog park allows them to wander around at will. Additionally, bigger properties allow more people to use the field at the same time - perfect for parks located in an urban setting. Fencing off separate areas also encourages the formation of unique social groups between dogs.

2.) Vegetation and soil - Generally, a good dog park will be a wide open field without vegetation such as trees and bushes blocking the view. This allows owners to track their animals and immediately be aware of any developing confrontations between dogs. Though short grass is acceptable, if possible the ground should be comprised of a soft, malleable material like sand or gravel. These options can slow down a sprinting dog and also absorb any errant waste that may not be picked up.

3.) Banned items - Any type of folding chair of personal furniture should not be allowed, because this will be a distraction for dogs and a possible visual barrier. Food is also a no-go, as certain dogs (and humans) have specific allergies that at worst might be life-threatening. Even seemingly harmless dog treats could potentially cause a reaction. Finally, any object that makes loud noises (cell phone, whistle, air horn) should be left behind, because loud sounds can startle dogs and make them aggressive.

4.) Why build a dog park? Besides the exercise benefits, there are many reasons to consider building a dog park. Just like humans, dogs love to socialize and make friends - having a play date every week in a dog park can mean all the difference to a pet who stays home most of the day. Also, people can meet fellow dog enthusiasts and socialize in a safe, fun environment. First-time owners can even learn tips on how to raise their puppies.

Association of Construction and Development