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A good dog
park will have all, most or some of the following list.
Separate entrance and exit gates if fenced
Separate entrance and exit gates allow dogs to come and go without meeting
each other in a cramped area. Dog fights often break out when one or more
dogs feel threatened yet have no way to remove themselves from the threat.
Additionally, when two people attempt to get their dogs in and out of the
gate, they are not focused on the dogs running loose in the dog park, and
there is the potential for a dog to escape. Entrances and exits with a
two-gate system so dogs can’t escape from the park accidentally Parks with a
two-gate system avoid the possibility of dogs escaping from the park,
increasing the safety of all the dogs.
Natural visual barriers within the park (hills, trees, etc.)
Not only do natural visual barriers create a more enjoyable environment for
both dogs and humans, but they also offer dogs a way to avoid problems. If a
dog feels he is being targeted by a bully or pack, he can remove himself to
a location where the bullying dog(s) cannot see him and they will quickly
forget about him and move on to other activities.
Drinking Water and shade — Dogs can’t cool themselves as efficiently
as humans and therefore must have access to drinking water and shade. Dogs
play very strenuously in dog parks and water is an absolute necessity – if
there is no water available, it is very possible that dogs may suffer from
heatstroke, which can be fatal. Additionally, there should be shady areas
where dogs can lay down, cool themselves, and rest before continuing their
Enough space to avoid crowding
If dogs become too crowded, it is much easier for a “bully” or a pack of
dogs to corner and harass another dog. Fights tend to break out more often
under crowded conditions.
What Makes a Good Dog Park
A dog park can be a wonderful place for dogs to socialize. However, some dog
parks are better than others, and some dogs do better at dog parks than
other dogs. To help you assess your local dog park, the Association of Pet
Dog Trainers provides this information to help you decide if a particular
dog park is the best option for your dog. Below are attributes which can
make a dog park a good place to bring your dog or a place that has the
potential for problems. Very few dog parks are perfect so consider your
dog’s temperament along with the features of the dog park and make an
informed decision about whether or not your dog will have an enjoyable time
at the park! For more information on dog parks and other dog issues, check
out the APDT web site at
Decent dog parks should have the following features:
Materials for cleaning up after dogs (bags and garbage cans) — The ability
to clean up after our dogs is essential for basic good health for both dogs
and humans. Many canine diseases are spread through feces, and feces attract
insects which can spread disease to humans. Cleaning up after your dog –
particularly in urban areas – is a demonstration of good citizenship we
should all practice.
Really exception dog parks should have all of the above plus:
No 90 degree angles in the fence.
Fences which have 90 degree angles allow dogs to corner other dogs and bully
them. Fencing without a 90o angle makes it easier for a dog to escape.
entrance and exit gates if park is fenced.
If there is only one entrance and exit gate, or one entrance and one exit
gate, the dogs in the park quickly learn where newcomers will enter. They
then congregate at the entrance which can result in fights or dogs escaping
from the park. If there are several ways for dogs to come in and out, they
will not target a particular gate.
Special enclosed areas for smaller dogs; e.g., under 20 lbs.
It can be very dangerous to take a small dog to a park frequented by large
dogs. The large dogs may not mean to hurt the smaller dogs, but they can
play too rough, or they may see the small dog as a prey animal and pick it
up and shake it, which can be fatal. Exceptional dog parks have an enclosed
area specifically for small dogs. This keeps them safe, yet still allows
them to socialize which is especially important for smaller dogs.
stuff (agility equipment, etc.)
A park that provides equipment for dogs to practice their natural skills is
an exceptional park. Having some basic agility equipment – although the park
should not have equipment that might pose a safety problem if the owner and
dog have not been trained – is a fun way for dogs and owners to interact
together. It also shows that the park is aware of what dogs and owners enjoy
and seeks to enhance their experience