A dog park is a park made just for dogs. They are securely fenced in, providing an area for dogs to run and play off lead. Some of them include agility style equipment, a water fountain made just for dogs, doggie clean up bags and a place for owners to lounge, such as benches and/or a pavilion. Some of them even have a small shower to cool off a dog quickly if needed. Dog parks provide a place to run for dogs that otherwise would not be able to run free, and a place for dogs to play with other dogs. Owners usually do not have to do much to get their dogs to exercise once the leash is unsnapped; the dogs take off playing with the other dogs. So long as everyone follows the park rules and abides by some basic "dog park etiquette." Dog parks are wonderful places to take your dog; that is assuming your dog has a personality that allows it to happily socialize with other dogs. It is also a great place to take a puppy for some good old socialization, so long as your pup has had all of its shots. When going to a dog park, you are responsible for your dog(s) and their actions. When going to a dog park for the first time, walk around and inspect the park. Is it safe? If you see things you do not like, leave the park and find a new one; it is your responsibility.
Basic Off-Leash Dog Park Etiquette
Do Not Use the Park as a Means of Exercise
Dog parks should be used as a fun place to play, but not as a means of exercise. One should walk their dogs right before coming to the park. Dogs that come to the park extremely excited, pulling ahead of their owners, with bottled up, excited energy are more likely to set off a fight between the other dogs. Even if your dog is not the one fighting, they send signals to the other dogs which put the other dogs in an unhealthy excitable state of mind. Dogs do not talk; they feel one another's energy. Have you ever been at a dog park where all the dogs were doing very well until a particular dog showed up, and suddenly the entire park seemed to be on edge with little scuffles here and there? One dog can feed unstable energy to the entire pack.
Do Not Bring Aggressive Dogs
Don't Bring Unvaccinated Dogs
Don't Bring Contagious Dogs
Clean Up After Your Dog
Female Dogs in Heat
Don't Bring More Dogs Than You Can
Dogs Only, do not Bring Other
Be Responsible For Your Dog
Entering and Leaving the Park
Keep Leash Handy
Keep Your Park Clean
Know Your Dog
Follow Your Local Parks Posted Rules
A well-constructed dog park has a double-gated entrance which allows an owner to walk in without letting other dogs out.
This well-designed water fountain has a low fountain for dogs, with a high "ON" button for the owners to press, a medium fountain for smaller people, and a higher fountain for adults.
Pushing the fountain’s "ON" button so this pup can get a drink.
Doggie waste-pickup bags and trash cans
Another dog-waste bag dispenser
Shaded pavilion for owners and dogs
Agility equipment off to the side so it does not get in the way of speeding dogs
Large open area for dogs to romp and play
Fake fire hydrant, just for the dogs :)
Bruno the Boxer puppy's first day at the dog park! What fun!
Since Bruno has had all of his shots, he can now go to the dog park! What great fun! He thoroughly enjoyed playing with the 25-30 dogs. What a great place for socialization. It was fun to watch the high-energy dogs chase one another back and forth over and over. You could just see the endless amounts of energy in them. It was easy to see why their owners made regular visits to the park. One owner told me he visits the park every day so his two Golden Retrievers will sleep at night.
We had brought Bruno's blue squeaky ball and that apparently was a great hit. It went from dog to dog. Everyone enjoyed the blue ball. There were quite a few tennis balls at the park as well, but apparently there was something special about the blue ball that made dogs want that one.
While Bruno enjoyed all of the dogs, one of his personal favorites was a six-month-old brindle Boxer named Jackson. Jackson looked so much like Bruno I was getting them mixed up, even though Jackson was much bigger than Bruno. It was cool to see Jackson playing with Bruno in the same fashion and style that Allie, our older Boxer plays—the way they use their paws while growling a playful growl, leaping from side to side, playfully biting on one another's necks.
It's a Boxer thing... :) Yes, they are only playing. Notice Bruno coming in for a lower bite. Jackson is dishing out some of the Boxer tactics that Bruno gives to his older sister, Allie the Boxer. (Allie was at the park as well. She had just had hip surgery a few weeks earlier so I didn't feel comfortable letting her run free at the park yet. I was afraid another dog would mount her or jump on her a bit too hard. Her back legs would not be able to handle that much stress just yet.)
Another favorite for Bruno was Reese, an F1b Puggle hybrid. Reese's owner told me it was her first time at the park as well. Reese was having issues with being afraid of people and other dogs. After being at the park for a while, however, I could see Reese really snapping out of her shell.
At first Reese's tail was between her legs, but after being chased and pawed at by Bruno for ten minutes Reese decided this was fun.
Another one of Bruno's favorites...Jackson the Vizsla. These two were having a blast! This is Bruno rolling across the dirt while Jackson the Vizsla is about to make another speedy pass over Bruno. These two were really kicking up the dust.
"It's getting dark, time to leave, but not before I try one last time to catch this Vizsla!" Not a chance! Jackson the Vizsla is just way too fast. Jackson kept running back and forth at lightning speed. Jackson is very playful and friendly, with more energy than he knows what to do with. When we left Bruno was all dirty and extremely tired.
Written by Sharon Maguire © Dog Breed Info Center ® All Rights Reserved