What to look for in a dog park


Her name was Sarah and she was a German shepherd mix rescued from the pound. Sarah, my significant other, and I all lived in a rather crowded walkup that was simply unequal to the task of keeping Sarah exercised despite the long hardwood hallway, the length of which was perfect for tossing her ball down. Sarah, and our downstairs neighbor, was thrilled at the prospect of finding the perfect doggy playground for her to stretch her legs. Finding the perfect dog park however, is as much about trial and error as any other factor. These three tips should help you narrow down your search considerable in the hunt for an outdoor play space.

Know Your Dog…

Dog parks, like people parks, have their hours of peak attendance, and if your dog stresses out easily, or shows aggressive characteristics, you should consider bringing them to the park when few other dogs are there. Unfortunately, on our first sojourn to the local dog park, our previously mild-mannered pup identified the largest dog in the bunch before making a beeline towards him and started attacking him. My wife and I dragged Sarah off him, and hauled her back to the car along the path of shame, before vowing to find deserted times for her to get exercise.

Know Your Neighbors…

When we talk of neighbors, we are speaking of our human neighbors at the dog park, not the disgruntled ones living below. Engaged owners who are playing with their furry family members and not merely leaving them to their own devices, so you should be able to identify which pooch goes with which parent. We accept that dogs will be dogs, and that is why we love them, but when an animal’s owners abrogate responsibility for their pet’s behavior, it ruins the fun for everyone.

Know Your Facilities…

When assessing the merits of a park’s amenities, look more for what will benefit the dog than the owner. Rather that scouting for picnic tables and benches, you should make sure that there are adequate water sources, secured fencing, clean, and separate play areas so the little guys can have just as much fun as the big dogs whether they choose to stay on or off the metaphorical porch.


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