What is a dog park?

According to recent studies, over a third of all U.S. households have one or more dogs. Armed with this fact, community parks and recreation departments are becoming more likely to include dog parks than facilities such as splash play areas or golf courses. Dog parks are public or private parks for dogs to play off-leash in a controlled environment to exercise and socialize under the supervision of their owners.

Public Dog Park

A public dog park is typically a fenced outdoor area where people and their dogs can play together. Similarly, a dog run is a smaller fenced area, created for the same use, that is often located within an existing park. Public dog parks are most commonly operated by your city or county's parks department and are frequently part of a park. As the names imply, these places offer dogs off-leash play areas where their owners can enjoy a park-like setting and the chance to socialize with other canines and their owners. Public dog parks are being established all over the country and offer a wealth of benefits to dogs, dog owners and the community as a whole. Unless they are well-lit, most public dog parks are open to the public from dawn until dusk.Some public dog parks have vaccination requirements but are not staffed or enforced unless there is some kind of incident that is reported to animal control.

Private Dog Park

A private dog park is an indoor or fenced outdoor area where people and their dogs can play together. Private dog parks are most commonly membership based and run as a for-profit business. Private dog parks can also be run as part of an apartment complex or community center. Some private dog parks combine other businesses such as retail areas, boarding, dog training, daycare and grooming services. When private dog parks are staffed, they commonly inspect dogs for lice and oral papillomas upon entry and supervise play. Toys and common play areas of private dog parks are commonly sanitized on a daily basis to ensure cleanliness and to prevent the spread of bacteria and diseases.

Dog Socialization

Regardless of whether you select a private or public dog park, the benefits of dog socialization are tremendous for your pet. A well socialized dog gives him or her the skills to confidently deal with new interactions and situations. Exposing your dog to new smells, sounds, dogs and people will help them learn and grow. A well socialized dog is less anxious and nervous which helps them become more relaxed and playful even in potentially stressful situations.

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