If you follow our travels (mainly on Instagram) you know how much we LOVE visiting dog parks. We’ve traveled to over 100 different dog parks in the past 6 years. We’ve learned a lot, and we know that a lot of people hate on dog parks and believe they are bad for your dog, and you guys are entitled to your opinion if that is the case, but we believe they are awesome and we want to share with you why!
Here’s some important things to know:
DOG PARKS ARE FENCED IN AREAS THAT ALLOW DOGS TO BE OFF-LEASH
Not all Dog Parks are equal: every dog park is different. There are dog runs, public dog parks, membership only dog parks, and private dog parks.
- Dog Runs: small areas usually near apartment complexes or downtown areas where there could be “some” threats to you and your pup. We don’t like these areas that much. They tend to have a large number of broken-in cars, money beggars, and sadly some people try to poison your pup. Usually dog runs are put in areas where there are only a few dog lovers, and others hate the ideas of dogs. *beware of the dog run*
- Public Dog Parks: These are the most well known type of dog park. They are usually a fenced off area in a local public park. These parks are open to anyone. Even people who don’t have dogs sometime frequent there. There are pros and cons to this one. Pros-FREE, easy access, usually local, lots of dogs. Cons- you can meet many different types of humans & dogs, anyone can bring their dog, which can include mean, viscous, intact males, in-heat females, dogs that have not been vaccinated, and dogs that may be sick. Sometimes you even find dogs left there by horrible owners who are just done with them. You also find humans that don’t know/understand how dogs play or act and don’t play attention to their dogs or don’t pick up their poop. (YUCK) *if you are not comfortable at the park, neither is your pup. The best thing: know your dog, listen to your dog, and watch their body language. It’s okay if your dog doesn’t like “public dog parks”. Our local public dog parks are horrible; all four of them are just a large space that is fenced. There have been many cases of sick dogs and fights. We hardly ever go and we’d rather drive a ways to a good park. Check out Newton Dream Dog Park-it is a Public dog park that is one of our favorites we’ve visited.
- Membership Only Dog Parks: these are starting to become more popular. Basically you pay an annual membership and receive either a key card or pass code to enter the park. When you sign up for a membership you have to show proof of current vaccines which is a big pro, because you can rest easy knowing that all dogs are current. There can still be some cons – the humans, even though they have paid their membership and care enough to get their dog vaccinated, they could still not understand or care how their dog acts. This can bring in dogs that just don’t know how to interact at the park. But even still, this is one of the best types of dog parks.
- Private Dog Parks-The best of the best, the creme da la creme. You not only have to pay (either per time entered or annually), plus give current vaccination records, but your dog must also pass a TEMPERMENT test, meaning they are taken into a room with other dogs to see how they react. A dog trainer is there to make sure your pups are not stressed and do not show aggression signs. And not only is that a huge pro, knowing that all dogs that frolic there “KNOW” how to play with other dogs, they usually have some pretty awesome perks too: swimming pools, cafes for the humans and STAFF members that help keep the peace between humans and between dogs. This is OUR absolute FAVORITE way to dog park it! Our closest “private” dog park is WAGS in Cincinnati Ohio. It maybe one of our favorite dog parks we have ever visited. If you are ever in the area-you should definitely check it out!
In conclusion, just be aware of where you are going, know the warning signs of a bad human or dog, and always listen and watch your dog. Dog parks are for your dog to have fun, not a babysitter for your dog (so you can play on your phone and ignore them). Dog parks are not for everyone, but don’t be afraid of them. Try them out, you may find that you and your pup love them too!
Also see Characteristics of a Dog Park