If you’ve ever been to a fantastic dog park you know that nothing can replicate that experience. That type of environment cannot be matched for a social dog. Each dog has its own requirements as to what makes a park fantastic, but once you and your dog have found “the one” there is no forgetting it. Your pup will know the route to and from the park like the back of their paw in no time!
Some dogs prefer a park that is brimming with plenty of new friends to be made. These social animals want to run around in the grass playing keep-up, or spend a few minutes circling and sniffing to make a new acquaintance. If your dog seems like the social type you need to search for a dog park with few amenities but a lot of open space. Those types of environments tend to draw in other social dogs that don’t need all the bells and whistles but do need more friends. A good way to start that search process is to investigate the sheer volume of people checking in to that park on social media. Even if the park doesn’t have a perfect 5-star rating, if tons of dogs are going it is still perfect for a social dog. It may only be missing the amenities other dogs crave.
Speaking of amenities, if your dog is a natural born athlete you may need a quieter dog park that is jam-packed with agility and training equipment. Some dogs need to burn off steam and bond with their people in a more private setting. A smaller park with tons of tunnels, jumps and tires may be just the thing for your dog. This type of park does require more effort from the human as you will need to get involved in motivating your pup and showing them the ropes. There are few joys better than climbing on a see-saw and watching your dog run up it right after you. Parks like these are a little more difficult to find, however. You may have to make a cursory search of nearby Township websites to find out what their dog parks have to offer. Oftentimes, the sites will include a page with information and photographs of their dog park. These can be incredibly useful in deciding if a park is worth the trip.
For other dogs, the park is just an excuse to get outside on their own. If you don’t have a fenced in yard it is often the only time a dog can be outside unleashed. These dogs just want to sniff, run and play in the open air by themselves. Sure, they’d love your attention while they do it, but don’t get discouraged if their first instinct is to run to the other side of the park and sniff the fence. They’ll be coming back eventually. These parks are the easiest to find as towns often cannot afford agility equipment, but still want to offer a good space for their residents to bring their pets. If you’re trying to avoid tons of other animals, scout out when the best time to go is. Try going the long way around the next time you run errands and doing a drive-by to see how crowded the area is. Remember what times it was empty and go then. Your dog will appreciate you doing your homework.
Please remember, however, to keep an eye on your dog while they are at the park. Look out for any signs of aggression from your bud or the dogs they are playing with and be ready to intervene. It only takes a second for a small offence to escalate, or for you to step in and keep the peace. Everyone at the park will appreciate your diligence, and so will your pup when they get home safely.