Dog Parks Grow in Popularity

The Resource for Everything About Dogs

Dog Parks Grow in Popularity

by Laurie Ritchey

There are many ways to pamper our precious pooches. There are salons, fitness clubs and spas ? yes, for dogs! But for real interaction, relaxation, and socialization, try your local dog park. Dog parks are growing in popularity and are a great way to exercise our dogs and socialize with other dog lovers. It?s also the latest and greatest gathering place for singles (check out ?Must Love Dogs? and ?You?ve Got Mail? for inspiration in that area). But never mind the romantic notion of young lovers finding each other amidst the barking dogs; let?s look at what these parks have to offer.

Designated dog parks indicate that dogs are invited, not just permitted. While some dog parks do require leashes, many do not. Parks also offer a variety of dog-friendly equipment to make your visit fun, safe, and entertaining. Equipment can include anything from a simple water source and doggie waste station to agility equipment, dog wash, exercise track, fountain, lake access, fire hydrants and time out pens. Many parks even have concession stands and picnic areas. Of all the features, the most important is water and shade.

The most successful parks are monitored by volunteer user groups. These volunteer groups are committed to a safe and clean park. Most visitors know the basic rules: clean up after your dogs and watch for possible aggressive behavior. To be successful in both areas, owners must keep an eye on their dogs, so pay attention, limit cell phone use and share the moment!

Concern about dog fights keeps many owners from participating in this great experience. Fights can, and do, happen occasionally but the best way to avoid this behavior from your dog is to help distract him when you see something brewing. Also, help ?introduce? your pet to other dogs so they know that you approve. Because the dogs are sharing a neutral area they are surprisingly not territorial and therefore aggressive behavior is minimal. Dogs that have been socialized from a young age with family, friends and other dogs do very well in this setting.

Your dog will love this experience! You will also benefit and you will likely share many more of these trips. After a day at the park, your dog will arrive home exhausted. If you have a highly active dog, trust me when I say he will be totally incapable of jumping all over Aunt Sue when she comes to visit (for a while at least).

So get out there and enjoy!!

For a listing of parks in your area check out

Laurie Ritchey writes articles about all natural dog care. She is usually busy spoiling her wheaten terrier, Niko, but loves doing research on pet health that might be able to help others. Her favorite dog toys, treats and supplements can be found on her website at

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