I am personally not a great fan of dog parks because when many dog owners (not all) see the sign “Dog Park” they think it gives them the right, to let their dogs, run amok with no consequences.
Dog Parks are specifically designed for dogs and their owners but they are no different, to any other Public Park that allows “Off Leash or On Leash Dogs” when it comes to the “Dog Control Act”, Manners & Etiquette, Common Sense and dog owners being aware, of where their dog is and what it is doing. Dog parks are not for all dogs.
Dogs like humans, can become stressed, distressed, fearful, overly excited or aggressive. While others may be bullied or be bullies.
Dogs need their owners to stand up, protect and watch out for them, even at the dog park. Same as you would look out for, and help a human friend, if they were in trouble or needed any kind of help.
All dogs speak to us, if we as humans choose to watch, listen and learn. If your dog is aggressive a dog park isn’t the place for it, same can be said if your dog is a bit nervy or fearful. Also, bitches on heat need to be kept away from any park.
I personally believe, dog parks should have information on dog park manners, etiquette & rules, posted by the gate entry, to the park, of what is expected from dog owners and their dogs, so everyone can have an enjoyable time, at the park.
In some states in the US they have compliance officers randomly visiting parks. They have the power to issue on the spot fines, if dog owners don’t have their dogs under control, in other words, their dogs are causing a nuisance or are problem. Also, in some US states, dog owners who wish to run their dog, off-leash are required to apply for an off leash licence. Food for thought NZ
Some of you may think I am anti off-leash dogs, in fact I am not, I am only anti dog owners, who do not have their dogs under control. Whether it be a dog park, park, beach, reserve or the like. If it is open to the public, everyone has the right to be there and enjoy their day, without being harassed by someone’s dog. Not all people love dogs, not all dogs, love other dogs, and so on.
I do believe, dog parks should have, separate areas for both small and big dogs, so they can run around and play safely. Some big dogs may see smaller dogs as prey and may kill them, if given the chance. Before anyone throws their hands up in horror, it happens! Same may happen in a boarding kennel/doggy day care environment, if small and big dogs are run together.
That is why it is so important to have someone physically present, watching the dogs behaviour, at all times.
Below are a few links to articles and information on Dog Parks and Off & On-leash Pros & Cons.
Dogs off leash but not under control Dog Park Etiquette Canine Parkour (urban agility)
Off Leash Dogs in Public Areas: No Manners, Common Sense or are some just confused!
Socializing your dog, the right way At the Dog Park The Importance of Participating
Three Dogs Who Shouldn’t Be at the Dog Park or Daycare 10 best dog parks in the US
When is a Dog Park not a Dog Park? When its a Public Park or Reserve!
Robin Bennett – The Keys to a Positive & Safe Dog Park Experience