Dog parks are steadily on the rise and are one of the fastest growing segments in the outdoor hospitality market. With as many as 40% of American Households owning dogs, it’s no wonder there is such a demand. These four legged zones not only make the pups happy, but allow owners to share and engage with their pets in a natural way.
So what makes a good dog park you may be asking? A lot of times those creating the dog parks are not spending the time understanding the dogs. A dog friendly zone is more than a flat grass wasteland surrounded by a fence. Naturally, dogs are curious, they love to run, climb, chaise and leap. With some simple planning, designing a destination dog park can be an achievable task.
Give those dogs lots of room to explore with little to no funnel points. When dogs congregate in a single spot and especially near the entrance it can cause anxiety for shy or timid dogs. Instead, create an open environment with multiple entrances if possible. Taking the pressure off the entry really allows dogs to ease into the setting and helps minimize conflicts or further anxiety.
Set aside smaller runs
Not all dogs are created equal! Sometimes having closed off runs allows the smaller or more timid dogs to ease into the setting. Its possible owners may also not feel comfortable letting them roam free in a larger setting as well. If you can quarantine a space utilizing the same fence line as the larger area, this may help more timid dogs ease into the environment. Interacting first through a chain link fence is a great way to reduce any possible outbursts and helps with gradual introductions.
Make it productive
While the key of dog parks is exercise and interaction, it's also about presenting a challenge that allows dogs to utilize their natural instincts. Setting the terrain to maximize a dog's ability to, well be a dog is key. Topography should be multifaceted with different levels of surfaces aimed for all skill levels. The key to this is utilizing a wide range of products and channels for dogs to naturally expend their energy. Tunnels, tubes, rocks and etc give dogs a great opportunity to explore and play.
Those pups are going to be playing hard and will need to stay hydrated. It would be beneficial to supply water whether through a natural system or installing a water hydrant.
Don't forget about the owners
No one wants to visit a park full of trash and pet waste. To you visitors it is going to be important to maintain the parks appearance and safety standards. Having enough trash receptacles and utilizing dog waste stations are a key to encouraging guests to clean up. Not only is cleanliness important, don't forget about the owners themselves. A dog park can be a great way for owners to socialize and spend time outdoors. Enticing your guest with benches, picnic tables lighting and other amenities really tie a park together.