Do You Know The Three Popular Types of Dog Parks?
When dog parks were first introduced to cities, they were often drafted as a large fenced in open space typically 4'-6'. They had a double-gated entry and exit points, places for humans to sit, and disposal bins. The main purpose of the park was to allow the dogs to socialize with other dogs, exercise safely, and relieve pent up energy that usually resulted in barking or other problem behaviours.
For some cities allowing a large gated area for the dogs to play in seemed like enough. For others, the large space was seen as an opportunity to build equipment specifically for dogs. It quickly turned into a competition between cities to produce the most engaging dog park. In this article we take a look at three different types of dog parks that are popular for dogs and owners alike.
The Doggy Playground
Often times when you hear the word 'playground' you'll get vivid imagery of a traditional playground that includes a slide, swing set, monkey bars and teeter totters. You won't imagine dogs jumping through hoops, running across balance beams with ease, or scattering through tunnels for more treats. At least you won't get that imagery until now.
Though they are the less common of the three types of dog parks, doggy playgrounds have begun to rise in popularity. Some individuals felt that having a large open space wasn't adequate for a dog to release their energy and they created doggy playgrounds. Hoops, tunnels, ramps, and teeter totters are just a few of the more common items that you can find at these types of dog parks. All of the times are intended to promote a skill for the dog whether it be agility, speed training, or following commands. With this design, dogs not only have a space to run but also have a large space to play.
Instead of making the dog park resemble a play place, other landscape architects have redesigned the dog park to become a training space for dog shows or an exercise area resembling a gym. The architects typically split the park into sections so that there are different circuits for owners to take their dog. If an owner chooses, they can complete an entire circuit to resemble a dog show or they can just train their dog at a specific circuit.
When designing this style of park, the main equipment needed includes hurdles, platforms, and jump hoops that help owners prepare their dogs for shows. These parks should also include fountains and pet cooling stations to insure that the owners are kept hydrated and the puppies cooled.
Wide Open Space
The last and arguably the most popular style of dog park is the one that consists of wide open spaces. When choosing an open design concept for a dog park, it is crucial to consider the landscape and what surface the dog park will have as grass is not sustainable. Some off-leash dog parks use mulch and wood chips as their main surface for dogs to run around on. This surface is desirable since it will block weeds which can be potentially harmful for dogs to ingest. Another surface believed to be beneficial for a dog park is decomposed granite since according to Scott Loosley, “decomposed granite works well as a dog park surface because it is soft on the dog’s joints, can be easily brushed off the dog’s fur, and it is environmentally friendly.”
Whether you decide to build an open dog park, one that resembles a playground, or a skill training zone, the most important thing to remember is that the park must cater to the animal. This means water fountains, disposal bins, and space to run around.