A dog park is a wonderful, happy place where dogs and their owners can truly unwind and be free! Many pet parents are willing to travel great distances to visit their favorite park and some even consider proximity to a dog park when relocating. Designing a beautiful dog park doesn’t have to be an overwhelming or extravagant experience, but it can be an awesome way to express creativity and create something very beneficial for your community. There are 10 main features that should be considered in the planning stage in order to create a truly beautiful dog park.
1 - Location, Location, Location
Just as in real estate, the location of the dog park cannot be stressed enough. Too small an area, an area that doesn't drain well or an area that is too rocky and will hurt the dogs' paws are not recommended. Rather, an area that is large enough for large dogs to run freely with trees to provide shade (although shade canopies are always a good option), and grass or turf are better options.
2 – Fence, Gates, And Locking Mechanism
A fenced area allows dogs and owners alike to really relax and unwind. It gives dogs the rare opportunity to run off leash and explore to their heart's content. It also keeps dogs and people not at the dog park safe. When considering the fenced area, thought should be given to whether it will be an all-inclusive area or whether there will be separate small and large dog areas. Thought should be given to what type of fencing will be used as well as what type of entry and exit gates would be best.
If your dog park is part of an apartment complex, this may not be such an issue but if it’s part of a subdivision, thought should be given to the gate locking mechanism. Do you want everyone to have access including those who do not live in your neighborhood? Do you wish to install a lock so that only those authorized to use the dog park can enter? Would a keypad with a code, a fob, or a traditional lock and key be a better option?
3 – Water Fountain
Water access is especially important in the intense Texas heat. Not only do people overheat but as dogs are running free expending their pent-up energy, they need to be able to properly hydrate. A water fountain with a hose attachment so dogs can be hosed down and really cooled off, or rinsed off if they get muddy, is a particularly nice feature.
4 – Pet Waste Stations & Trash Receptacles
The size of the dog park will determine how many DOGIPOT Pet Waste Stations should be placed throughout the dog park. However, pet waste stations are imperative for the proper disposal of dog waste which will help keep the dog park clean and tidy so dogs and owners can enjoy the space freely, never worried about tracking unwanted residue home with them. Picking up dog waste is also an environmental issue as dog waste that is not picked up will seep down and contaminate our groundwater. Keeping these Pet Waste Stations fully stocked is also important, just as the regular emptying of the pet station's trash container.
5 – Gym/Agility Equipment, And Toys
No dog park is complete without some dog exercise equipment. The size of the park will greatly determine how many pieces of equipment will fit and work in the space but in almost all case at least two pieces of agility equipment will fit and provide the much needed physical and mental stimulation dogs look for and need.
Most dogs love balls whether they be tennis balls or soccer balls. Providing just a couple of these with a ball thrower which is inexpensive can provide yet another stimulus that dogs thoroughly enjoy, and dog owners enjoy participating in. A box to store these in when not in use is a nice feature and will ensure they do not get destroyed when the area is mowed.
4 – Water Feature
Although not possible in every dog park, a pool is a very nice feature in a dog park and allows for dogs to splash and play, and cool down. Even providing a kiddie pool or two, can be a great way to provide additional fun for dogs who like to play in water.
7 – Seating Area
The dog park is an opportunity for dogs to not only play and run but to socialize with other dogs. So it is for dog owners as they can enjoy this time to relax and socialize. A seating area is a basic need in any dog park and will make for a more enjoyable experience for the dog owners.
8 – Shade
A seating area is important and so is shade for that seating area. You may have trees that provide the perfect cover over the bench but if not, you may wish to consider a shade canopy.
9 – Dog Park Rules Sign
Most people believe they know dog park rules but it always bears reminding everyone what is expected and what will not be tolerated when using the dog park. Maybe you have rules that are very specific to your dog park? These should be made clear so there is no misunderstanding.
10 – Solar Lighting
Although most dog parks can only be used during the day, there are instances where it is appropriate for the park to be made available during evening hours. In this case, solar lighting should be considered.
Designing a beautiful dog park that will be enjoyed by both dogs and their owners is about being creative and giving some thought to the needed elements keeping in mind play and safety. And a final thought, although not a necessity, the traditional red fire hydrant that typifies a fun dog park is always a great addition to any dog park!