In today’s world where urban spaces are growing, and more people seek inner city life over suburban digs, it’s hard to find a place where you can let Rover run. Dog Parks seem to be popping up in every community across the US. As owners, we are aware that our four-legged companions need more exercise than our 900sf apartments can provide. We naturally see dog parks as a wonderful oasis in the cold cement and steel worlds we live in. There are many hidden dangers we must consider before heading out for a puppy playdate in the park.
A safe place for dogs to meet, greet, and play is why dog parks were started. In theory it’s a wonderful idea, however, in practice it doesn’t always end up as a positive experience. If there was a dog park police force that was able to insure that all the dogs were vaccinated, healthy, sociable, and obedient, then perhaps the creation of dog parks would have been a worthwhile endeavor.
Dog Park Pros-
- Fun and Exercise– both dogs and their humans get to interact with others while getting some much needed exercise
- Socializing– provides an opportunity to develope social skills by interacting with other dogs and other people
- Builds community– is a wonderful way to meet other dog lovers and discuss topics that are important to their community
- Training– a great way to practice off leash techniques with distractions
Dog Park Cons-
- Fights– owners are not always aware or simply don’t care that they have a reactive dog. In an off-leash park you will eventually see a dog fight or two take place. This can be an extremely dangerous situation not only for the dogs, but for the owners involved.
- Human Conflicts– it may be an argument over who’s dog poo’d or a disagreement about some other dog’s behavior. Conflicts between owners can and will happen. Fights between owners have even led to lawsuits being filed.
- Disease and Parasites– being around dogs also means being around dog poop. Dog poop comes with tons of parasites. If you add to that communal drinking water, drooling mouths with lolling tongues, and unvaccinated K-9’s running rampent you have a buffet of disease just waiting for a host.
- Unaltered Animals– aggression issues, unintentional breeding which can lead to shelters full of wnwanted pets, and thousands of animals euthanized daily.
The decision to go to a dog park is a personal one. Every owner has a level of risk they are willing to take when providing their pooch with opportunities for fun, exercise, and socialization. All dog parks offer different types of amenities, have varied rules, and vary a great deal from community to community. The most important thing to do prior to heading anywhere with your pet is to weigh the pros and cons of the situation. This will ensure the best experience for all involved. For more information check out the Association for Pet Dog Trainers website. For a list of dog parks in the Las Vegas area visit Beta Dog Goes.