Here is a handy preliminary checklist for those interested in starting a dog park and adding amenities such as dog park equipment.
There are apparently more than 1,000 dog parks currently in the US. From 2009 to the present, the top 100 cities in America saw nearly a 75% increase in the number of dog parks added.
One reason, a super large number of people own dogs. Nearly 50% of households in the US own at least one dog.
The total number of dogs is estimated to be a whopping 89.7 million.
That’s a lot of canines.
Dog park basics
Here’s another fact about dogs. They need to exercise. Most experts say as a rule of thumb dogs should get at least one hour or exercise per day, although times vary per breed and age.
Let’s face it. Dogs are programmed to run and jump.
So, if you want to create a fun, dynamic place for pooches to play, here is some basic information about dog parks and dog park equipment.
- Size: you should have at least an acre of land. Five acres would be ideal. Another larger might be hard to manage. Also, it’s preferable to be able to divide that parcel into areas designated for “large dogs” and “small dogs.” Be sure there is drainage, so you don’t have everybody walking through muddy fields. Adding lighting for later in the day would also be a nice feature.
- Fencing: you want fencing that will contain dogs, of all sizes. Look to install fences at least six-seven feet in height or higher.
- Entrances: to also keep dogs contained, a double-gate system should be installed. This way dogs won’t escape when entering or leaving the park.
- Signage: you also want to install signage right up front, so the rules are clear. And rules are definitely necessary.
- Buffer Area: dogs are going to bark. It would be nice to minimize any noise by making sure there is plenty of land between the dog park and any homes or businesses. Hedges and trees can also help reduce any noise issues.
- Plenty of Parking: also, be sure there is adequate parking close to the dog park, so people don’t have a long walk to get back to their vehicles.
- Dog Waste: another necessity is to provide dog waste bags, a dispenser and a trash receptacle. This will help ensure the area is kept clean and people don’t have to remember to bring disposal bags.
- Water Fountains: when those dogs are unleashed, they are going to expend some energy, especially if they are climbing up ramps, jumping over hurdles or crawling through tunnels. When they do that, they are going to work up a thirst. It is ideal to provide a doggie drinking fountain. These fountains also come with a spigot for overheated humans to drink from as well.
- Shade: it’s can get hot out there. Adding trees would be great. If they can’t be planted, consider a shade structure.
- Benches: which brings us to the next piece of dog park equipment that is necessary, but not for dogs. Provide plenty of benches for dog owners. These benches are also a great way for people to socialize while their dogs run about. That is one of the great benefits of a dog park, so be sure to provide adequate and pleasant seating. There are dog-themed benches available on the market.
- Handicap Access: make sure you create access for people in wheelchairs and other disabilities as well.
- Plants: if you add flowers or plants, make sure they are non-toxic.
- Ground Cover: there are different options to consider – turf, dog park turf, grass, tiles, mulch or granite. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages.
- Restrooms: it would be nice to locate restrooms, ADA compliant nearby. If a permanent structure can’t be added, then add a portable toilet.
Dog Park Equipment provides several benefits
Once you have the park created, then its smart to add some dog park equipment to give those dogs something to do.
There are many benefits to adding agility equipment: dogs get the exercise they need. This makes for a happy dog and prevents unwanted behavior from a dog pent up all day in a house or apartment.
Remember the saying, “A tired dog is a happy dog.”
They also learn new tricks which stimulates them mentally.
While learning those tricks, they get to spend one-on-one time with their owners. If you ever watch a dog wagging his or her tail when they are with their owners, you can see this is one activity they love.
Here’s a suggested list of dog park equipment:
- Jumps: these hoops come in different sizes for different breeds.
- Hurdles: be sure to get adjustable hurdles for different breeds as well.
- Teeter Totters: helps with balance too.
- Weave Posts
- Tables: these can be used as cooling areas as well. For any product that dogs sit on, it’s smart to use dog park equipment that is coated with a specialized finish that is resistant to sweat and urine.
Put all of these items together, make sure you have a dedicated group of people committed to maintaining the area, and you can create a very pleasant location with dog park equipment that both canines and owners can enjoy in your community.