If you’re like most humans who share your heart and home with a canine companion, you want your furry friend to have plenty of opportunities to socialize with other dogs in a safe environment. However, if you frequent a local dog park for this purpose, you may feel as if the space could use some improvements. Fortunately, strategies exist for making the experience better for both human and canine visitors. Following are just six of the many simple ways that you can upgrade your local dog park.
1- Provide Seating and Shade
Having a comfortable, shaded place to relax and visit with other dog owners helps ensure that visits to the dog park are more enjoyable for humans — and this means they’ll go to the park more often and stick around longer when they do. As an added bonus, available seating will help foster a sense of community among regular visitors to the park.
2- Add Agility Equipment
Although you might think of agility equipment strictly for dogs that are involved in various competitions, they also provide a creative way for ordinary canines to get both physical and mental exercise. Equipment such as tunnels, jumps, and weave polls can be used by a wide range of abilities and provide interactive training opportunities for their owners.
3- Install Evening Lighting
Dog owners who work during traditional business hours typically have to limit their dog park time to weekends during the time of year when daylight is in short supply. Adding evening lighting will make your dog park accessible, safe, and enjoyable even after the sun has gone down.
4- Put in a Pet Washing Station
Additional services such as pet washing stations not only provide local dog owners with yet another good reason to take their canine companions to the dog park, but they also offer a convenient way for them to clean their dogs after an active and sometimes muddy romp. After all, no one wants to put a dirty dog in their vehicle or allow it into their home interior after a visit to the dog park.
5- Provide Adequate Signage
Clear signage posted in locations with high visibility helps visitors navigate the park as well as makes the park’s rules and regulations easily accessible. For instance, well-placed signs can indicate which areas are designated for small dogs and which ones are for use by their larger counterparts, inform visitors of when the park opens and closes, and provide guidance on leashing rules, vaccination requirements, and behavior expectations.
6- Include a Water Play Area
If you live in an area that experiences warm summer temperatures, you probably limit your dog park time to cooler hours of the day, such as early mornings or evenings. However, many dogs love to play and splash in water features, and this allows you to enjoy the warmer weather without worrying that your pet will become overheated.
To promote engagement among regular visitors and help welcome new participants into the mix, consider creating a social media page for your local dog park as well.