These are the 12 basics in no particular order by which the dog parks are analysed:
- Fences: No one wants their pooch to be able to slip below or through a fence gap to an uncertain adventure.
- Entry/Exit areas & Gates: Safe space to enter & know spring loaded gate hinge & latch closes securely behind you while you unhook/attach dog lead. (Also used for ‘time-out’ for misbehaving pooches)
- Grass: Must have lawn play areas for zoomies, play fights, rolling in, etc. – a dustbowl, dry weed ground or plain dirt is not acceptable.
- Trees & bushes: A bare-naked holding pen without trees & bushes for hiding, playing & sheltering in is not a dog park. Nature is appreciated by humans & pooches alike.
- Water: Multiple water taps & tipping bowls for pups to cool hot paws & heads centrally located. Ideally a spray hose for hot days or cleaning a messy pup. Artistic, impractical water fountains that trickle water into tiny bowls or step-on dribble spouts are entirely inadequate.
- Agility / Play equipment, platforms, mounds: Without these – it is just an animal holding pen/cell & not a play park.
- Lighting: Many owners & shift workers take pup to parks before or after work – usually in the pre-dawn, twilight or dark. It is vital that lighting on timer is available for safe access & use of the park to those whose circumstances prevent them from exercising their pooches during daylight hours.
- Shelter: Rain & Sun shelter for owners & pooches because lets face it – dogs playing with each other is an entertaining spectators delight.
- Seating: See above
- Poo Bags: Shouldnt even have to put this on the list but only 2 dog parks in over 8 visited so far have supplied bags. If parks are expected to be cleaned the bags need to be provided.
- Bins: Emptied often & accessible without having to step outside the park to deposit rubbish.
- Toilet facilities: Electronic single access- self cleaning toilet takes up very little space & provides a facility that many dog park users would welcome.
Nice to have: Separated Small dog / Large Dog areas for those pups or timid dogs to play safely without the fear of an incident early in their development.