The Ruff Life – 5 Tips For A Great Dog Park

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If you are considering adding a dog park to your community, you have the chance to build something that will help keep the community happy and clean for relatively little expense. So, what should you know about dog parks before embarking on designing one? Here's what you need to know.

Where to Place It

A dog park is best placed in a location that's quiet and away from regular traffic flow. But it should be accessible by all of the community at the same time. Be considerate of older or disabled dog-owners by placing the park close to a parking spot and designing a flat and easily-traversed entrance.

The dog park itself doesn't have to be totally flat, which can be useful when searching for a space that isn't already used for other purposes. Having a shade tree or two can also be a boon in the hot summer weather.

How to Enclose It

A dog park fence should be around 5 to 6 feet high to properly confine large dogs and jumpers. It can be made of many different materials – iron makes a beautiful fence, for example, while chain link is inexpensive. But don't forget about the small dogs, too. To keep them inside, the bottom 1/3 of any open style fence should include a mesh or chicken wire barrier. An experienced fence contractor like those found at Deck and Fence Services can help you find a fence that fits the needs of all your four-legged community members. 

Place the gate on an open side so that running dogs don't feel cornered when coming or going. A double gate system is preferred so that dogs can't easily escape through open gates. Place a lock on the gate (if needed) and a sign that clearly spells out the rules and expectations of community users.

What to Put in It

Contrary to popular opinion, grass may not be the best choice for your dog park. Active or large dogs can damage the grass, so it would require regular maintenance. However, dirt can become pure mud in the rainy or snowy season. Good alternative surfaces include options like decomposed granite, artificial turf or most materials approved for children's play areas. What you choose largely depends on your climate and how much work you're willing to put into the park's upkeep.

Include a waste removal station and some exercise equipment (both for large and smaller doggies). In addition, a running water supply is a good idea both for owners and dogs. Add a metal bench or two for humans to sit while watching their dogs – encouraging people to chat and relax.

A well-designed dog park can be the perfect addition to any community. It helps neighbors get to know each other and contributes both to happier owners and to happier pups.