When it comes to taking our furry friends out for some exercise, dog parks are one of the most popular options. Dog parks offer a chance for dogs to sprint and run around off leash, as well as socialize and learn how to behave around other dogs. However, they can also be a source of frustration for many pet owners. From overcrowding to aggressive dogs to lack of maintenance, here are the five biggest problems with dog parks – and how dog park clubs, like Tails & Ales, can solve them!
Behavior Tip: Consistent exercise can have a positive impact on your dog's behavior. Such as helping with anxiety and certain kinds of aggression!
1. Aggressive Dogs: Dog parks can be a toss up on whether or not any of the dozens of
dogs there at any given time have behavior issues. Due to lack of socialization opportunities some owners don't know how their dog is going to react until they get to
the park and some know their dog is aggressive but choose to bring them anyway. Dog park clubs have a detailed community guidelines that all visitors have to adhere to. They also have policies in place to deal with dogs that show aggression. Some dogs might just be having a bad day or are stressed out from external reasons, those dogs are typically asked to leave and try again on another day. However, some dogs have deep seated aggression or anxiety issues and are asked not to return. Both scenarios would be logged in the membership system and tracked.
2. Unvaccinated or Unfixed Dogs: While nearly all dog parks require the animal to be vaccinated or fixed. Dog parks typically do not have any way to verify or track whether a visitor is following the rules. Dog park clubs generally require proof of vaccinations and altered status on the first visit. They'll also use a membership system the keeps track of when a dog's vaccines expire and automatically request updated proof before their next visit. This means you can be confident that any dog in the club won't potentially spread anything to your furry friend.
3. Overcrowding: Another big issue with dog parks is overcrowding. Since the majority or dog parks are unsupervised, there's no way to regulate how many animals are in the park at any given time. Which may be fine on a rainy spring afternoon, but on a sunny summer day some parks will see hundreds of dogs. This can cause anxiety and aggression in even the most behaved dog who finds themselves overwhelmed and unable to register all the other dogs around them. Dog park clubs solve this by having a set limit of how many dogs can be in the park at any one time and attendants who can enforce it. While this may lead to some disappointment for those who are turned away at a peak time, it allows for an overall safer and more enjoyable experience for everyone.
4. Lack of maintenance: Dogs can be messy! They run, dig, scratch and roll. Especially when you get a large number of them in an enclosed space. Dog parks are traditionally run by a city parks departments, which can often be underfunded and stretched thin. This means dog parks end up with lots of bare patches that turn into mud pits when it rains, holes underneath fences that allow curious pups to escape, restroom facilities that are uncleaned and trash cans that overflow. Dog park clubs offer an alternative. While there is usually a monthly or annual fee that is required to use a club, these extra funds go to pay for nice lighting, constant upkeep on the grounds, and trained staff to maintain and clean the park throughout the day.
5. Inattentive owners: At a dog park you are typically relying on every other owner to be as responsible as you are and that unknown leaves a lot of owners hesitant to take their dog to the park. However, Dog park clubs are staffed with trained
attendants. Who besides just picking up after the dogs and keeping the park clean and fresh, also keep an eye on the dogs watching for any signs of aggression or dogs who might be getting angsty from exhaustion. This means you don't have to worry about your pet and can spend the time socializing or relaxing.