In Marysville, Washington, dog lovers have a dog park called Strawberry Fields for Rover. It’s a great place for our dogs to be socialized, play with their friends, and get some exercise. It’s also a great place for dog owners to connect with other dog lovers.
I haven’t been inside the dog park in more than a month, choosing to walk our dogs on the mowed trails that surround the huge field on which the dog park sits. My love of the dog park has been dampened because it’s no longer a safe place for our dogs to play. I wondered if I was alone and sent out an inquiry to ask dog owners why they stopped going and what they’re doing for their dog instead.
Common Reasons Dog Owners Stopped Going to the Dog Park
- People aren’t picking up after their dog
- People bring food into the dog park
- People bring small children to play at the dog park
- People bring aggressive dogs to the dog park
- Bully breeds are discriminated against; people assume they’re aggressive
- A person’s dog has become aggressive
- People bring nervous, unsocialized dogs to the dog park
- People are aggressive towards other dogs and dog owners
- People who don’t understand common dog behavior freak out
- People aren’t paying attention to their dog
- People aren’t vaccinating their dogs
- People don’t feel safe; small dogs and older dogs aren’t always safe
- The park charges a fee
If you can relate to any of the above reasons, then you’re not alone. I hope that the below ideas on alternatives to the dog park will spark your interest. You can have fun with your dog, get him/her great exercise and socialization outside the dog park…
Alternatives to the Dog Park
- Take safe hikes that are at your dog’s fitness level
- Walk in the neighborhood, but take a different route each day; invite a neighbor to join you
- Go to a big, open field (that is dog friendly) and invite friends to join you
- Get an interactive toy to keep your dog engaged and play at home
- Find a reputable doggy day care facility
- Go to a dog friendly beach or lake
Now it’s your turn! Where do you take your dog other than the dog park?
Thank you to the following people who took the time to contribute their thoughts and ideas to this post!
Alan diGangi, Suburban Shepher
Beverley Nash, Choose your dog for a lifetime of JOY!
Bobbi, Your Personal Partner
Catherine M. Zehner, CDT, CPDT-KA, AKC, CGC Evaluator
Hilary Bumm Buzz, Buzz Public Relations
Jen, Fetch Pet Care
Katherine Quintero, The Margulies Communications Group
Laura Cruz, Dogtopia
Melanie Kaminski, Metropolitan Money Pit
Rob LaBonne, Fur Dad to Toby
Scott Yates, Founder of Blogmutt
Sonia Charry, Paw Posse
Suzy Allman, Charlie Dog and Friends
Toshi & Candace, Toshi Tales