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Would you pay a fee to go to the dog park?

Recently, I read an article about a dog park that charged a fee and although I don’t think a place like this would work for us, because Rodrigo wants to dominate, I wonder if charging a fee to belong to a park would benefit dog owners who just want to go to a place and watch their dogs have fun and connect with dog parents.

The common complaints I hear about dog parks are…

  • Aggressive dogs and/or dog owners
  • Dog owners aren’t picking up after their dogs
  • Dog owners who bring toys and get angry when other dogs want to play
  • Dog owners who bring small children
  • Dog owners who bring sick and/or unvaccinated dogs

The benefits of a dog park are…

  • An opportunity for our dogs to be dogs and have fun
  • Meeting neighborhood dog owners and making friends
  • Getting out of the house, switching up the dog walk routine, and new training opportunities

I reached out to see how common fee-based dog parks are and only received one response, but now know about 3 parks…

Friends of Orianna Hill Park is one.  They charge $50/year (per dog) and Suz, who told me about the park, mentioned that they received a price break on their second dog, making it more affordable.  “The main benefits for us is that it is an enclosed, safe area where all the member dogs must ascribe to a certain code such as must be neutered, cannot wear the spike collars, and must not be aggressive toward other dogs (or people). Dogs (and their owners) violating these rules are expelled from the park and membership until they can certify they now comply. It makes the park environment more pleasant.”

Every quarterly, this park requires members to attend a meet-up to help clean up the park.  I’ve seen this in our local dog parks, but the attendance is spotty.  I wonder if more people would show up if they’re paying for it; once you make an investment, you want to see that investment pay off.

The Rules…

I was curious to know what the rules of this type of park would be and visited the site to see and was impressed that the rules mirror many of our complaints about dog parks – here are the highlights

  • All dogs must wear tags (issued by the dog park)
  • All dogs mush wear name tags
  • No prong or pinch collars allowed
  • Never leave your dog unattended
  • If your dog behaves aggressively towards another human or dog, you must leave immediately
  • Dog park attendees may not bring more than 3 dogs to the park at a time
  • No visiting dogs
  • Dog park attendees must be 18 years or older if they are without adult supervision
  • Clean up after your dog immediately
  • No dogs younger than 4 months old
  • No dogs with a history of aggression

Although this is absolutely fantastic, a fee based dog park isn’t responsible should our dogs get injured, something that this park makes clear on the site.  Speaking with others about their park – the fee seems to attract the responsible dog owners and repel dog owners not interested in cleaning up after their dogs or monitoring their dogs – two situations which seem to be the source of many of our Dog Park Pet Peeves.

So what do you think?  Would you consider a fee based dog park?

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