Home News Dog Parks Are Actually Quite Bad – Centralfallout

Dog Parks Are Actually Quite Bad – Centralfallout


Although dog parks might seem great additions to the local community and dog parks near me, they can be a problem for both you and your dog. Before you decide to go, here are some things you should know.

People sit around talking to strangers every morning, no matter the weather, while their dogs run, chase, and play. Dog parks are one of the most popular park amenities in America.

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Park development since 2009

Dog Parks
Dog Parks

They can be found anywhere from large, fenced areas and rolling fields to smaller inner-city runs. According to the Trust for Public Land, there has been an increase of 40% in park development since 2009.

The Ohlone Dog Park was the first American dog park. It was established by Martha Scott Benedict in Berkeley, Calif., in 1979. Dog parks have been a common feature in many suburban and urban areas across the United States, but is it really good for dogs? Canine behavior experts aren’t convinced, surprisingly.

2018 survey by the National Recreation and Park Association

A 2018 survey by the National Recreation and Park Association (N.R.P.A.) found that 91 percent of Americans believe dog parks provide benefits to their communities.

According to a 2018 survey by the National Recreation and Park Association (N.R.P.A.), 91% of Americans believe that dog parks are beneficial for their communities.

This was particularly true for Gen Xers and millennials, who overwhelmingly recognized dog parks to be beneficial amenities. According to the study, 60% of respondents said that they provide dogs with a safe place to run and exercise. 48% stated that dogs can socialize in parks.

Dog parks are a great option for urban dogs who don’t have a yard to run in. Dogs that don’t know each other well enough to be placed in large groups and expected play together is not natural. Dog parks are often assumed to be a good place for dogs to socialize, but this may not be true.

Socialization myth

Nick Hof is a professional dog trainer who chairs The Association of Professional Dog Trainers. He explained that socialization does not refer to dogs inter- or “socializing with” other dogs. It’s more about exposing puppies younger than 20 weeks old to new experiences.

Mr. Hof stated that this helps people feel more confident and can adapt to new situations.

Although socialization is important for the healthy development of puppies and their health, Mr. Hof said that the dog park is not the place to take your puppy to learn how to interact with other dogs.

He said, “Dog parks do not provide a safe environment for puppies under six-12 months of age.” Mr. Hof said that puppies are more sensitive in their early months. Therefore, a friendly greeter at the park might be enough for our puppy to become unsure of other dogs.

Socializing puppies young is about ensuring they have positive interactions and avoiding any frightening or overwhelming interactions. To socialize puppies, Mr. Hof suggests that owners take their dogs to puppy classes to make sure they have fun with other pups.

It can be more difficult to socialize with older dogs because they have had all their formative socialization experiences. Dog owners who bring shy dogs to the park are usually good for their dog’s welfare. They want to give the dog positive interactions with other dogs.

This can be dangerous as a nervous dog can become overwhelmed in a park setting. This can lead to fights and long-term fear of other dogs. Dogs can also pick up bad habits from each other in a park setting, so it is not a place to bring a dog that isn’t well-socialized.

Playground bullies

Dogs are social animals, and they enjoy playing in the park. However, it can be difficult to set up a dog. Dog owners often bring their dogs to the park to exercise, but dogs can be over-aroused or rude and this can cause problems between dogs.

Dr. Heather B. Loenser is a senior veterinarian officer at the American Animal Hospital Association. She cautioned that just because a dog’s owner believes it plays well with other dogs, does not mean they do.

Dog owners must trust that the park staff will be able to supervise their dog and make a decision about whether or not the dog is allowed in the park. It’s not easy to trust a stranger.

Dog parks are generally not monitored or supervised by professionals, unlike doggy daycares and play groups.

Dog fights can cause dogs to learn inappropriate behavior from other dogs. Bad experiences can have an impact on dogs outside the dog park, causing them to develop bad behaviors.

Mr. Hof added that dogs who visit dog parks may become pushy with other dogs or engage in play.

Dogs that become overwhelmed by the loudness and enthusiasm of other dogs may withdraw, be anxious, and even become nervous about meeting new dogs.


Dog parks often lack separate play areas for large and small dogs. Owners can also choose to ignore those areas. A large dog can cause serious injury to or even death, even if the owner doesn’t mean it.

Dog parks are prone to injuries, from minor scuffles and serious incidents. Even from rough play, bite wounds are quite common. Dr. Loenser recommended that even if the injury appears small, you seek immediate veterinary attention.

Infighting or play-related bites can cause the tearing of the skin. This can make it more difficult to heal and increase the risk of infection. Muscle strains and sprains due to lunging or rough play are all common. Dr. Loenser stated that dogs who pivot quickly on their back legs are at high risk of tearing their ligaments, particularly the cranial-cruciate ligament in the knees.

These types of injuries to the knee-and ligament often require extensive rehabilitation and expensive surgery.


Even well-maintained parks can pose health hazards, especially the spread of easily transmissible diseases. Dog parks are unregulated public spaces. This means that even though signs say dogs must be vaccinated and there is no documentation to prove it, this is a problem.

American Animal Hospital Association recommends that owners bring their pets to the parks to have them vaccinated against Bordetella.

This vaccine prevents distemper and “kennel cough”. Your dog should also be vaccinated against Leptospira, which can be transmitted from dog parks to communal water bowls, puddles, and other water features.

Dogs who visit dog parks must be vaccinated for rabies. Canine influenza (dog flu), which can be transmitted by the air, should be vaccinated for dogs who visit dog parks.

Dr. Loenser warned that while the current influenza vaccines cover the most common strains, they might not protect against cross-protection. Dogs who visit parks with large numbers of dogs that may or might not have been fully vaccinated could get sick.

Body language

Dog owners don’t have the ability to read their dogs’ body language beyond a wagging head. This means that warning signs such as a dog being unhappy, upset, or aggressive are often overlooked.

This can lead to major and minor dogfights. It is important to understand canine body language and to assess if the playgroup at the park will be a good match for your dog.

Mr. Hof stated that the park is not for dogs to run wild while they socialize with other dogs. “Keep an eye on your dog, and ensure that they are having fun.” This includes watching other dogs and their behavior. If things get too heated, it’s time to move on.

What are the signs to look out for? Dr. Loenser states that there are subtle signs of fear and aggression such as “lip-licking”, yawning, or panting when it is not hot”. Other signs of discomfort or a developing issue include stiff bodies or erect tails.

These signs are important to be aware of so you can intervene before the situation escalates with another dog.

Even dogs that seem to play well together could be at risk. Mr. Hof stated that healthy play between dogs should include short breaks or pauses.

If you are unsure if all dogs are happy, it is best to stop the dog that may be acting out and see what the other dog does. It’s a sign that everything is okay if the other dog attempts to re-engage. A break is a good idea if the other dog starts running away.

Avoid any behavior that involves a dog pulling on another dog. Frenzied barking can be dangerous, although it is common for dogs to bark, growl, or vocalize occasionally during play.

Dog park alternatives

If the dog park is big enough, your dog may be physically tired on a good day. The visit will not provide the enriching mental stimulation and emotional stimulation your dog needs. Unfortunately, dog parks are more about people than dogs.

While humans love the opportunity to socialize with like-minded animal lovers, our dogs are safer and more enjoyable if we go to the dog park. Instead, let your dog spend the time with us by taking walks, training, or general obedience classes, or even trying out a new sport.

You are the one who will ultimately decide if there are any risks to dog parks. However, it is okay for your dog not to be able to run with other dogs in an urban environment. Your dog will want to spend quality time with you.