Do we need more dog parks? The positives and negatives of creating more

For dog owners, sometimes there’s nothing more joyous than bringing your dog to the park and watching him or her enjoy the open spaces and even the positive interactions with other dogs. There has been an outcry all over North America for more to be built, but according to reports, there is both a negative side and a positive side to the dog park as a whole. In the end, do we need more dog parks?

The question is indeed a profound one and the answers aren’t as clear cut as they would seem. There are issues with the dog park in general and today we’ll be taking a look at both those negatives and the positives.

On the negative side is what’s going on in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. In that region there happen to be a few dog parks where the dogs can go unleashed. Unfortunately not all the dogs that are taken to that park have the temperaments to be unleashed so to speak, and the result is a disturbance that has erupted across a particular Windsor neighborhood.

A deep dive into the positive impacts and the negative effects of dog parks

One local by the name of Leticia Nonya had this to say about a park in the area that isn’t officially a dog park but is being used as one by local dog owners, thus resulting in many to complain about the dog owners and their furry friends. This park goes by the name of Paterson Park. For the record, Nonya’s home borders this particular park.

“For people that live in the area, their dogs get vicious and start attacking the fence as well…I have a dog that is very anxiety-ridden now. She’s terrified to go outside half the time because there are dogs charging at the fence…I wouldn’t care if they walked their dogs off leash if they had a recall for their dog…”

via CTV

Of course parks such as these are very common among dog owners that live in apartments or condos, where space for the dog to play is limited. Many take their dogs to general parks to let their dogs play and run around.

The issue here though is that these parks aren’t officially dog parks, and not all the dogs get along in such spaces and especially if they’re unleashed, this can cause further problems as opposed to rectifying the dog’s particular issues of having nowhere to properly play and waste some energy.

The good side of the official dog park is obvious…the pros essentially speaking for themselves:

As aaastateofplay.com suggests, the benefits are huge and include fresh air, meeting like-minded individuals for pet owners, the dog can learn to have a social life and they also suggest that watching your dog play is not only an emotional reward but it helps dog owners to learn things about their pet they may not have known otherwise.

So the good side is of course positive, but do the negatives outweigh the positives we’ve just mentioned?

Apdt.com actually goes further into the psychology of the dog in a study published at the site. The site is created by professional dog trainers and their findings are eye-openers for sure.

According to the study, dogs are as social as humans and they can be influenced by other animals. This is perhaps obvious, but what isn’t as obvious is the glaring statement from the study that suggests that dogs that play in a dog park—perhaps primarily an unleashed dog park…these dogs learn how little control a dog owner actually has over his or her pet. It is in the ‘free play’ in such parks that the dog learns this.

Sadly the dog also loses that overall sensation of safety he or she gets from their owner…the open space and the other dogs included there, the dog gets the impression that they are on their own and they understand that their owner is helpless in helping them in a confrontation with another dog should one occur. This is where the animal’s instinct will kick in naturally. So once again it’s human error and the dog gets the blame…which of course happens often in these situations.

According to the study as well, these situations can lead to tremendous fights that in the past have been disastrous.

The study is incredibly honest and further prepares you to decide whether a dog park is for you and your dog or not. Give it a read by clicking HERE.

Back to the situation in Windsor however, there are some locals that believe that the dog park in general is beneficial. One such local is Margaret Cotter, who had this to say on the issue erupting there: She states that the city has a lot of unused space and many can benefit from adding more unleashed dog parks—ultimately adding to the 4 that currently exist.

She also suggests that turning the aforementioned Paterson Park into a dog park—an official one—would be an option…this being something that locals, particularly Leticia Nonya, do not agree with. She had this to say on that possibility:

“They would have to petition the people around here before they do that. Our neighbors are not going to go for that because these dogs torment us as it is.”

via CTV (link above)

On the other hand, Margaret Cotter feels there aren’t enough and there is a benefit to the unleashed dog park.

“It’s sad because we a lot of unused space that can be used correctly…If they live in an apartment, they would prefer to have a dog park near the building so the dog can go and play if they don’t have a backyard…You get to meet new people. You get to meet new breeds of dogs that you might not have thought to be a match for your family. If you’re looking at buying a dog — and rescuing one, preferably — go a dog park and talk to the owners.”

via CTV (link above)

So draw your own conclusions, dear readers, but in the end proper care and really thinking it over will do wonders in the end. Look to see what kinds of dogs are at your local dog parks; more importantly look to see what types of owners bring their dogs to said park. In the end, your dog’s safety and happiness is what’s at stake here, so study up.

What experiences have you and your dogs had at your local dog park? Sound off on the debate. Should we have more dog parks, or should the local governments set up more rules to be abided by? Let us know in the comments.