I understand that most dog parks have fencing and are designed to allow dog owners to take their dogs outside safely. I have heard many dog owners say that they go to a particular dog park simply because it has a fence and I understand the importance of fences and most people’s views on fenced-in dog parks. But here is my take on dog parks and fences.
Fenced dog parks with gardens:
- Tend to be smaller and sometimes not large enough for dogs to socialize without feeling confined, and can eliminate escape routes if needed (during appropriate social protocols)
- Tend to be filled with dog owners who do not pay attention to their dogs because there is a fence and the chances of escape are relatively low.
- Tend to be occupied with dogs that have no training and no control.
Dog park without fences:
- Tend to be big enough for everyone to spread and have their own space to run, play and socialize.
- Tend to be filled with dog owners who closely guard and watch their dogs.
- Tend to be occupied with dogs with enough training and control to return when called.
My points about dog parks and fences are:
- Not every dog is socially stable and belongs at a dog park. Having enough space to spread out can help allow dogs to survive in peace – and of course dog park etiquette needs to be practised.
- Fence or no fence, you must watch your dog when at the park. It helps to avoid resource guarding, bullying, slashing, and other similar behaviors by surrounding yourself with others who are doing this.
- Obedience gives us functional control over our dogs and the dog park is a perfect place to use your functional control. What I mean is if your dog is in danger of being pressed by another dog, tell him to come; if your dog is near a water bowl harmed by another dog, tell him to come; if your dog jumps on people, tell him to sit; and if your dog is too close to the road, tell him to come! These are all things that should be exhibited in parks – fenced or not.
This info is only shared because there are so many great dog parks in Austin and throughout the country and I hope all trips to the dog park are filled with good times – not emergency vet visits.