To Dog Park or Not To Dog Park

Learn about dog parks before taking your dog to one!
May 1, 2023
Dog Wellness
Stephanie M. Casey

Are Dog Parks Safe?

Dog parks are a divisive topic amongst dog owners, advocates, and trainers. Most trainers will tell you that a dog park is just a disaster waiting to happen - not if but when.

Why don’t trainers recommend dog parks?

Dog Parks are not recommended for many reasons. The reasons not to go to a dog park all fall under the umbrella of, “you don’t know what you will encounter at a dog park.” Some of the situations you may not even realize you are facing when you take your dog to a dog park may include:

  • Untrained Dogs
  • Untrained People
  • Unsocialized Dogs
  • Dogs without Vaccinations
  • Sick Dogs
  • Aggressive Dogs
  • Unfixed Dogs
  • Dangerous Items left in the Dog Park such as pieces of plastic, purposefully placed poison, or accidental human-dropped items

Does this mean you should not go to a dog park?

That is up to you and you should discuss it with your vet and dog trainer.

Here at Dallas Love Bugs, we recognize all of these risks and feel there is still a need for dog parks to exist. Other forms of exercise and socialization are preferable but every dog deserves to run and for dogs who live in large, concrete cities or apartments and condos - a dog park may be the dog's only option to stretch their legs with full, running sprints as well as hang out with other pups.

Tips To Use A Dog Park, More Safely:

  • EARLY AM Go at off times, when it is not crowded
  • OBSERVE Take a good look around the dog park when you arrive
  • REACT If anything feels off, leave
  • PAY ATTENTION Put away your phone, watch your dog, listen to the trees rustle, watch the sunlight flicker
  • MOVE AROUND Move while you are in the dog park - walk the path or perimeter to herd the dogs. They may not walk with you but this gives all dogs present a guide and keeps an energy of steady, controlled flow in the space. Your dog (and other dogs) will likely check in with you as you cruise around. BONUS: You will be getting those steps in.
  • REACT Again, if you feel any bad energy at any time, from dogs or people, leave
  • LISTEN TO YOUR DOG If your dog is giving you clear indication they are uncomfortable (whale eyes, foaming at the mouth, not wanting to stray from your side), leave

Are Dog Parks a Good Option?

If you can avoid dog parks because you have ample spots where your dog can run (as in a full-speed zoomies party) and you have opportunity for your dog to socialize with other dogs (some dogs are always better solo but most need socialization, just like people!) - avoid dog parks.

When a dog park is your dog’s only option to run and play - weigh the risks, be smart, and use at your (and your dog’s) own risk!

Where Are Dog Parks in Dallas?

Click HERE for a City of Dallas List of Dog Parks

There is also a phone number listed which you may call to find out the current status of whether  a dog park in Dallas is open, undergoing maintenance, etc!

Dog Park Alternatives

Another option to let your dog run free is to rent a backyard space for just your dog(s) or you could have a few friends with dogs you know play well together - for a dog playdate! A dog backyard rental service for this is SNIFFSPOT and prices range from about $4-25 per hour.

The content on this website is based on personal experience and researched information. Please note no one here is a professional vet, trainer, or behaviorist. Always consult your vet and trainer about what is best for your dog or cat and their mental & physical health!

There is a reason most trainers advise avoiding dog parks...
There is a reason most trainers advise avoiding dog parks...

Learn all about why dog parks can be risky for your dog and how to use them in the safest way.