Dog Park Pros and Cons taken from the American Pet Dog Trainer Website

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers is an organization that was created to educate its members, the public, and other pet-care related industries in the proper management of pet dogs. A dog park can be an asset or a detriment to a community. The goal of this document is to provide, in outline format, a compilation of the advantages, disadvantages, and things to think about for communities and/or the individuals to consider regarding dog park development.


Dog Socialization Advantages
Excellent source of dog-dog social interaction
Excellent source of dog-people social interaction
People Socialization Advantages
Excellent source of people-people social interaction
Dog-oriented people can meet and interact
Doggy play dates can be arranged
Physical and Mental Stimulation Advantages
Excellent source of off-leash exercise for active dogs
Dog parks allow dogs to get adequate physical and mental exercise, thereby lessening destructive and annoying behaviors in general which can benefit society as a whole
Educational Advantages
Good opportunity for owners to learn about dogs through observation and provides the opportunity to learn from more experienced owners
Opportunity for well-mannered-dog advocates to demonstrate how they turned their dog into a well-mannered dog
Community Advantages
Dog parks which are designed for dogs only, lessen the chance of owners letting their dogs off-leash in on-leash parks
No cars, rollerbladers, skateboarders, bikes, etc. likely to be encountered
More likely to encounter people who enjoy dogs
Could provide location for community dog activities


For People
Potential of danger from aggressive dogs
Potential of danger of physical injury from dog-related hazards
Potential of lawsuits arising from dog fights
Potential for parasites
For Dogs
Potential of danger from aggressive dogs
Intact dogs may create problems
Potential for parasites and disease
Potential for lack of impulse control and over-excitement
Not appropriate for small and large dogs at the same time
Potential for injury
For the Community
Some people will not understand the concept and will abuse the park
Won’t pick up after their dog
May leave dog unattended
Allow their dog to indulge in inappropriate behavior
Some people will not be educated enough about their dogs to know if a dog park is appropriate for their dog
Potential for noise
Potential liability issues

Things to consider:

City, County or Municipality Sponsored Park
Responsible Pet Ownership – Who will maintain the park?
Will maintenance cost more than for other community parks?
Will there be rules and regulations?
Will there be any type of overseer or park personnel to enforce regulations
Is there the possibility of a core group of volunteers who will maintain the park and enforce rules & regulations?
Private Park
Knowledgeable person/business could charge for admission and establish rules and regulations
Small Dogs
Separate hours exclusively for dogs under 20 lbs.
A separate, fenced area of the park for dogs under 20 lbs
A city, county or municipality sponsored park could have special interest areas dedicated to dogs as is now done with soccer fields, swimming pools or tennis courts
The park could charge a nominal fee to take care of maintenance costs
Consider having parks monitored by a core group of park goers to save the city funds
Physical design also plays a big part. Separating big dogs from little and providing several gathering spots for humans (tables, shelters etc) and visual barriers helps direct the flow of the dogs.
A written and posted set of rules with an ‘if….then you must leave’ clause is important
Bringing treats or toys into a park can result in problems (Some dogs will attempt to protect valued resources. An owner with treats or toys can be a very valuable resource so fights could occur over such objects of desire)
A park with several long fenced runs where owners could practice obedience, play frisbee, throw a ball etc undisturbed might be a practical idea. The owner could take all of their dogs or one and if they wanted a play date with others they would meet there or mutually agree. This park would have timers on the runs and each person or group would get 15 minutes and then it would be the next persons turn if there was someone waiting. The timer might require money to unlock the gate.