Dog Parks In Progressive Communities

Dog parks are often found in communities that recognize the benefits of socialization and exercise both for owners and their dogs.  Dogs that are “raised” in dog parks tend to be better-socialized pets, as they come into frequent and regular contact with other people and dogs.  Dogs that are exercised also tend to be less aggressive.  This applies to owners as well!

I moved to Hays, KS from Santa Cruz, CA two years ago.  Upon my arrival here, I realized how much I missed the Santa Cruz dog park and the opportunity to get outdoors with my briard, Ollie.  Until Hays, I had taken my dog to a dog park since he was a pup.  He would run and play with other dogs, while I would speak with dog owners.  It was great fun to see all kinds of dogs- mixed breeds as well as various pure breeds.  Ollie and I made numerous friends.  It was a positive experience for both of us.

A dog park can begin very simply- all you need are dogs, owners, and a meeting place.  Of course, an ideal meeting place would be large, shaded-in-summer, and fenced in.   In Santa Cruz, we would bring water for our dogs and plastic bags to pick up after them.  The Parks Commission supplied garbage cans and emptied them daily.  We also had some benches and a message board.  The message board allowed for postings of lost pets, pets for adoption, upcoming events, etc.

Our dog park hosted annual events, such as a Halloween costume parade.  This became a wonderful family event, with children dressing up and parading their dogs.  My favorite costume was the “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, where an australian shepherd paraded in  a sheepskin!  My other briard, Grizzly, wore a sparkly cape that day.  I recall dogs wearing tutus, hats, and clothes.

I now have a 5 month old Berger Picard puppy named “Luna”.  I find that socializing her is much more difficult here in Hays, as there are not many dog-friendly venues.  I am currently looking for individuals with dogs and puppies for her and Ollie to play with.  Finding owners and meeting places has been challenging. 

 I hope that we can add a dog park to our growing list of activities in Hays.  Perhaps dog training classes can be taught there, with puppy classes and agility training.  Perhaps the Humane Society could show pets that are available for adoption.  Perhaps a business would be interested in having a dog-friendly cafe on or near the premises, which would provide fresh water for dogs and coffee for their owners.  

 We can start slowly and build from there.  We hope to hear from any dog lovers out there!!

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3 Responses

  1. Thanks lesbergers for your story contribution!

  2. I’ve met Luna and Ollie with my pup Lucy. I’m trying to coordinate Saturday’s with Boxers, but I would like to see anyone that would like to bring their larger sized dogs out. Since Boxers are a wee bit rough and tumble when they play.

  3. Where do you plan to hold these meeting (since we don’t have a designated dog park here in Hays yet!). This does seem like the perfect reason to have a dog park–to socialize our dogs.

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