Posts Tagged ‘dog park’

Oh My Gourd, It’s Fall! Outdoor Adventures with Your Pup

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

OMG = Oh, My Gourd! We know it can be hard to say goodbye to summer, but we have a secret: Fall is the BEST season if you’re a dog lover! From frolicking in leaf piles, Halloween costumes, and pumpkin spice everything, read on to find out how to make the most of the season and embark on some fun outdoor adventures with your pup!

Outdoor Adventures

Fall is the best time of year to take Fido on an outdoor adventure! Before the weather turns cold why not do some camping, hiking, or fishing with your pup? Before you embark, make sure to search Bring Fido for trails and campgrounds in your area that allow pets. And don’t forget to bring food, water, emergency supplies, and blankets! You’ll love admiring the gorgeous fall leaves and your dog will have a blast playing in them. For an outing the whole family will enjoy, visit a local pumpkin patch or apple farm! Many of them are pet-friendly.

Dogoween

Is there anything cuter than a costumed dog? We don’t think so! No matter if it’s a ghoulish Greyhound, a princess Pug, or a Catahoula cowboy, dressed up dogs show off your creativity and your dogs furr-sonality. There are a ton of off the rack costumes available this time of year, or you can go the DIY route and create a costume from your own imagination! Check to see if your town has a dog Halloween event such as a parade, costume contest, or fundraiser for a local dog park. Also considering hosting your own Dogoween party with friends and family. If your dog has a comfortable costume, he would love to tag along trick or treating with the kids!

Pumpkin Time

One of the best parts of fall for us people is cozying up to a pumpkin spice latte…while also eating a slice of pumpkin pie and carving a Jack-O-Lantern! Why not include your dog in all the pumpkin goodness? Pumpkin is not only delicious, but tremendously healthy for your pooch. It packs a nutritious punch with beta-carotene and vitamins E, C and B, and also boasts a healthy amount of dietary fiber. Pumpkin is great for your dog’s digestive health, keeping them regular and helping with any loose stool issues they may be suffering from. Make your pup’s day by with their very own puppacino! Simply serve them 1/3 cup canned pumpkin with a dollop of whipped cream on top. You can also make these easy DIY Pumpkin Spice Dog Treats, which will have your dogs tail wagging all the way through Autumn. Happy adventuring!

Pawty Time: Dog Park Fundraising

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

Whether you’re raising money for a brand-new dog park or would like to make improvements to an existing park, there are tons of fun ideas for dog park fundraising! All pet owners want a safe place for their pups to socialize and the right kind of event can rally an entire community.  Here are some ideas sure to get tails wagging and people smiling…and donating!

Costume Contests

“Use the Force, Luke!”

What’s better than a dog in a costume? Lots of dogs in costumes! No matter what time of year, costume contests are a fun way to get involved and dress their pups in wild outfits. You can monetize the contest by suggesting a donation upon entry and giving away prizes donated by local businesses. Add to the excitement by inviting notable people in your community to judge!

Dirty Dogs!

“Splish splash I was takin’ a bath!”

Ask any pet parent, and they’ll tell you bath time can be a challenge. Not many of us like to get sudsy with our dogs, even though we love having a clean pooch in the house. Why not capitalize on this and include a dog wash at your event? Contact mobile groomers in your area and ask them if they would like to volunteer their services or be an event sponsor. This idea is of course geared for warmer months, so nobody gets the post bath shivers!

C Is For Cookie

“I’ll be the official taste tester”

One thing that humans and dogs have in common is our shared love of food! We can’t get enough chocolate chip cookies, and our pups go bananas over liver and other stinky treats. Please everyone at your fundraiser with goodies for humans and dogs. This gives you two sources of revenue for your new park! You can either call on talented bakers in your organization or recruit human and dog bakeries to donate. Make sure to keep the dog and people treats separate to avoid any unexpected vet bills!

Ruff Raffle

Wine for the win!

A dog themed raffle or silent auction is a great way to get fundraiser attendees to open their wallets for your dog park. For a silent auction, you can offer goods and services (dog walking, grooming, photography, pet massage, etc) donated by local businesses and sponsors. It’s a good idea to have items at different price points so anyone can participate regardless of budget. Gift baskets are also a popular choice, and they can be filled with gourmet food/wine, pet-specific products, event tickets or spa/hotel getaways.

New Kid on the Block: Tips for introducing a dog into your family

Monday, July 29th, 2019

Whether you’re adopting a puppy or an adult dog, nothing is more exciting than bringing a new furry friend home! If you live with other dogs, remember that first introductions matter. How you introduce your new dog to your established pack can have a lasting effect on their relationship. These tips are designed to help integrate your new pup to the pack in a way that will reduce stress for everyone (human and canine alike).

Find Switzerland: Introduce Your Dogs on Neutral Ground

Before making introductions, bring home an item that smells like the newbie for your established dogs to sniff. Maybe it’s a toy, or a piece of clothing that your new dog has been in contact with. By smelling the new pup first, your current dogs can familiarize themselves with their smell and recognize it when they are all introduced! Arrange their first meeting at a neutral location. By meeting somewhere like a dog park or a Sniffspot, nobody will feel like their territory is being threatened, and their first interaction is more likely to go smoothly.

Leash all the dogs meeting each other, and walk them together with about 10 feet of spacing between. This helps to get them used to one another without the stress of a “forced” meeting. Once the walk is done, take the pups to an open area and let them sniff each other for a few moments leaving the leashes on and loose. Remain upbeat and positive through the whole introduction process. Lastly, reward them like crazy so they associate the new dog in their pack as a good thing. If you see any type of aggressive or fearful reactions, separate them and get each dog to focus on the person they are with. You can try another introduction later and be sure to always end on a positive note!

There’s No Place Like Home

Once the dogs have met on neutral turf, it’s time to bring your new pooch home! This can be a pretty scary experience, so to help make things easier on him, bring him home to an empty house (get a friend to watch your other dogs for an hour or so). Also, put away any food, toys, and bedding that belongs to your other dogs. If you have adopted a puppy, be sure to puppy proof your home!  Bring Fido in on a leash, and spend some time walking him around the house and yard so he can get familiar with his new home.

After some time, you can let him off leash to freely explore but keep an eye on him at to make sure he’s not getting into anything he shouldn’t. That’s directed at you, Labradors! After he’s finished the tour, bring your other dogs home and re-introduce them out in the yard first. Even if they’re getting along, keep food and toys separate for the first several days as mingling these items can trigger territorial aggression.

Make sure your new pup isn’t feeling overwhelmed by giving him alone time from your other pets. This could mean time in another room, a crate, or on a solo walk with you. Also be sure to monitor each dog’s body language for the first week to make sure everyone is having a positive time and not displaying aggression or fear. If things between your pack are tense at first, no need to panic! Experts say that it can take up to a month to work out the kinks of their new relationship. If you do notice any signs of aggressive behavior, keep periods of interaction brief. Halt any escalations with a firm, consistent command and then separate them for a short period. When they behave well together praise them equally.  You can also bring in the help of a dog trainer to aid in the transition. With time, training, and praise, your new and established dogs will create a new pack hierarchy, and have their own very special bond!

Dog Behavior: The good ,the bad and the weird

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Even though dogs are our best friends, it’s time to recognize something. They are total weirdos. Dogs are infamous for some very strange behavior like sniffing butts, humping legs, chasing their tails, and eating poop. There’s no doubt that you’ll recognize some of the wacky traits listed below, so let’s figure out the logic behind some of our best friend’s more quirky dog behaviors.

Butt Sniffing

“Hello? Anyone home?”

Butt sniffing may seem crazy to us, but it’s a source of *very* valuable information for your pup. Unlike humans, a dogs’ primary sense is smell. Their little snouts are about 100,000 stronger than our human noses. They can even smell from each nostril separately! Think of butt sniffing as dogs exchanging business cards with each other; their anal glands excrete scents that hold key information that is instantly translated through scent. Just by a brief butt sniffing session, your dog can find out their new friends’ gender, health and reproductive status, temperament, and what foods they eat regularly.  So rather than be grossed out the next time you see your dog and another dog greet each other with some butt sniffing, be amazed at how much they’re learning about each other!

Dining on Doo Doo

Oh, the shame!

Poop eating is truly the most bizarre and yuck inducing behaviors a dog can exhibit. The worst part is that after they’ve indulged, they usually want to lick your face – ugh! Thanks, but no thanks! What on earth would compel your cute, beloved, snuggly friend to eat poop? The scientific name for this disgusting phenomenon is coprophagia. A recent study by veterinarian Benjamin Hart at the University of California discovered that 16% of dogs are habitual poop eaters, and 24% of dogs are rare to occasional poop eaters. Poop eating is normal in puppyhood, but if the behavior is not addressed it may carry on throughout a dog’s entire life. There are health issues that could prompt a dog to eat feces such as poor digestion and plain old hunger. If a dog has poor digestion, the food may come out in a very similar way to how it went in, prompting a dog to have dinner, version 2.0. Parasites can also take nutrients from their food, so Fido may opt to eat anything he can get his paws on to feel full. If you suspect your dog is eating poop due to a health condition, contact your vet right away.

Tail Chasing

I’m gonna get you…someday!

Tails are just plain entertaining for humans and dogs alike! For a playful pup, seeing a fluffy tail (even one that’s on his own body) may just be too fun to resist. Often chased, though seldom caught, tail chasing is usually just a dog burning off excess playful energy.  It’s like your dog is twiddling his thumbs! Tail chasing can be a genetic predisposition in breeds such as German Shepherds, Bull Terriers, and Dobermans. Just like us humans, dogs can develop obsessive compulsive disorders. One common display of OCD is wait for it, compulsive tail chasing. If you notice that your dog seems fixated on chasing his tail rather than playful, seek help from a canine behaviorist. They can use behavior modification training and anti-depressants (if necessary!) to help stop compulsions.

Humping

Get a room!

Is your dog being physically amorous with other dogs at the park? How about with inanimate objects, or worse…your leg? What exactly is causing this blush inducing behavior? If you have a humper at home, know that you’re in good company. It’s a common issue, and one that may not need to be addressed. First, it’s important to understand that both male and female dogs hump. Spayed and neutered dogs may hump as well, and though dogs under the age of one are more frequent humpers, many dogs don’t age out of this behavior. The first reason for humping is a sexual impulse. Whether it’s another dog, your leg, or a pillow, dogs will hump any dang thing for sexual gratification. Dogs of both sexes (especially those whom have not been fixed) can begin humping when they start reaching sexual maturity. Female dogs in heat are will hump another dog of either gender to signal mating. It’s vital to spay and neuter your pet to not only cut down on the humping tendencies but prevent successful mating. Usually dogs aren’t emulating mating behavior when they hump. The ol’ bump and grind can be caused by nonsexual arousal (caused by stress or boredom), and play is another reason that dogs hump each other, which should be totally acceptable if both dogs are fine with it. You should intervene if one of the dogs looks annoyed or is being overpowered by the humper. Social dominance is another reason that dogs hump each other. It’s a vital part of establishing the pecking order within a pack, and to test the submissiveness of another dog. If your dog compulsively humps, a canine behaviorist can help find the cause and help calm your little Romeo down.

Woof on the Roof: Rooftop Dog Parks

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Bright Parks, Big City!

City dogs may be a sophisticated bunch, but just like their friends in the ‘burbs, they need space to play! A walk through the concrete jungle is fun, but what’s an urban dog to do when the hankering to fetch a ball takes hold? City dwelling dogs are on the rise and apartment communities are catering to them in a big way. Property management companies know that pet friendly amenities are a huge draw for prospective residents. They are catering to this furry niche by offering doggy welcome gifts, events and dog spas. But even if Rex is living the high life in a penthouse apartment, space can be hard to come by. Thankfully, rooftop dog parks are the perfect antidote! They provide a much needed outlet for our furry friends while also giving residents a safe, secure place to relieve their pets 24/7.

Space: The Furry Frontier

Property management companies have to get creative when it comes to offering pet perks. One of the smartest tactics in urban communities is converting underutilized rooftop or terrace spaces into bark parks. We’re often asked about the amount of space needed for a rooftop dog park. The short answer: it depends! Even when dealing with limited square footage, most communities will have room for a pet relief kit and a grooming station. For larger areas, additional amenities like seating, fountains, shade, and agility components can turn your rooftop into a first class dog park with an amazing view! When designing your park, amenity placement is key. You’ll need enough room between components for dogs to safely run and play. It’s also important to consider any resident events you plan on hosting such as Yappy hours. Park Chelsea at the Collective, a 429-unit luxury building in Washington DC, chose play components with custom portable bases to provide flexibility. This allows their residents to rearrange the agility course for an added challenge and to store the equipment when more room is needed for events.

Surfacing Solutions

One of a dog’s favorite things about going to the park is running on grass! Since real grass isn’t exactly a great fit for rooftops, we have another option that is attractive year-round and offers the ease of low maintenance. Our popular Turf Pods are a portable system designed specifically for hard surfaces like cement, asphalt, or decking. With antimicrobial agents that reduce odor and elevated tiles that provide aeration and drainage, these are a perfect solution. Turf pods come in standard 36”x 48” squares that snug together using the park’s perimeter/wall and can be moved for easy cleaning underneath and to help manage wear.  Unlike traditional roll turf, the pods don’t require professional installation and are a much more affordable option.

Features for Fido

Rooftop dog parks can go from “meh” to “wow” with the addition of the right features. Agility equipment keeps dogs engaged while burning off excess energy, and all dog parks benefit from a dog waste station to help keep the area clean. A fire hydrant is the canine equivalent of the office water cooler and adds a cute aesthetic to any dog park. If you and your pooch are easily parched, a human and dog drinking fountain is sure to cool you both off on hot summer days. There are so many options to turn an empty rooftop dog park into a place all dog residents will be barking to go!

Safety First!

Safety should be the top priority for all dog parks but is crucial component for a rooftop. It’s vital to have fencing or a barrier that is at least 5’ high. Double slats or a solid wall are also recommended so that smaller dogs can’t slip out. A double gated entry is also a good idea to ensure that dogs are safe on their way in and out of the park. A safe dog is a happy dog, and with just a few steps, your rooftop dog park can be a safe and inviting place for dogs to have the time of their lives!

Dog Agility 101

Monday, May 20th, 2019

Whether you and your pooch are just looking to have some fun at the dog park, or want to compete in agility competitions, first impressions to dog agility training are key. Dogs who are properly introduced to agility components are more likely to use them again and have fun! No matter what age, breed, weight, or temperament, agility can benefit your dog in so many ways! From increased focus, helping with behavior issues such as lack of confidence and/or anxiety, and creating a stronger bond between yourself and your dog through teamwork!

Start Slowly with Enthusiasm!

Fido’s first exposure to agility components should be extra fun and super positive! Now is not the time to worry about them perfecting their weave pole speed, or teeter totter skills, but rather a time for them to become acquainted with the idea of engaging with the components. Let your dog’s curiosity lead the way during the introduction; they will probably sniff the heck out of it, and possibly pee on it, which is a part of the “getting to know each other” process. If they interact with the agility components on their own (like walking though a Bow Wow Barrel without a prompt), give positive reinforcement through praise, pets, and treats. If your dog seems hesitant about the agility components, don’t rush them – rather praise and treat them when they go near the equipment. You want to encourage your dog to view these components as fun, and that they are rewarded by engaging with them.

Next Steps

Once your dog feels comfortable with agility components, its time to get moving! Trying out agility components may or may not happen on your dog’s first exposure; you be the judge of whether they’re ready or not. Depending on where you are (a dog park with agility components, your own backyard, or a dog agility facility), you’ll have to gauge potential distractions. Try to avoid a busy time of day when other dogs may distract your pup from using the agility pieces. Let’s break it down:

  1. Start with simple components, like a step up table or a single wall jump.  
  2. Use your dogs biggest motivator (treats, a toy, a tennis ball, verbal and physical praise, etc) to entice them through, over, under, or around the agility component.
  3. The first time around, you may want to leash your dog to help guide them (for example, if they were going to walk over a ramp or an A frame.  This will help your dog understand what they’re supposed to do, though you won’t need the leash for long. You may also guide them through the obstacle with treats or a toy.
  4. Once they’ve completed an agility event, praise and treat them like they are the best dog on earth (which they are)! Try each agility component for several minutes before moving on to the next. Be sure to take play breaks so their concentration doesn’t get overloaded. Learning new things is better when it’s fun!

Repeat Customer

Once your dog has a firm understanding of agility components, how can you help keep them interested and wanting to use them regularly? Depending on your dogs’ level of skill and interest, there are many ways to get keep them involved in agility. Got a naturally gifted canine athlete?  Join one of the many agility clubs across the country like USDAA, NADAC, or AKHA! These are serious and competitive organizations that can take a good agility athlete to the level of competitions. If you love how agility improves your dog’s behavior and crazy energy, but his skills need some improvement, find a local agility class. These are wonderful environments that will allow your dog to hone his skills, have fun and make new friends! Just think of how your pup will impress everyone at the dog park after a few classes! If you have a dog that isn’t at the level of classes or competition, keep going to the dog park and encouraging them to use the agility components. They may just surprise you with how fast they learn and progress!

Shy Dogs & Dog Parks

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

Shy dogs have a special place in our hearts! Anyone who has ever loved a dog will tell you that they absolutely have their own personalities and funny quirks.  Though their temperaments vary from pooch to pooch, shyness is a fairly common trait. It’s especially noticeable in dogs who have experienced abuse or poor socialization early in life. Rescue dogs are even more susceptible due to trauma associated with being in a noisy shelter, going from foster home to foster home and essentially a lack of stability.  For a shy pup, the dog park can be an overwhelming and scary place at first. Thankfully there are ways to safely introduce Fido to the dog park to ensure that they have a life filled with fun visits and play.

Signs your dog may be timid or shy:

If your family has recently adopted a dog and you’re unsure about their temperament, body language can help give you some insight into how they feel. If your dog exhibits some or all these traits, they may need some extra TLC and training:

  • Ears are flat against his head
  • Often in a cowering posture
  • Shies away from interactions with other dogs and/or people
  • Tucks his tail between his legs
  • Panting or shaking
  • Excessive yawning (a sign of stress)
  • Skulking, pacing, hiding, or escape attempt
  • Whining or barking
  • Raised hackles
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Nipping, biting, or sneering
  • Submissive urination

Dog Park Introduction Techniques

Basic Obedience: For safety purposes, every dog should respond to basic commands before visiting a dog park. Obedience training can be your best friend’s best friend here! If a shy dog knows exactly what you’re asking/expecting, he may be less likely to panic during a stressful situation. Start at home with simple commands such as “Sit,” “Stay,” and “Come”, and be sure to use lots of positive reinforcement!  Once your dog has mastered those commands indoors, try taking them outside where there are more distractions. Working closely with your dog will boost their confidence and give you peace of mind as well.

Additional Training: Sometimes a timid pup can overreact when they feel threatened or nervous.  This can be something such as anxious barking, but can also be more problematic if they resort to fear-based responses such as nipping or biting.  Fortunately, most reputable trainers offer classes and/or one-on-one sessions geared towards shy dogs.  These classes build upon basic obedience and focus on confidence building and strengthening the dog/guardian bond.

Doggy Playdates: If your dog is timid around other dogs, consider an at home playdate before introducing him to the dog park. The best BFF candidate is a calm and gentle dog who is confident around both people and pets. Not only is this a big step in socialization, but your dog will learn appropriate behavior just by being around a laid-back canine. If you don’t have any dogs like this in your life, ask a local dog trainer!  Many of them would love to bring a “canine mentor” to a training session or allow your dog to test out a day at doggy daycare where they can learn those same skills in a managed environment.

Practice Park Activities: Teach your dog games like “Fetch” and “Hide and Seek” at home or in your backyard. This not only gives your dog a chance to learn while playing, it also trains them for activities you’ll likely engage in at the dog park. Giving treats or using a clicker can help him focus on the positive and stay out of worry-wart mode.  It may sound simple but for a timid dog, just learning that they can initiate an interaction with a predictable outcome can make all the difference.

Putting it All Together: When it’s time to load your pup into the car and head to the park, start slowly.  That means doing some background research first: does your local park have a shy/senior dog section?  What are the slowest and busiest times (so you can plan accordingly)? Are there any reviews of the park from other park users that might be helpful? Can your dog trainer meet you there to provide an extra set of eyes?  Do everything you can to set your dog up for success, but be patient! It might take a few tries, or visiting a few different parks for the stars to line up.  And it’s possible that Fido just isn’t a dog park kind of dog, and that’s fine too!

Hopefully these tips will make the dog park a happier place for both you and your pup.  Woof!

 

 

Earth Day: Our Green Products and Practices

Friday, April 20th, 2018

The Pacific Northwest is well known for several things: abundant rain, fantastic coffee, grunge music, wearing socks with sandals, a love of green products (Happy 4/20!) and the great outdoors. Thankfully you won’t see many of us sporting socks with open-toed footwear, but the folks here at Dog-On-It-Parks love nature and believe in going above and beyond to be eco-friendly. We are proud to have a dedicated team that recycles all our manufacturing scrap, as well as using recycled materials in our manufacturing process. Every day we choose to make products that are safer for dogs and better for the environment.

Kermit Had It All Wrong:

It IS easy being green! When selecting materials, we always consider both durability and eco-friendliness, and aluminum is a clear winner in both categories. It is corrosion and rust proof, extremely durable, lighter weight than steel (makes for easier installation!) and can be recycled an unlimited number of times. The HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic in our products is also an ecological superstar. HDPE releases no harmful fumes, doesn’t contain BPA, phthalates, heavy metals or allergens, and uses 100% post-consumer waste products. Did you know that over 115 million milk jugs are recycled each year in the making of recycled plastic and that it tales about 21 milk jugs to create just one pound of HDPE?  A few examples of our products that use both materials are our Hound Hurdles and Collie Crawl.

EcoDog:

Like the name suggests, our EcoDog line features materials you can feel good about.  Made from 100% recycled content, these products help keep plastic out of our landfills. We are proud knowing that the aluminum and heavy-duty HDPE used in EcoDog were once consumer waste, and now have a new life in our dog agility components!  Keeping in line with the natural theme, all the products are green with black accents and portable bases that don’t require concrete footers. These are ideal for seasonal dog parks as the components can be stored in the off season, and also for off-leash areas who want the flexibility of re-arranging their agility course.

Planet Friendly Fountains: 

It may come as a surprise to learn that stainless steel is a green product! Due to its ability to be recycled, as well as producing a low carbon footprint, stainless steel is the preferred material for green building throughout the world. Dog-On-It-Parks is proud to offer fountains that are manufactured with “Green Building” friendly stainless steel, containing 75% recycled material. We have 15 water fountains to choose from including dedicated dog-only units, eco-friendly bottle fillers, ADA Accessible options and much more. Even better? They all have affordable and easy flat rate shipping across the lower 48.

Good Human!: 

America’s 83 million pet dogs produce approximately 10.6 million tons of poop every year. Holy crap! Thankfully most pet owners take responsibility for picking up their dog’s waste, but depending on what kind of bag they use, they could be unknowingly harming the environment.  Many dog waste bags claim to be biodegradable, but the materials within them do not fully break down as they require very specific landfill conditions. Our Good Human poop bags are made from 100% recycled content and have minimal packaging for a small carbon footprint. They are also FTC Compliant per the new Green Guidelines. You care for the environment by picking up your dog’s waste, why not use a bag that helps Mother Earth even more?

Dog Parks Are For People Too!

Monday, April 9th, 2018

Dog parks are parks for people…with dogs!  Consider this: It’s a late Wednesday afternoon, and as soon as you get home from work, you greet your excited pup and head off to the dog park together. Though you’re tired from a long day, you want your 4-legged friend to have some time to exercise, enjoy the sunshine, and socialize with his furry pals. It’s important to you that your dog reap all the benefits of the dog park on a regular basis, but did you ever consider that it’s benefiting you as well? Read on…

Fresh Air – Truth: Most of us don’t get enough time outside in the fresh air. Between our jobs and hectic schedules, it can be challenging to get some quality outdoor time where you can feel the breeze on your face. While your dog plays, take a few moments to appreciate the great outdoors and take some deep, calming breaths. You’ll be amazed how a few lungfuls of oxygen can help with everyday stress. 

A New Hobby – More and more dog parks now feature agility equipment. If you and your pooch are looking for an exciting new hobby, train your dog to go through an agility course! You can work on improving time through the course, ignoring distractions, and working on advanced agility moves. Your dog will work hard mentally and physically, and you will get a kick out of how talented your dog really is. And just for some giggles, check out these dog agility bloopers.

Exercise – You know that exercise plays a vital role in the overall health of your dog, plus it makes him plain old happy. The same can be said for you! When you take a trip to the dog park with your best friend, take the opportunity to engage with him. By getting your heart rate up, you are taking care of your cardiovascular system and releasing endorphins at the same time.

Feel Good Hormones – Researchers have discovered that when we spend time with our pets, our bodies release a feel-good hormone called Oxytocin. This hormone played a key role in the bonded relationship we began with dogs thousands of years ago. So, while you’re playing fetch with your dog at the park, you’re releasing a hormone that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, and helps strengthen your bond with Fido that much more.

Socializing – Like us, dogs are very social creatures. They enjoy being part of a pack and love to greet every other dogs. They even “exchange business cards” by sniffing each other’s rear ends as they meet each other. Humans need socialization too, though it’s best you leave the rear ends of new friends alone.  If you make going to the dog park part of your lifestyle, you’ll inevitably start seeing some of the same people and get to know them and their dogs. Strangers become friends very quickly when you have dogs around to help break the ice.

A Change of Pace – Many of us are living hectic lifestyles in which we feel overworked and stressed. On top of that, we often spend too much time staring at electronic devices.  There is something to be said for unplugging. Dogs are the best teachers when it comes to living in the moment. Next time you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, head to the dog park and take 30 minutes with your best friend to unwind, unplug, and de-stress. You’ll feel refreshed and recharged when you head home!

Be the Wise Owl – Are you an amateur dog expert? If you have years of experience in training and caring for your own dogs, chances are you have invaluable tricks up your sleeves.  There are lots of new pet parents at the park, or even other folks like you, and it can be a fantastic opportunity to share resources and ideas.  You all may have answers when it comes to reputable veterinarians in the area, favorite chew toys, and basic obedience tips.

Giving Back – If you’re looking for a way to get involved in your community, dog parks are an excellent place to start. Many off-leash areas are run by volunteers who help with maintenance, clean up, and events. By volunteering, you’ll get to know similar minded people, and truly make a difference in your town. And if your community doesn’t have a dog park yet, consider starting your own group to fundraise and help improve the lives of people and their pets.

 

 

Grants: Help Make Your Dog Park Dreams Come True!

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

We believe every pup deserves a place to romp and play, and that every community should have a park that fits the needs of residents and pets alike. We also know the journey of seeing a dog park to completion can be a long one; between securing land and funding, the process can take years.  Fortunately, there are some dog park specific grants and contests to help make the road a little less bumpy. These organizations are committed to helping communities just like yours create dog parks that will make tails wag and people smile. Keep reading for both national and regional opportunities, and be sure to check the application requirements and deadlines.  Good luck!

Nutro Room to Run

The Nutro Room to Run program supports public, non-profit dog parks and off-leash areas. Since 2010, the program has helped enhance over 120 dog parks and committed more than 4,000 volunteer hours across North America. Projects included landscaping and adding trees and other shade structures, as well as adding benches, agility equipment, signage and more for the enjoyment of pets and pet parents. Check their website for more info.

Doris Day Animal Foundation

The Doris Day Animal Foundation (DDAF) is a national nonprofit founded in 1978 by legendary performer Doris Day. Forty years later, their mission continues: to help animals and the people who love them.  As a grant-giving charity, DDAF funds other 501(c)(3) organizations across the US, including community dog parks. They evaluate applications quarterly, with submissions accepted during January, April, July, and October. Click here for grant guidelines and information.

PetSafe Bark for Your Park

  • Through the annual Bark for Your Park competition, PetSafe helps 25 communities across America build and revitalize dog parks. Like applying for grants, there is some information required to enter, so you’ll need:
  •  A letter from a civic leader showing support for your project
  • Photos of your future location or current off-leash dog park
  • Blueprints of your ideal dog park (be sure to include agility components!)
  • A summary of how your community would benefit from the park 
  • Ways your community has shown support for a dog park.  Interested in more info?  Click here. 

Beneful Dream Dog Park Project 

Beneful demonstrates its passion for dog parks by lending a paw to support more than a dozen communities each year. Through its Beneful Dream Dog Park Project, the team provides financial support, hands-on volunteerism and a variety of new resources to share the dog park love. Get the Beneful scoop here. Please keep in mind that eligible parks must be free and open to the public!

The Stanton Foundation

Calling all Massachusetts residents! As part of its mission of encouraging positive dog/human relationships, the Stanton Foundation supports the development of enclosed dog parks in the Commonwealth of MA. This support takes the form of a series of grants to support park design, construction, and capital improvements. Click here to view contribution and application requirements.


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