Dog Park Tips: How to Choose the Best Dog Park or Leash-Free Area

Chloe loves the leash-free area we take her to close to our house – it’s several acres of natural green space and trails in a provincial park. We buy an annual pass to the park each year mainly to use the leash-free area. Chloe knows the area like the back of her paw, and her energy level and spark pick right up as soon as she arrives.

I made this video about dog park tips for another project earlier this summer, but with fall just around the corner, it’s a great time of year to get out and enjoy the dog parks and leash-free areas in your neighbourhood! A few things to keep in mind when watching:

  1. I am not a dog/dog behaviour expert. These are tips that I’ve picked up from experience using our local leash-free area and from other experts in dog training/behaviour.
  2. Chloe and I don’t visit enclosed dog parks. Some dogs really enjoy these parks, but the number of dogs and smaller enclosed space is stressful for Chloe. It’s important to understand your dog and assess if city/neighbourhood dog parks are a good option for you. Consider the signs your dog displays if he/she is anxious, what he/she is like around other strange dogs and what your dog’s general personality is like (ie. is your dog shy, reactionary, etc.). Be attentive and keep an eye on your dog, and remember, dog parks aren’t for every dog!
  3. I am a dork – there is a reason I didn’t choose a career in broadcasting! Chloe, however, is a natural on-camera personality.

When we first got Chloe, we weren’t sure how to choose a dog park or leash-free area, or what made one park better than another. Over time, as we got to know her, we understood her need for space between her and other dogs, and how much she loved to run and explore without other dogs chasing her.

In the video I cover six dog park tips to help you choose a dog park or leash-free area. Not all areas will have all six, but try to find one that includes most for the best experience!

How to Choose a Dog Park or Leash-Free Area

Special credit goes to Dougie, another golden we met at the park during filming – he’s a very young dog with totally different energy than Chloe, but after understanding that Chloe isn’t a “play” dog, the two got along just fine!

Have fun on your next outing!

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