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A dog park is a public park, typically fenced, where people and their dogs can play together. Similarly, a dog run is a smaller fenced area, created for the same use, that is often located within an existing park. As the names imply, these places offer dogs off-leash play areas where their owners can enjoy a park-like setting and the chance to socialize with other canines and their owners. Dog parks, which are somtimes managed by park users in conjunction with city or town officials, are being established all over the country and offer a wealth of benefits to dogs, dog owners, and the community as a whole.

Benefits to the community of an off-leash dog park:

  1. PUBLIC SAFETY - Designated areas for dogs and their owners reduces the likelihood that dogs will be let off-leash in other recreational areas where they could infringe on the rights of other park users.

  2. SOCIAL HUB FOR THE COMMUNITY - Dogs often help people break the ice, allowing people who share interests to socialize while exercising their dogs.  These interactions help heighbors get to know each other and to build a sense of community.

  3. PROMOTE RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERSHIP - All users will license their dogs, not only because the threat of a fine is greater in an off-leash area, but also because there is considerable social pressure for regular off-leash area users to do the right thing.  The social aspect enforces the basic rules of dog ownership such as cleaning up after one's dog and always controlling one's dog's behavior.

  4. MAKE DOGS BETTER MEMBERS OF THEIR COMMUNITY - These areas provide a centralized location for owner training, pet information, and veterinary services.

  5. DOG PIT STOP - People traveling through will have a safe place to take their dogs.  This makes our town more inviting to spend time in.

Benefits of an off-leash area to dog owners:

  1. Provide a public space that allows people to meet and form bonds in the community

  2. Allow people to have the pleasure of watching their dogs at play

  3. Contributes to the overall fitness of people by encouraging them to exercise with their dogs.]

Benefits of the off-leash parks to dogs:

  1. Studies have shown that dogs that exercise and allowed to run freely are not as aggressive towards people as dogs that are under-exercised.

  2. Allowing dogs to have an off-leash area socializes dogs and through experience will learn better communication to be less aggressive in each further encounter with other dogs.

  3. Improves mental state of dogs.  A tired dog is a good dog!

Other benefits:

Research shows that dogs are more than just companions.  They provide both physical and mental health benefits to their owners.  The importance of dogs in society has even helped spawn a new field of study, urban animal management, which aims to ensure that animals are taken care of in an urban environment.

Copyright 2005-2009 Sutherlin Dog Park PO Box 1609, Sutherlin, OR  97479