Should kids be allowed inside dog parks?
The answer to that question is “yes”, if the dog park has a separate playground area designed for children’s play.
Of course, exceptions are made for service/assistance dogs. Some municipal parks or private playgrounds will allow dogs in the same areas where kids are playing, provided they are well-behaved and the owners pick up the dog’s mess.
At No Fault, we are noticing that some dog parks are now adding children’s playgrounds to the park design, and we think it is a great idea! In 2019, we installed our No Fault Safety Surface for a new playground at Keysville Dog Park in the City of Deltona, Florida. Our customer wanted a colorful and accessible playground that all children could enjoy. Mark Manning, Assistant Director for Parks & Recreation, said they were very happy with the finished playground product, and planned to make our color scheme a “standard playground design” for all the park playgrounds in Deltona. So now, the whole family (parents, children, and their dogs) can enjoy a day at their local dog park!
Photos of the playground at Keysville Dog Park, Deltona, Florida:
Benefits of Dog Parks
If your community does not have a dog park, you may not know that they have become very common. The American Veterinary Medical Association says more than a third of all U.S. households have one or more dogs. As leash laws get more and more restrictive, those dog owners are working with community parks and recreation departments to give their dogs places to roam free.
While any park that allows dogs could be called a dog park, a true “dog park” has specific canine-friendly amenities designed to encourage off-leash cavorting. These might include double gates which allow dogs to enter and exit safely. There might be separate areas for large and small dogs to exercise and socialize. And of course, dog waste stations which are “must-haves” for keeping the park clean.
Public dog parks allow off-leash exercise and social activity with other dogs. When dogs get physical exercise and social interaction, the owners notice improvements in their pets’ behavior, mood, and health.
It’s great to be able to bring both children and their dogs to enjoy a day at the park together!
Dog Parks – Are They Safe For Kids?
Dog parks promote safety because the dogs are not running and tussling throughout the streets. There is always the risk of small fights or play becomes too rough among pups, so introducing children into the mix is something that should be done with care and caution.
The nice thing about having a playground within a dog park is that you can keep your eye on both your child and your canine “child” while they enjoy their playtime in separated areas!
If your child happens to venture into the dog park area, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Dogs can be spooked by small children. Never assume that it is okay for your child to “pet the doggy.”
- Herding dogs, in particular, often have a desire to herd small children. That’s another reason to keep your child near you. You don’t want a 60-lb collie body-checking your toddler just because he wandered too far away from you!
- Small children make funny noises and sometimes move in a jerky, uncertain manner. This can frighten dogs. Be mindful of any behavior in your child that can be seen as threatening towards the animals for the protection of both your child and the dog.
Tips for Dog Owners
If you are taking your dog to a dog park where children may be present, here are a few things to remember:
Take the leash off in the park. New dog owners often prefer to keep their dog on a leash. They think it’ll be easier to control their dog. However, there are a few reasons this is a bad idea in a dog park, especially with children around. These reasons include:
- A leashed dog is a tripping hazard for children.
- Dogs on leashes can feel more insecure and protective of their owner.
- Retractable leashes (which trainers don’t recommend) are especially dangerous, since a dog who feels unrestrained can injure itself.
- A choke chain, gentle leader, or harness can mean injuries or even an escalated dog fight if the dogs get tangled together.
Exercise your dog before you leave home. Here’s something to remember ESPECIALLY if children are around. You may take your dog to the park for exercise, but dedicated dog parks are more for socialization. If your dog has been pent up for hours, suddenly introducing him or her into a stimulating environment is asking for trouble.
So, before you head to the dog park, let them romp for a few minutes in the yard first!
No Fault can help you design your park/dog park playground!
Our Regional Account Managers are great at designing colorful park playground areas that are accessible to all children to meet your needs/theme. And we work with playground equipment Reps all throughout the United States who provide state-of-the art and inclusive play equipment to complement our rubber safety surfacing. Contact us today so we can assist you in creating the perfect play area within your local park and/or dog park.