The benefits of well-designed dog parks for communities

benefits of well-designed dog parks

Pets play an important part in our lives. Research shows that pets can help improve a person’s mental and physical health, reduce the effects of stress, facilitate social interaction between people and build a sense of community.[1]

Catherine Park’s latest land release, the Kensington release, features an off-leash dog park for residents and the community.

Dogs were born to lead active, social lives. Most pet dogs nowadays spend the majority of their time at home, napping and eating. Many dogs can become bored, lonely, and overweight. When they have excess energy and no way to expend it, it’s not surprising that they often come up with activities on their own, like ruining couches, and gnawing on shoes.[2]

To keep your dog happy, healthy and out of trouble, it is important to find ways to exercise their brain and body.

"Australia has one of the highest rates of dog ownership in the world with 36% of households owning a dog," says Dr Susan Hazel, lecturer in animal behaviour, welfare and ethics at Adelaide University's School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences "[Over the years] it has become more difficult to exercise dogs safely off the leash while still keeping them under effective control.

"Dogs that are well socialised and exercised are likely to be healthier, happier and less aggressive. Designated off-leash dog areas provide a safe community setting where dogs can play."[3]

We naturally tend to assume that off-leash parks are primarily for the benefit of our beloved dogs, but experienced dog park users know better. Off-leash parks offer just as many benefits to humans as they do to dogs: both to dog guardians as well as the wider community.[4] They can exercise their dogs without much effort, socialise with other dog lovers, bond, and play with their animals, practice their off-leash training skills, and enjoy the entertaining antics of their frolicking four-legged friends[5]

A visit to a dog park can benefit both you and your pet. If you enjoy fresh air, exercise, meeting people, and watching dogs at play - consider making it a habit

[1] Australian Companion Animal Council, 2010; Petcare Information and Advisory Service, 2012

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