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Discussion Starter #1
My neighborhood is talking about putting in a dog park. My neighbor is leading the charge and as the HOA VP is in a great position to do so.

Thus far we have the commitment of $10k from neighborhood dog owners to subsidize the park if the HOA won't fund it. We own the land, and we have a great deal of support.

While we're waiting for approval, I'm trying to see if there's anything we're forgetting.

It'll be a small park, 100 feet by 250 feet. We're planning on four benches, two trash cans, two dog bag dispensers, a double gated entry, billboards with rules (including that this is only for those who live in the neighborhood) and we're considering an area for smaller dogs, but don't know how to split it up.

A few questions I have-
-Is there a godo resource for building a dog park?
-How do you set a dog limit? (so many square feet per dog? Guessing?)
-What would be a good divide to break up smaller and larger dogs?
-What would I never have thought of in building a dog park?

Currently we use two of the neighborhood tennis courts, but dogs can't play long as it tears up their feet and we'll lose that as the temps come up again.
 

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The best thing you could do is require a membership, and to get the membership you have to pay a small fee like $5 a year(or more depending on the funds you might need), and then your dog also has to pass a temperament test. That's what the charge would go toward, taking the test and being able to pay who did the test for their time.

I go to my local dog park and all the time, and the biggest problem is the people that bring their dog to see how they'll do in a group of dogs, or they don't know, so it's always these people that just come to check things out every once in a while. I think if those people had to take time and get a test done, and then pay a fee on top of that, then they wouldn't be coming.

You'd have more people that are there for their dog and the park is something that they'll respect.

A dog limit isn't probably you something really need to be worried about, but more of dogs per owner. I've seen so many times someone bring in 3 dogs, and the three dogs go around and beat up on another dog, they single him out and then they just get too excited and it starts to get bad. One person can't control 3 dogs in an instance where it's needed like that...I think 2 dogs max per person should be the limit, so if someone had 3 dogs they'd have to bring a friend or someone to be allowed to watch one of her 3.

There's a couple people that bring 4 dogs all the time, and when it's one of those busy nights you've already got a lot of dogs there. Then 4 more dogs walk in and the people to dog ratio is just insane

Also, at my dog park probably about 2/3, maybe 3/4 of the area is for the big dogs, and the rest is for small dogs.

One of the things I don't like about my dog park...They have a shaded area at the front, and the base is concrete. So many dogs run to the front of the park and then go to stop but they're on concrete and they just fall, and then a lot of times people stand up there, so you've got dog sliding into people, and then dogs tackling each other on the concrete landing right on their backs. The concrete just seemed like a stupid idea to me...

You didn't mention any type of water source, you're gonna need like a hose or a water fountain, and then buckets for the water.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
A temperament test isn't a bad idea.

We currently don't have the funding to get a water spigot and most area parks require you bring your own water. Since this is at most two blocks from everyone's house we're hoping that won't be an issue. A water spigot might be a year two thing.
 

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Shade. You must have it for dogs an people in the summertime.

Forget temperament test. It simply isn't practical.

The biggest problem for most dog parks is to few people and dogs, not too many. Regular dog park users want to go there knowing their doggie and people friends will be there. No one likes an empty park.

Memberships are more bother then they are worth. If you park gets so popular that it become regularly over crowded, then you might want to consider it.

I you have a grass surface and your park becomes popular, the grass will be history. Plan for that. Wood chips are the cheapest option.

Have a board of directors and invite as many people as you can to participate in board meetings. Try to have at least one board member at the park whenever possible to enforce rules, but don't be a Nazi. If the little kid or the unneutered dog is well behaved, leave them alone.

Set up a website and a bulletin board and make it easy for people to make donation via pay-pal.

If you have running water, you're going to have mud. Plan your drainage system well.

A small dog section is a must.
 

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Our community dog park (its for my housing community and each community has one on post but is also open to public I think) doesn't have a water source, they tell you to bring your own...which also isn't hard to do, I walk the half mile to the dog park with my dogs and bring a bottle of water. We don't have shade or anywhere to sit (which would have been nice) and when I go I'm the only one there...but I prefer that for Lily, just in case. We do have a double gated area, poo bags in a dispenser, and what they did was fence it off down the center and one side is for small dogs and one for large. I'll see if I can get a picture the next time I drive by, I haven't been in awhile because of the weather. Maybe that will give you some ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well the membership will be housing community only. We don't have the space or money to build a large parking lot nor do we want to have just anyone stroll in. We are going to give out tags to any resident dog owner and ask anyone without one to show proof of residence or leave.

Our community is very social and extremely dog friendly and we see this as a plus. I hate to discourage nonresidents from coming, but we live in Northern Virginia with hundreds of thousands of people within a 20 minute drive.
 

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If you have running water, you're going to have mud. Plan your drainage system well.
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I'd say having good drainage is one of the more important things. During the summer you really don't want a bunch of standing rain, people won't want to come, and dogs will have a pretty big chance of getting worms.
 

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Be sure to check with city/locality ordinances. You may also be able to get city funding, or you might need the city to make sure the dogs are up-to-date on vaccinations and registration.

Also you might need to establish a way to monitor the park, or get keys to all HOA members with dogs who want to use it. The park in Richmond was not monitored, and that dog park was skanky. Fleas everywhere, crazy dogs, dog fights... it was a mess.
 

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Well the membership will be housing community only. We don't have the space or money to build a large parking lot nor do we want to have just anyone stroll in. We are going to give out tags to any resident dog owner and ask anyone without one to show proof of residence or leave.

Our community is very social and extremely dog friendly and we see this as a plus. I hate to discourage nonresidents from coming, but we live in Northern Virginia with hundreds of thousands of people within a 20 minute drive.
MY 1.5 acre dog park serves an urban community of 10,000 plus a major university. Even then it is only full on the nicest of weekends.

My previous town-home community built a half acre dog park with agility equipment for 600 units. In the entire 2 years I was there, I saw it in use maybe twice. I didn't go because I knew it would be empty.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Be sure to check with city/locality ordinances. You may also be able to get city funding, or you might need the city to make sure the dogs are up-to-date on vaccinations and registration.
City won't help fund it as it will be private access. It's also on private land so it's ruled as a private play ground. The city has given up carte blanche to do whatever so long as we indicate that it's private property.
 

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I would recommend a minimum 6 ft fence. Back when we were still going to DP's I stayed out of a lot of them because they only had 4 ft fences -- pretty worthless for large breed dogs. Especially if it's going to be in the community itself - you don't want dogs jumping the fence and running loose around the neighborhood (like mine would do with a tiny 4 ft fence!).
 

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I would recommend a minimum 6 ft fence. Back when we were still going to DP's I stayed out of a lot of them because they only had 4 ft fences -- pretty worthless for large breed dogs. Especially if it's going to be in the community itself - you don't want dogs jumping the fence and running loose around the neighborhood (like mine would do with a tiny 4 ft fence!).
That's true, at mine we have a 6' foot fence and I've never seen a dog get over it, or even heard about a dog that has gotten over it. I've seen small dogs sneak into the big dog side though lol
 
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