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PLANNING FOR DOG OWNERS AND THEIR DOGS

At Paws4Play we are particularly aware of the demands on local government in providing for competing open space interests. There is often the expectation from local communities that existing parkland can continue to accommodate new an emerging activities.
Pressure to provide for dog owners and their dogs is particularly challenging, especially in terms of providing off leash opportunities. Making provision for dog off leash activities should consider:

  • the space available to provide an adequate buffer between other parkland activities and proposed dog off leash activities
  • the proximity of sensitive parkland environments such as wildlife areas and the need to prevent dogs from entering these areas
  • the ‘not so responsible’ dog owners who aren’t so respectful of other park users, including other dog owners and their dogs and …. wildlife
  • managing dog activity at the boundary of on leash and off leash areas, such as along walking and bicycle trails.

Fenced dog parks provide an opportunity for council’s to make provision for dogs in close proximity to other parkland activities. However, fenced dog parks should be considered as part of an overall strategy for providing for dog owners and their dogs. This strategy should consider:

  • areas where dogs are not permitted
  • areas where dogs must be on a leash
  • areas where dogs are permitted to be off a leash. This may include unfenced and fenced
  • areas, and it may include areas where time restrictions apply to off leash activities.

Paws4Play is aware of the sensitivities and diverse range of opinion that need to be addressed in providing for dog owners and dogs. The consultancy is well recognised for effectively dealing with a range of conflicting community interests and aspirations.
Paws4 Play assists councils:

  • develop and overall strategy for accommodating the needs of dogs owners and their dogs
  • assess the suitability of sites for dog off leash activities and/or dog parks
  • manage community consultation. This may involve survey preparation and analysis, and facilitation of community meetings and forums.

Why choose Paws4Play to assist with the planning for dog owners and their dogs?

  • we are recreation and open space planners and so bring a balanced perspective to the discussion and can represent the views of dog owners and non-dog owners
  • we understand the wider park planning context and the need to ensure that activities on a site are compatible, and in keeping with the primary purpose of the site
  • we are recognised as specialists in the planning and design of dog parks
  • our specialist knowledge means we understand the implications of dog behavior when planning and designing provision for dogs in public places.

It is worth noting that in Australia to date most dog parks have focused on the local resident community. In the USA real estate industry research indicates the presence of a dog park in a neigbourhood is an attractor for potential dog owning buyers.
There has not yet been any equivalent research conducted in Australia.
If trends continue as overseas the value of dog parks to the traveling community may soon also be recognised by Australian tourism operators and added to the ‘tourist offer’ in innovative municipalities.

 

Dog Parks and Dog Park Equipment

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