Making a decision about where to locate your dog’s den can be tricky. Has it always been a private park? When I began visiting my dog Rex regularly, my husband and I reluctantly settled on a park. Once we found the right location, it took four weeks to create the characteristically peaceful and serene home. The first task was to connect Rex’s individual life outside of the house with ours. Since every minute we spend together is precious, we make a conscious effort to savor the moments we spend with Rex. Together, we talk about fun in the park, what we want to do together and to keep the conversation positive. It has not been easy getting there, but once we got there, we were off to the races.
As you look to plan the perfect place for your dog, consider the following three considerations:
Pets often prefer bigger, darker, more nature-focused and private spaces with ample green space. Ideally, though, you should consider the dog’s behavior, size and health and integrate it into the design. Figure out what the dog wants most, be clear on what are his or her biggest expectations, and create a den that caters to his or her needs. If your dog will be the designated person with a leash and collar, the space should not be cluttered with toys, food or other items that might be distracting or make it difficult for the dog to concentrate.
Perhaps you are visiting your father, or a friend you care about. You’re attending a first meeting with an online interview, and this is your chance to make a big impression. Consider amenities that may draw someone in, like a make-shift lounge area, extra bedding and a cushion seat for people to sit on. And if you choose to offer a more public area, make sure it is large enough so your dog can easily be alone.
Finally, keep in mind that dogs can be spoiled and a destination den may not be the ideal location. If you plan to take your dog to the park every day, consider creating a den so that he can get his day-to-day mental and physical exercise. In fact, it can be a lot of fun just to be in the park. Then you can cuddle by the fire pit, sip beer while relaxed and watch great wildlife, even crooks and bears. Your dog has his yard, too!
Is your dog well behaved?
If the park is already working just fine, you may be ready to introduce the dog. The right park location often depends on your dog’s well-being. We have found that the bigger the park, the better. Just because your dog is not wild or aggressive, doesn’t mean he shouldn’t get the same respite as the children who visit every day.
If your dog is happy and well behaved, you can select the locale which works best for him. It doesn’t always mean creating a den; it could be a separate space or a separate room with no barking, just a few beds and toys.
As for actually going to the park, do not make the mistake of assuming that your dog is allowed to bark, jump, charge or scare off other dogs. If an aggressive dog suddenly appears at your location, take action. Call your dog’s owner. Contact the park’s supervisor or address the issue with the park.