Unleash the Hounds!
by Michelle O’Dea
With nationwide trends for home sizes going smaller, this affects the pooches as well, as yards are getting smaller too. Dogs need a place to run, play and exercise. Walks are great, but off-leash spaces are highly desired by our canine friends.
Dog parks are a way to let dogs run free and get adequate exercise. Off-leash dog parks also promote safety because pet owners are not walking on busy streets. Dogs get ample off-leash exercise and social activity with other dogs. When dogs get the adequate physical and mental exercise they need, pet parents often notice a decrease in the level of troublesome behavior from their furry friends as well.
Dog parks can facilitate socialization between a variety of breeds. They can also be a wonderful outlet for adolescent dogs that have lots of energy and no place to release it.
Luckily for the four-legged and their owners, Lincoln’s Park and Recreation Department has created great dog parks in each quadrant of the city.
Mahoney Park Dog Run, near 84th and Adams streets, hosts four acres for large breed dogs and a one-acre area for small dogs.
Rickman’s Run at Holmes Lake Park is located on the east side of South 70th Street in Holmes Lake Park. This park includes Lincoln’s largest off-leash space with a 22.25-acre space for large dogs and a 1.45-acre area for small dogs.
Roper East Park Dog Run at 7th and Adams streets offers a four-acre space for large dogs and a one-acre area for small dogs.
Stransky Dog Run at Peterson Park located at 4419 Southwood Drive includes a 2.55-acre space for large dogs and a one-acre area for small dogs.
Rules and regulations for the parks can be found on the Parks and Rec website [https://www.lincoln.ne.gov/City/Departments/Parks-and-Recreation/Parks-Facilities/Dog-Runs].
Dog Parks Benefit People Too
Evidence associates dogs with physical, mental, and social dimensions of human health. Dog parks may provide a safe place for older people or people with disabilities who may not be able to walk their dogs. Dog parks provide areas where dogs can exercise and run freely while their owners can socialize. In addition, spending time with their dogs at the dog park reinforces the dog-owner bond.
In a recent survey, Americans list the top three benefits a dog park can have on a community as:
• Gives dogs a safe space to exercise and roam around freely (60 percent)
• Allows dogs to socialize with other dogs
• Allows owners a chance to be physically active with their pet (36 percent)
Dog parks are a place where people and dogs gather to socialize. For a society to grow, people must find ways to connect (especially after the pandemic), which they can do at dog parks.
Dog parks also help improve both human and canine mental and physical health, as dog parks help us all be more active. And let’s face it, fresh air is good for us all too.
Watching your dog’s behavior at the dog park will help you understand and improve the bond you have with your dog. Dog parks also help us form a stronger community and become closer together.
There are many benefits to dog parks, and they can help both people and animals. Check out one of Lincoln’s great dog parks today.