Who doesn’t love the dog park? You get to hang out with fellow dog lovers, get some exercise in, and let your pooch have some playtime. However, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Dog parks are no exception.
DogBoy's Dog Blog
I’m just going to say it: I am not a fan of dog parks. There, I said it. Here’s the reason: Typically, they are overrun with dogs with poor manners whose main exercise outlet is a weekly trip to the dog park. These dogs tend to be pushy and overly friendly.
There are plenty of advantages and joys to owning your own business, especially if you get to work at or very near to your home. One of the big ones is never having to commute. It's nice that I can just walk back-and-forth to work. If I forget something at the office or vice versa, I'm just a few steps away. So, walking back and forth between the office and the house to pick something up is a cinch. There’s a lot of REALLY nice things about living and working on the same piece property.
Dog parks are fun, right? It’s a great way to get your dog out and get them socializing with other dogs. We love going and meeting other dog owners as well. It’s a great social experience for all, and a great way to exercise your dog. All of this can be true, but there are also things you want to look out for at the dog park, to make sure that your dog is having as good a time as you are.
Picking the right dog park:
The first thing to do is to make sure you are picking the right dog park for you and your dog. In Austin, TX, there are a lot to choose from. The best dog parks tend to have a lot of space, a good path to walk, and multiple sections to move into. You want to do your best not to go when the park will be at it’s busiest. Crowded parks breed more altercations. Having more room at a dog park can help prevent dogs from clustering at parks, which can lead to scuffles. If going to a less crowded park is not an option for you, being able to explore different sections of a park or a trail with your dog can help prevent the chance of an altercation occurring.
You also want to be conscious of the type of park you are going to. Sometimes, but not always, the fenced parks are attended by people who have a little less control over their dogs. It can also be possible that dog parks in college areas are frequented by dogs whose main source of exercise is the park. Both of these situations can cause more altercations between dogs.
Here are some dog parks in Austin, TX to consider when making your decision:
In one of my last posts, I talked about a customer who had a not-so-great experience with her dogs at a local Big Box store that competes with DogBoy’s Dog Ranch. I wanted to go further into her story, and why these types of chain stores are not a good decision for dog owners or their dogs.
This long time client, let’s call her Jan, has boarded her dog, we’ll call her Sandy, for many years now.
As we were getting her checked out, she was telling me about her experience with a local Big Box dog boarding facility:
Jan: Ya know, I live in another part of town on the other side of the highway.
Courtney: I do know, and we are so grateful that you go out of your way to continue coming to DogBoy's.
Jan: I only bring it up, because I've been to your local big box competitor and, honestly, you know they're nice people, but they just don't know my dog and I don't feel very comfortable leaving my dog with them.
Courtney: Oh really? Why's that?
Jan: Well to start, there's no outside place for them to play. Everything is just indoors, the play areas, the tiny little pens they put them in, and you know, it's right by my house but I will just drive right by there from now on and never go back, because they just don't know my dog like you guys do.
I appreciated the feedback, but it did raise a number of concerns in me as a dog owner myself, and as the owner of a respected dog boarding and training facility. I just can’t stand it when I see dogs being treated like livestock instead of family. I didn’t want to pry into her experience, so I didn’t ask if she took a full tour of this particular place.
However, as a responsible dog owner and business owner, I have done my research on these facilities. This is not intended to be a slander of the business or industry, but rather a critique of the standards and practices at these types of stores that I feel are not at all in line with the well-being of the dogs they house and the services they claim to provide.
The DogBoy’s difference is customer loyalty
I wanted to take some time today to thank our customers, both human and canine, and our team. I had an experience that reaffirmed my belief that two key differences DogBoy’s Dog Ranch has over our competitors is customer loyalty and an incredibly knowledgeable and passionate staff.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of working the front desk at DogBoy’s. We have owned this business for 20 years. I started out being the one and only Receptionist. Back then, I still had another full-time job. I would answer calls on the way to work and return calls in the evening after I got home (along with a laundry list of other duties and tasks). Anyone who has gone through the process of starting a business might be familiar with this sort of routine. Since that time, we have grown to around 35 employees.
I stay fairly busy with the logistical side of running the Dog Ranch, so I had completely forgotten what it takes to work the front desk. Luckily, my office manager had agreed to help me. She knew what we needed to do, and I knew some of what we needed to do, so together we made a great team. It was an wonderful opportunity to interact with all of the amazing and loyal DogBoy’s customers.
Here at DogBoy's Dog Ranch, we live and love dogs so much, and we are thankful every day that we get to do this job. In the early days of DogBoy's, things where very different than now, but very much the same still. We use to say that we "create wild-domesticated dog packs", meaning we would pick our play groups to run the same way that wild packs or wolves would run their pack...with a heirarchical social structure. Although we now know this isn't necessarily the true way dogs "run" together, the basic idea still stands. The dog world has changed A LOT in the last 25 years and even more in the last 10 years. One of the biggest changes is the explosion of dog parks around the country, especially in the super-dog friendly cities like Austin and the surrounding areas.
"I don't know that there was anyone more exited about the opening of Dogboy's Dog Park than I was! I've always had large dogs, and even though I would take them walking and jogging each day, I knew they needed more. I've previously taken advantage of public off leash areas, but was concerned with the hidden dangers (old barbwire, concrete with protruding rebar, etc.) that resulted in more than one injury to my dogs while they bounded in and out of the woods. I've visited several public dog parks with initial success, but later became disappointed with the number of irresponsible owners who spent more time socializing with friends or using their cell phones than watching, picking up after, or interacting with their dogs. Irresponsible behaviors led to numerous altercations between dogs and consequently the owners, and took the joy out of the visit.
Visiting DogBoy's private dog park is a great way to spend some quality time with your dog. Whether visiting for a private reservation, or coming on the weekends as a dog park member, following these tips will help you have a safe visit and a fun time too!