Once Upon a Dream Dog Park
Once upon a time, there was a dog named Princess. She loved going for walks, playing fetch and mingling with other dogs. One of her favorite places to go with her owner was the local dog park. There was soft, green grass and lots of other dogs to mingle with. She visited a variety of different dog parks – some were big with luscious, green lawns and others were small with dried up grass. Sometimes she longed for a Dream Dog Park. A place that was large with beautiful, green grass – a place where she could run freely without a leash and visit with other dogs.
If you are a dog owner, you know how great a dog park can actually be. It’s a place where your dog can run and socialize with other dogs (yes, that’s possible). Dog parks strengthen the bond between us and our dogs, creating a positive ripple effect of joy that travels through our days, our communities and our lives. This is the remarkable Dog Park Effect and it’s why they started the Beneful Dream Dog Park Project.
As an ambassador on the Friends of Beneful team, I have the opportunity to share some of the great things going on at Beneful. One of those is the Beneful Dream Dog Park Project, a project that is really close to their hearts at Beneful. At Beneful, we believe dog parks provide a special place for dogs and owners to bond and socialize with each other and the community. Over the past five years, they’ve been helping to build and/or improve dog parks across the country. The program started out as a contest, and the Beneful team visited one winning community each year to provide a Dream Dog Park renovation. Since then, the program has evolved to bring more joy to more communities across the country. This year’s goal is to support a total of 12 parks through donation, service days, etc., and we’re excited to partner with GoFundMe this year to help further our mission. That’s a pretty dang awesome thing!!!
Their new partnership with GoFundMe gives dog park organizers a platform to create campaigns for their local dog parks, raise awareness and funds for improvements, or to help increase funding to get a new park off the ground. They’ve also added a lot of great info to their website to help guide dog lovers who want to build a dog park, but aren’t sure where to start. At www.beneful.com, they have some expert tips on dog park renovation materials and play equipment, dog park etiquette, and pet safety.
Each month, Beneful will select a new GoFundMe dog park campaign to spotlight on the website and on Beneful’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Beneful will provide dollar-for-dollar donation matching support, helping the projects reach their goals. Beneful is currently spotlighting the first Dream Dog Park of the year, Frenchtown Dog Park in St. Louis! If you have a park in the community that needs support, you can make a campaign for it on GoFundMe and Beneful might spotlight it and help match the funds raised!
Beneful is also supporting dog parks through crowdfunding on social. For every post tagging @Beneful with the #DreamDogPark hashtag Beneful will donate $1 (up to $50,000) towards the Beneful Dream Dog Park Projects this year.
Are you thinking about taking your dog to a dog park, but aren’t really sure what to expect or how to prepare your dog for this visit? If so, check out these tips from Arden Moore, The Pet Health and Safety Coach.
Prep Your Dog for Dog Park Visits:
• Hone your dog’s socialization skills by enrolling him in a dog obedience class taught by a certified trainer who uses positive reinforcement techniques before introducing him to a dog park.
• Stage mini-training sessions with your dog to make sure he heeds your “come here” cue anywhere and on or off leash. Build on each level of success, starting first inside your home, then your fenced backyard and eventually, when he is running off-leash in a dog park.
• Enlist the aid of a well-mannered dog to teach your dog how to properly play and interact. Seek out a friend or a dog trainer who has such a dog to serve as your dog’s “big brother” who can teach your dog manners in a secure setting before bringing your dog to a dog park.
• Acknowledge that a dog park is not the place to try to work out the aggressive tendencies in your dog. He needs one-on-one professional training to address aggression before earning the right to be in a dog park.
Bolster Your Dog’s Manners:
• Intentionally leave your dog’s favorite toy or treat at home to reduce his chance of showing resource guarding tendencies to the other dogs at the park.
• Have him go into a sit and possibly, shake paws, when meeting people at the dog park.
• Resist feeling tense or nervous. Our dogs read our emotions. Enter the park with a calm, confident attitude to show your dog that you are his benevolent leader.
Enhance Your Welcome:
• Spend time in the dog park with your dog, being near him and engaging him in play.
• Pick up your dog’s “deposits” promptly in receptacles.
• Resist texting or talking on your cell phone, reading the newspaper, eating a meal or engaging in any other type of behavior that prevents you from supervising your dog.
• Resist bringing in more than two dogs into the park. You need to be able to intervene if one gets into a fight.
• Avoid getting into an argument with another person about a poop deposit that has not been picked up. Instead, employ kindness by picking up the poop to keep the dog park clean.
• Offer to coordinate a monthly dog park cleanup event.
What do you love about taking your dog to a dog park?
Do you have a dog park you’d like Beneful to help fund?