Dog Parks: Why They’re Good for You and Fido

“Walking the dog” has new meaning in today’s 21st-century, master-planned communities.

Opening the back door just so Fido can work off energy and do his or her business at a safe distance, no longer is the norm. Although it’s definitely the default option if you’re stuck inside watchingDog Parks the kids, whipping up dinner or moderating a conference call.

In many new communities, walking the dog means a healthy stroll on fitness trails that meander through the neighborhood. These usually are paved and are wide enough to accommodate dog walkers, runners, cyclists, strollers and, occasionally, electric golf carts.

But there’s one amenity that’s only for you and Fido: the dog park. It’s a safe, fenced area where dogs and owners can gather to play and socialize. Canine and human friendships form, and both you and your dog will anticipate your visits.

Read on for more on why dog parks are good for you and Fido.


Most of us have witnessed runaway dogs that elude their owners and dart into traffic. Yikes. Most of us also have witnessed frantic owners chase those dogs into traffic. Double yikes.

You have none of that with fenced-in dog parks. Fido can run, jump and play without his or her owner fretting the surroundings. Once you’re inside the dog park, you only need to make sure Fido’s having fun and on best behavior with playmates.

That’s some priceless peace of mind.

Social skills

We humans and our canine companions are (generally!) social folks. Hailing neighbors, catching up with community news and forming friendships, are part of what makes a good neighborhood so special.

Today’s dog parks are yet another such way to socialize, especially when you’re new to the neighborhood. You already have something in common with your fellow dog owners and sometimes it’s easier to ask for local insights at a dog park rather than an HOA meeting.

Plus, while our dogs romp, run and fetch — supervised, of course — we can meet new friends, chat with old ones and actively play with all the Fidos. Speaking of…


Dog parks are a great way for you and Fido to get your daily calorie burn. You walk to the dog park (bonus points if it’s on the opposite side of the neighborhood). You play at the dog park, throwing balls for Fido to catch and chasing Fido to get the balls back. Then you walk home.

That’s a nice sweat!

Many new dog parks also come with bonuses: large, grassy areas to roam off-leash, and/or an obstacle course that challenges dogs to jump, climb, balance and splash their way through their own “playgrounds.”

Helpful reminders

If you’re new to dog parks, make sure your dog is healthy, fully vaccinated and spayed or neutered before enjoying a facility.

Also consider your dog’s temperament. Nervous, fearful or aggressive dogs probably won’t enjoy the socialization. If your dog fits this bill, ask your fellow dog owners for recommendations for local trainers. A bit of schooling might help your pet adjust to the dog park scene.

Looking for an ICI Homes community with dog parks? Visit us at Nocatee in Ponte Vedra, at Asturia in Odessa, at Bexley in Land O’Lakes or at FishHawk Ranch in Lithia, to name a few.