Saturday, February 15, 2014

Private Dog Park = Awesome!

As we mentioned in our last post, we are lucky to have a special resource for dogs in Athens, GA. The beautiful Sandy Creek Park offers three private fully fenced in 2-3 acre dog parks you can reserve by the hour, for only $1 per dog per hour. 

We aren't sworn off regular dog parks, but when we go, we have to be extra vigilant and it's not exactly relaxing for us owners. Spartacus is of course our high maintenance mutt, and we started this blog to track our progress teaching him to just chill out. From the sound of it though, dog parks can be stressful for plenty of perfectly balanced dogs and their owners too. A lot can go wrong when you enclose a bunch of strange dogs together, especially when the people overseeing them have different opinions about what is acceptable behavior. Yet we all want our dogs to get the experience of running around free, and that's where Sandy Creek Park comes in.

You simply call ahead and reserve a time, stop by the main park entrance to pay and pick up your key, and pull up to your own private dog park. Each park is fully fenced and provides dog waste bags, a garbage can, and a bowl of fresh water. For safety, it's required your dogs are leashed until you close your gate behind you. Close the gate, and it's a total free for all! 

Earlier today we took Sparty on a training walk around the neighborhood to continue working on the "watch me" command around passing dogs. He was good two out of four times, and when he reacted, we got him to subside quickly. He's been working really hard lately, and we wanted to make sure he got some plain old fun in today too. At noon we headed to Sandy Creek. We rented Dog Park #3, our personal favorite. Two large grassy fields are divided by a strip of forest with a trail running through it. The 3 acre park extends far beyond what our camera lens can capture. Not bad for two dollars!

The passion these two have for tennis balls is unequivocal. With the aid of our Chuck-It ball launcher, we cover a lot of ground. Delilah has quite the stride for a low-rider. She is faster than Spartacus.

But Sparty still wins most of the time using brute force to knock Delilah over. We prefer Delilah to win because she actually returns the ball, whereas Sparty turns it into a game of keep-away.

We've mentioned that Spartacus has a crazy "in your face" playing style that can scare other dogs and dog owners. Luckily, our Delilah embraces it full force. 

And if you're paying attention, you'll see that Spartacus willingly rolls over to a submissive position, laying on his back with his belly fully exposed. That's how we know their play is fun and fair, and we don't have to referee.

In an hour, there's plenty of time for both play and relaxation. Sometimes we rent the park for longer. We've even brought our art supplies and done plein-air painting sessions for up to three hours here. The private parks are also great for birthday parties.

We can't imagine life without this amazing resource now that we have it, but we're probably moving far away to the midwest this summer. So far we haven't been able to track down anything similar.

Do you know of any private dog parks or similar set-ups? 

Does your dog's play style require extra monitoring?


  1. Ohmygosh! I wonder if there is something like this here in my area. This would be great for our Barry. Like your Spartacus, Barry is high maintenance and we'll probably just never take him to a traditional dog park. Not because he's mean (he's the sweetest ever) but because of how he is perceived and that negativity from people can directly affect the total experience.

    Anyway - this would be incredible if we could find something like this. We'd be there often!

    1. We've been researching the Chicago area, and haven't come across any private dog parks so far. Definitely let us know if you find anything like that!

  2. Wow, the private park sounds so great! Ruby can no longer go to regular dog parks - they are nearly always filled with big dogs who chase and gang up on her. I searched in my area and it doesn't appear we have such a thing. I have recently found a securely-fenced baseball field where dogs are allowed, so we've been utilizing that for off-leash zooming around.