Maryland Dog Park Locations and Etiquette
Dog Park Locations
Black Hill Regional Park
20030 Ridge Drive
Black Hill Regional Park was the second M-NCPPC park to open a Dog Park in Montgomery County. This area is approximately a half acre in size and is enclosed with a 6-foot chain link fence. It is a popular meeting spot and exercise area for local dog owners and their canine friends.
Ridge Road Recreational Park
21155 Frederick Road
Germantown, Maryland 20876
This 56-acre park has multiple ball fields, courts for tennis and volleyball, and an in-line hockey rink. In addition to picnic shelters and a playground, the park has an enclosed area for dogs to play.
Gaithersburg Dog Park
151 Bickerstaff Way
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
The Dog Exercise Area (DEA) in Green Park is an approximately 1 ¬Ω acre fenced area (two sections: 17,000 sq. ft. and 43,000 sq. ft.) where you can take your dog off leash.City residents must have a current pet license for each dog in order to use the facility.
Wheaton Regional Park
2000 Shorefield Rd.
Wheaton, MD 20902
Popular meeting spot, approximately a half acre in size that is enclosed with a 6-foot chain link fence.
King Farm Dog Park
The park is located in the newly constructed Mattie J. T. Stepanek Park, along Pleasant Drive at Piccard Drive. The park is free to Rockville residents, but you must be a member.
Cabin John Regional Dog Park
10900 Westlake Drive
Note: The dog park is closed from 9:00 am through 11:00 am every Tuesday for weekly park maintenance.
Olney Manor Dog Park
16601 Georgia Avenue
Dog Park Etiquette
This article was created to educate dog owners about the management of pet dogs at the dog park. A dog park can be an asset or a detriment to a community. The goal of this is to provide the advantages, disadvantages, and things to think about for people going to dog parks with their pets to prevent problems from arising.
Following are some basic guidelines that should be taken into consideration when bringing your dog to a dog park. An ideal park will have all the desirable items and none of the undesirable items. However, just because a park doesn’t have everything or does have an undesirable item doesn’t mean it is not a good dog park. These guidelines are for dog park patrons to use as a guide – different items will be important to different people.
Be sure to take your dog’s temperament into consideration and don’t assume s/he’s having a good time – watch your dog’s demeanor and make an informed judgment about how happy s/he is to be there. Some dogs will have no desire to play, yet will love to sniff all the bushes and trees; other dogs will be thrilled to race another dog from one end of the park to the other. Both of these dogs can benefit from the dog park – they just enjoy it in different ways.
Familiarize yourself with the dog park you wish to visit before your first visit with your dog. Become familiar with the Posted Rules for the park (when you have your dog with you he may want to pull you into the park before you have a chance to read the rules), talk to park users and find out if there is any information a first time user should be aware of. Most Dog Park Rules are very similar but vary from park to park. Dog Park etiquette however is universally the same. Obey the posted Rules, pick up after your dog, don’t talk about dog training techniques and methods ,and make sure your dog doesn’t cause problems for others (human or canine).
Ever bring a dog that is under 4 months of age.
Take sensitive dogs to an enclosed dog park where there are more than 2 dogs per every 20 square yards of space.
Take your dog to a dog park if he/she is uncomfortable — take your dog to a place that he/she enjoys.
Bring or use treats and toys when other dogs are nearby.
Allow dogs to form loose packs.
Allow a dog to bully another.
Ever let your dog off-leash in an unfenced dog park if he/she is not responsive to your verbal commands.
Worry if some dogs don’t play with other dogs in a dog park.
Bring intact males or females in estrus to a dog park.
Consult your veterinarian about your dog’s overall health before going to a dog park.
Make sure your dog is up-to-date on his/her vaccinations.
Observe the dogs in the dog park to see if there are any potential health or behavior problems.
Clean up after your dog.
Supervise dogs when they are playing and interrupt any rough play.
Be willing to leave a dog park if you feel that your dog is either being a bully, the play is getting too rough, or your dog is just not having fun.
Check to be sure there aren’t a large number of intact males at the park.
Make sure your young dog is not being bullied or learning bad manners from the other dogs.
Be cautious about taking advice from other park patrons who are not dog professionals.
Check to see if there is a knowledgeable human on staff to supervise the park – most parks will not have this, but if there is someone, it is a bonus.
Dog Park Pros and Cons
Excellent source of dog-dog social interaction
Excellent source of dog-people social interaction
Excellent source of people-people social interaction
Dog-oriented people can meet and interact
Doggy play dates can be arranged
Physical and Mental Stimulation
Excellent source of off-leash exercise for active dogs
Dog parks allow dogs to get adequate physical and mental exercise, thereby lessening destructive and annoying behaviors in general which can benefit society as a whole
Good opportunity for owners to learn about dogs through observation and provides the opportunity to learn from more experienced owners
Opportunity for well-mannered-dog advocates to demonstrate how they turned their dog into a well-mannered dog
Dog parks which are designed for dogs only, lessen the chance of owners letting their dogs off-leash in on-leash parks
No cars, rollerbladers, skateboarders, bikes, etc. likely to be encountered
More likely to encounter people who enjoy dogs
Provides location for community dog activities
Potential of danger from aggressive dogs
Potential of danger of physical injury from dog-related hazards
Potential of lawsuits arising from dog fights
Potential for parasites
Potential of danger from aggressive dogs
Intact dogs may create problems
Potential for parasites and disease
Potential for lack of impulse control and over-excitement
Not appropriate for small and large dogs at the same time
Potential for injury
For the Community
Some people will not understand the concept and will abuse the park
Won’t pick up after their dog
May leave dog unattended
Allow their dog to indulge in inappropriate behavior
Some people will not be educated enough about their dogs to know if a dog park is appropriate for their dog
Potential for noise
Potential liability issues
Enjoy and Be Safe!!
Andrew Fraser is president and training director for DogiZone, a full-service training and boarding facility located in Rockville. Fraser is a Master Trainer graduate of the National K9 School for Professional Dog Trainers, a No Limitations graduate of Sit Means Sit and a certified first aid and CPR instructor from Pet Tech 240-793-5787.