When You’re Dog-Tired of the Dog Park, Try This

Dog tired of the dog park? Or maybe your pup isn’t a “dog park” kind of dog. That’s OK! Liking the dog park isn’t a prerequisite to being a “normal dog.” Some dogs just aren’t suited for the unpredictable, often overwhelming environment of a dog park. Luckily, we’ve gathered some great alternatives to dog parks that will shake up your dog’s exercise routine in a positive way.

Taking your pup to the dog park has been a long-time classic. Every dog owner likely goes to a park at some point, and they can be fun! The dogs get to run around, play with other dogs and you get to meet other people. Despite the upsides of going to the dog park, there can be some risks.

Dog parks are arguably not the best place for dogs, actually. At least not all dogs.

Why shouldn’t I take my dog to the dog park?

is doggy daycare good for dogs

There are a few reasons why it might not be a good idea to take your dog to the dog park. It mostly depends on the dog. Dogs are individuals and it’s up to the dog parent to pay attention, know their dog’s playstyle, and be mindful of its temperament.

Just like not every dog is a great candidate for doggy daycare, not every dog thrives in a dog park environment.

Some dog park drawbacks include:

  • Many people don’t pay attention to their dog’s body language or dog’s behavior
  • Some dog owners may not have fixed their dogs or have them up to date on vaccinations
  • People haven’t done enough dog training off-leash
  • Some dogs might be dog-tolerant vs. dog-friendly
  • The park charges fees
  • Dogs are going to dog — therefore, fights are likely to happen
  • People don’t pick up poop, which can carry diseases like heartworm
  • It’s an overstimulating environment that overwhelms some dogs

6 Dog Park Alternatives

​If the dog park is getting you down, here are six fun and safe ways to get your dog out for some exercise. Caution: Some may lead you on great adventures with your best friend!

1. Take your dog for a hike

girl hiking with dogs

Bringing your pup hiking is a great way to get you outdoors and change up your dog’s exercise routine. Not only will you enjoy great scenery, see new things, and get outdoors, you’ll also expose your pooch to their natural environment, get them running up and down hills, and explore new sights and smells that are great for mental stimulation.

2. Set up an agility course

agility-kit alternatives to dog parks

Trust us, it’s easier than it sounds to keep your pup engaged, active, and happy. Dogs don’t just want to play, they want to play with us. By inspiring interactive fun, an agility kit can nurture the relationship between you and your pup.

Agility kits also challenge your dog’s I.Q. by presenting a variety of obstacles. To successfully work through the course, dogs must differentiate between their handler’s commands while using their natural problem-solving skills!

Check out our Zip & Zoom Agility Kit (available in indoor and outdoor styles). Your dog doesn’t have to be a dog sports athlete to do this. Herding dog breeds, show dogs, and adult dogs of all kinds love it!

3. Take your dog to a lake or beach

dawson dog life jacket

Lakes and beaches are great places to bring dogs, especially if they love to swim. If they don’t know how to swim, then teach them with help from one of our woof-derful dog life jackets to keep them paddling along safely. Our dog life jackets sport high visibility colors, multiple reflective strips, easy-grab handles, quick release buckles & outstanding flotation.

Our unique, multi-handle design is constructed to add strength and durability for pulling dogs out of the water. Paw over to our sizing guide to help find the perfect fit for your pup.

4. Jog with your dog

how to train your dog to run with you

Does your high-energy dog perk up when you say “walk?” Ours sure do. Take your dog on a run with you and make sure you go out on different paths to spice up the scenery.

For senior pups, take your dog walking to keep it easy and relaxed. If you’re a fan of exercising, bring your furry workout partner and friends to make this a wonderful group activity. I’ve taken my dog on jogging and bike paths every day this summer & we love it.

5. There’s an app for that

dog playing fetch with frisbee

Sniffspot became particularly popular during the pandemic when dog park visits weren’t possible. It’s like Airbnb for dogs. Locals list their yards that are open for dog lovers to bring their pets for some private fun!

You can filter the listings by square footage, whether it’s a fenced-in yard, and even details like how much shade is available and if there are other dogs visible in the neighborhood (this is great for dog-reactive dogs who need a quieter, private place).

By renting someone’s yard, you can get your pup out of the busy city while giving them the physical exercise necessary for your dog’s health.

6. Set up a play date

what does it mean when a dog sneezes

Set up a doggie play date with another dog parent’s pup your dog knows and loves. Having a dog over that your pup is already familiar with and plays well with will give you confidence that the risk of a dog fight is low. Putting two dogs together that have similar playstyles will set them up for a successful play session.

This way they get to have playtime with their pals in a safe, controlled, and predictable environment while getting some healthy dog socialization in.

Other alternatives to dog parks

multipuzzle alternatives to dog parks

Take a time out — there’s always fun to be had indoors, too. Break out a puzzle toy (or several for a “puzzle race”) to keep them busy with nosework. Letting your dog play solo with an enrichment game can tire them out just as much as sprinting around. Problem-solving with interactive toys is hard work!

If your dog is dog-reactive, you can also think about working with a dog trainer to work on desensitization. Your dog may never be a “dog park dog,” and that’s OK! As pet parents, we need to keep our pups safe, happy, and healthy; No matter what that looks like.

Get moving & share the fun with us by tagging #outwardhound on FacebookInstagram & Twitter!