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Visit Central Bark at Blue Heron Park

West Villages is already known for its nature trails, parks, bike lanes, wide sidewalks and neighborhood connection pathways, as a way to focus on wellness and healthy living. Now, newly opened Central Bark at Blue Heron Park, offers your furry companion a chance to join in on the outdoor adventures! From separate large and small dog areas to shade structures, and even doggie drinking fountains and agility stations, Central Bark at Blue Heron Park has all the amenities your canine confidant could ever desire.

Although, before diving into all the fun, it is wise to be sure you and Fido are up to speed on dog park etiquette. Here’s our favorite tips for ensuring an enjoyable and safe experience for all Central Bark patrons:

  • Make sure your dog knows you’re the boss! Take charge and teach your pal to come when called. Special training treats are a good reward for encouraging this behavior.
  • If your pet is showing signs of illness or disease, forego the park entirely until they are healthy.
  • Don’t bring a puppy less than 4-6 months old. Puppies need exercise, but they also need several months to acclimate to their surrounds and socialize appropriately.
  • Similarly, don’t bring a female dog in heat. For obvious reasons, this is just asking for trouble!
  • This one should go without saying: Keep an eye on your dog! Don’t allow your pet out of your sight or to become aggressive with another dog.
  • A dog park isn’t the place for human socialization. Be on high alert at all times so you can read the situation. Look for anxious or aggressive canine behavior such as tails at half-mast or between legs, pinned back ears, snarling lips and wide eyes. If you see these danger signs, re-direct your dog with a command, toy or treat.
  • Obviously, you must always pick up your dog’s waste. Luckily, there are multiple pet waste receptacles stationed around the park that also include disposable bags, in the event you forget yours.
  • Leave the food, both for yourself and your dog, at home.
  • Although there are several doggie drinking fountains, consider bringing a portable water bowl for your pet. Some dogs are anxious drinking out of community fountains and prefer the comfort of a familiar dish.
  • Always keep small dogs in the designated small-dog section of the park. Your pet may enjoy or have previous experience socializing with big dogs but the segregated areas are there to ensure safety for all attendees.
  • Bring a ball, Frisbee, stick or other toy, but also be prepared to lose it.
  • Never allow your dog to run in a pack. Intervene if your pet seems anxious or if play begins to get too rough.

Now that we’ve covered doggie decorum, grab a tennis ball and go have some fun with your favorite four-legged friend!