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doggo at the park

September 13, 2023

Pet Parent Survey: Why We Love Dog Parks, and What Makes the Perfect Park

For the PetSafe® team, nothing beats a day at the dog park. That’s why at our main campus in Knoxville, TN, we have our very own on-site dog park that’s open to the public, where our pups can get a break from the office, run off some energy and make new friends. That’s also why we’ve been working for over a decade to help communities across the country build and maintain their own dream dog parks. This year, as we prepared to kick off our new PetSafe Unleashed contest, we wanted to learn even more about what dog lovers like you have to say. Why do pets and their people enjoy dog parks? And what would they like to see at their ideal dog park? We surveyed 2000* dog dads and mutt moms to learn these answers and more! Here’s what we found.

PetSafe Unleashed dog parkPetSafe Unleashed dog park

Where New Friendships Are Made

Dog parks ranked high on the list of places where pet parents say their dog has made new friends, with 40% of respondents saying their pup has met canine companions at the park. Other destinations noted where dogs can socialize include at a friend or relative’s house (61%), while out on walks together (58%), at doggy daycare (48%), or while sniffing down the treat or toy aisles at the local pet supply store (36%).

Dog Parks: Not Just for the Dogs

As lifelong dog park fans, it was no surprise to us to learn that pups are not the only ones to benefit from having a quality dog park nearby. The average dog parent reported visiting the dog park at least four times a week to get the benefits that they and their dogs both enjoy. Indeed, 39% of pet parents said they feel more connected to their local community when they visit their neighborhood dog park. And dogs aren’t just good at making friends with one another – they can help us come out of our shells and meet new friends, too! On average, respondents said that they have met at least three new people because their dog “introduced” them at the park.

From Rowdy Rivalries to Puppy Love

Our dogs develop a surprisingly diverse array of relationships with their fellow canines while visiting the dog park. In fact, six in ten pet parents said their dog’s social life is comparable or superior to their own, with 34% stating their dog is better at making friends than they are! Dog park social interactions come in all shapes and sizes, with many dogs finding a reliable buddy (43%) or a playmate who enjoys the same games (33%). Some dogs can get into a bit of trouble when they’re mixing it up with other pups; 62% of respondents said their dog has at least one “frenemy” who can be naughty or nice depending on the day, and 40% said their dog sometimes encounters a rival for dog park dominance. Though relationships can sometimes be a bit rocky, most pups find friendships that seem simply meant to be, with 52% claiming a best friend and 49% of dogs meeting the canine equivalent of a boyfriend or girlfriend at the park.

Have Dog, Will Travel

We learned that pet parents can be picky about which dog parks they frequent. About three quarters of those surveyed said they usually visit the nearest dog park. But 25% are willing to travel further (up to eighteen miles, on average) to get to the dog park that they and their dogs prefer – even if there’s another dog park closer to home! Here are the top five reasons we found why respondents go out of their way to visit their favorite dog park:

  1. 66% travel to a dog park where their pup has more friends
  2. 44% will travel further to get to a larger dog park
  3. 43% prefer a dog park that’s closer to work than to home
  4. 43% choose to travel further to a dog park that’s better maintained
  5. 36% go out of their way to travel to a dog park that feels safer

What Pups and People Like Best at the Dog Park

There are many things to like about a dog park, but we were excited to hear what dogs seemed to love most of all. It turns out that the top three experiences that dogs most enjoy are roaming freely off-leash (32%), meeting and playing with other dogs (25%) and cooling off in water features like a fountain or pond (12%). When we asked what pet parents would like to see more of at their local park, shade (28%) and room to roam away from loud noises (44%) or other dogs (15%) were important factors.

Unleashing a More Dog-Friendly World

One thing is clear from our latest survey – pups and their people get immeasurable benefits from their local dog parks – and that’s why the world needs more of them! Even though most of the pet parents we talked to have a dog park within their community, with nearly half (48%) even living within walking distance of their nearest park, a majority (53%) still expressed a desire to make their local community even more dog friendly. It’s for these folks, and the dogs who love them, that we’ve embarked on our newest dog park initiative with the PetSafe Unleashed contest. We’re on our way to bringing the ultimate dog park experience to more communities than ever before, on our continuous mission to make the whole world more dog-friendly, so pups and their people can unleash joy together!

At PetSafe®, we’re committed to unleashing a lifetime of joy for pets and their families everywhere. We know that pet parents, like pets, come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re about to adopt your first cat or dog, or you’ve been a dedicated pet parent all your life, we’re here for you and your furry family members.

*This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 dog owners was commissioned by PetSafe between Aug. 14 and Aug. 16, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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