Changing Behaviour Through Environmental Design
Understanding the behaviours and needs of the primary users of a space is essential to creating one that is accessible, usable, safe, and attractive.
Creating a dog park involves much more than putting a fence around a section of open space. It’s essential that architects, city planners, developers, etc. consult a professional educated in dog behaviour early in the design phase because the problems that plague dog parks can be dramatically reduced (even prevented) simply by altering its design.
Common Dog Park Problems (That Can Be Addressed Through Design):
- Dog Conflicts
- Dog Owner Behaviour
- Damage to Landscape
- Problems for Nearby Residents
Dog-dog aggression, “bullying”, “predatory drift”, and dog-human aggression.
Dog owners not picking up their dog’s feces either intentionally or unintentionally.
Dog Owner Behaviour:
Not leashing dogs when walking between the vehicle and the park, congregating in congested areas (especially near the entrance), socializing instead of paying attention to dogs.
Damage to Landscape:
Erosion from excessive traffic (especially in wet areas), dog urine, and digging/chewing.
Ineffective fencing and gate systems, ground cover that can damage dogs paws, no access to potable water during hot weather; dangerous plants, no barrier to something potentially dangerous or undesirable to some dog owners, such as a body of water, a steep slope, or objects that have potential to cause serious injuries.
Problems for Nearby Residents:
Excessive barking of dogs in park or residents’ dogs, off-leash dogs running onto private property, and fence fighting with residents’ dogs.