Got directed over here and wanted to chime in.
Hi All, Every once in awhile I hear about an idea for dogs and I immediately come here to see what you people think.
A friend of ours is thinking about buying an 8 acre lot with a stream running through it and a large barn like structure on it. He wants to build a members only 4 seasons Dog Park. The fee would be $365.00 a year and he would allow only 1,000 members. The dogs would be "screened" for temperament and have to provide vet records. The objective is to take the fear out of dog parks and create a safe place for the dogs and their families.
I think its a great idea and I do think people would pay for it. What do you think?
Honestly, for this size, I do not think it will work or make any money or draw the people you want for that price. NOR are you (Jim..) going to
want 1000 dogs on 8 acres. I work at this park www.meadowrunpark.com
that Onyx posted back at page one or two... we have about 300 dog members now, and we're about to start slowing it down. And we have 25 acres. Most you'll get out here on the weekends at one time is 50 or so dogs, but that is 2 dogs/acre on average and we don't want it to become congested.
If he lowered the price (that's the price WE charge for a full year's membership...) then he might be able to make it work, but I wouldn't allow more than 100 members or so, so it might not be worth it.
No, for $365.00, I can get 4.5 sets of training classes. I need them more, and would go to them.
I don't necessarily think it is a bad idea, though, but how would you police it? Would everyone get a credit card type key to use to get in and out? How often would you go wear out the pooper scooper? Would you have it segregated between large dogs and small dogs, or weight limits toward large or small dogs? How much time would you spend on complaints? And what kind of insurance would you have to buy?
This is what we do at the park where I work. We have a program called Intelli that is on our computer and a box on the gate at the fence, and when a member joins they get a key card for it that is a proximity card, to get in when the office is closed or if they don't want to walk through the office. The program logs who comes and goes and when of course, so we see it all on our computer and can monitor who's here when we're not. We are in the office about 80-90% of the time the park is available to be used by members (dusk till dawn) so the staff handles any behavior issues as needed and processes visitors. We might have a formal complaint every 5 months or so... very seldom. Every couple of months we might have a small tiff with no bloodshed between dogs in the park, to be expected, not everyone gets along, and sometimes members have drama amongst themselves that we keep track of, too... but we don't spend much time overall on issues like that between the dogs and members.
We have poop stations all over the park and the members help each other notice when their dog's are going if someone is distracted. Otherwise, the staff walks the park every morning and picks up extra piles and we remind members of the rule if we see them purposefully breaking it.
Thanks again for all of the feedback. I’ve read all of the posts and appreciate the insight which I will share with Jim. I've listed & commented on some of the issues & suggestions raised.
Water – its not easy to find a place to take dogs swimming so I think the stream will be very cool. Not sure if its deep enough water for dock diving but that’s a great idea.
Safety – Dogs & Owners are screened
Clean – Because they are members, people are more likely to participate in keeping it clean. However, the staff member will also be responsible for cleaning
Complaints – He was thinking of having member meetings to discuss issues
Supervision – He said there would be people there to accommodate the members’ needs, I assume they will also supervise. Good point to bring up.
Grooming – Good suggestion…I’ll mention it to him
Agility course set up-We suggested this and he agrees this is important to have
Nosework and obedience training –Not something he’s considering now but may be for the future.
Wash Off Station – He plans on having this.
Pick up & Drop Off Service – For people too busy to take their own dogs to the park
County/State Parks – Cost $3.00 a day or $20.00 a season. Dogs & owners are not screened. Its not monitored, people bring their small dogs in the large breed section, health & temperament are unknown, responsibility level of owners is unknown
Multi-Dog – He was thinking of allowing unlimited dogs, but the points brought up here may change his mind.
Our pond with regulation sized dock for dock diving is 7' deep, so he'd want something about that for the dogs if he wanted a dock... That would take up a large part of the park though, too. We have indoor self-serve grooming tubs which make us a lot of money, would be a good idea for him to invest in.
Just to get an idea of other policies, we allow no more than 4 dogs per person in the park, and this hasn't been an issue yet.. usually with the space they're going seperate ways and members know what they can handle. We have reduced fees for each additional dog in the same family, and we do terminate memberships and talk to owners who are not diligent with training/managing their dogs in the park.