Dog Park Issues & Etiquette

More than a third of American homes have a dog, with 1.6 dogs in each of those households, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. And those dogs gotta run.

Kelli Anderson lives near I-17 and Happy Valley Road. She takes her dogs, Marley and Kona, to a dog park every weekend. She prefers Deem Hills and Deer Valley, two city parks.

“Consistent interaction, when the dog is young, with a wide variety of other dogs/people makes for a well-behaved, happy dog,” Anderson said.


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Dogs and owners generally behave, she said. “Most owners are responsive when their dog is acting aggressive or causing problems.” And owners usually scoop their dog’s poop, though if it’s busy, it can be hard to tell which one did the deed, she said. “There are always those few ‘problem dogs’ and problem owners no matter where you go.”

The City of Phoenix has 11 dog parks, including two in the North Phoenix area. They are among the city’s most popular amenities, said Gregg Bach, Phoenix Parks and Recreation department spokesperson.

“Ultimately, dog owners use them at their own risk, same as if they were using any city park amenity or hiking trail, but I don’t often hear about issues” related to sanitation or legal trouble, Bach told North Phoenix News.

The biggest challenge, he said, is when parks don’t have rotatable areas for turf regeneration. That forces closures, as is the case with Deem Hills Dog Park now through July.

The city’s newest dog park in Deer Valley Park “was built with three sections, one for small dogs and one for large dogs, and the third section can be rotated in when one of the others is closed for maintenance,” he said.

Key rules at City of Phoenix dog parks:

  • Owners must clean up poop.
  • Dogs can be off leash within the park but owners must maintain voice control over dogs and keep them in sight.
  • Dogs exhibiting any aggressive behavior must be leashed and removed immediately.
  • Dogs must be at least 4 months old, licensed and vaccinated.
  • Children under 12 are not permitted.
  • No grooming.

There’s a strong human social component to dog parks, too. “It’s a great place for people who may be a little shy or just don’t generally get to meet a lot of new people,” Anderson said. “Animals are a great conversation piece and people love to talk about their pets.”

North Phoenix Dog Parks

Deer Valley Dog Park
19602 N. 19th Ave, Phoenix 85023
Southeast corner of I-17 and Loop 101

Deem Hills Dog Park
(Closed for maintenance May 29 to July 30)
26606 N. Deem Hills Pkwy, Phoenix 85083
Northeast of Happy Valley Road and 51st Avenue

deem hills dog park
It’s not every hiking preserve that sports a dog park, as Deem Hills Recreation Area does. Photo by Dick Buscher
Robert Roy Britt
NoPho resident Robert Roy Britt has written for In&Out publications since its inception in 2005. Britt began his journalism career in New Jersey newspapers in the early 1990s. He later became a science writer and was editor-in-chief of the online media sites Space.com and Live Science. He has written four novels. Email the author.
Robert Roy Britt on Email

Robert Roy Britt

NoPho resident Robert Roy Britt has written for In&Out publications since its inception in 2005. Britt began his journalism career in New Jersey newspapers in the early 1990s. He later became a science writer and was editor-in-chief of the online media sites Space.com and Live Science. He has written four novels. Email the author.

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