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Dog parks offer plenty of room for pets to run
by Tribune Staff
Apr 29, 2010 | 1705 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<a href=>Tribune/Debra Reid</a> - Concrete sidewalks and a hard-packed beach at the Sparks Marina dog park provide access for handicapped dog owners.
Tribune/Debra Reid - Concrete sidewalks and a hard-packed beach at the Sparks Marina dog park provide access for handicapped dog owners.
With the weather warming up and spring trying to bloom, it is time to start letting canine companions stretch their legs. Some dogs are able to be as free as their masters at area dog parks.

Take the family canine to play with peers and run off some of the excess energy built up by the winter.

Sparks Marina

According to the city of Sparks’ website, the Sparks Marina is much more than walking paths, trees and beaches surrounding a 77-acre lake.

The Sparks Marina, located at 300 Howard Drive, has a two-acre dog park and is specifically regulated by the people who use the facility. According to the posted regulations, dogs must be on a leash at all times outside of the fenced dog park and are prohibited in swimming areas, except for the waterfront within the dog park.

At the marina, people can bring their dog to play at the park with other dogs of various sizes and weights. Although the park is surrounded by a metal fence, small dogs might be able to slip through the bars. Owners should also know that large and small dogs play together at the Sparks Marina dog park and are not separated.

The Sparks Marina dog park is free and open to the public during the day, from about dawn to dusk.

Hidden Valley Regional Park

The Link Piazzo Dog Park is located at the Hidden Valley Regional Park grounds at 4740 Parkway Drive in Reno. The area’s newest dog park, the gated play area opened in September 2008.

Separated by a conjoining fence line, Link Piazzo Dog Park is broken into two gated play areas for the dogs. This includes a small dog area for smaller breeds and a large dog area for big breeds. Occasionally large dog puppies can be found playing in the small dog side, but owners should make sure all dogs interact kindly and behave.

The park is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gates are closed after everyone leaves the park, so there is no nighttime access.

Rancho San Rafael

Regional Park

Another dog  park with more room to roam is the Rancho San Rafael Regional Dog Park, located at 1595 N. Sierra St. in Reno. According to the city of Reno park’s information center, the dog park is open 8 a.m. to dusk and the park is partially enclosed with white fencing.

Although there is a fence, dogs can easily crawl under, jump through or walk out of it so owners should bring well-behaved dogs who come when called to Rancho San Rafael’s dog park.

The field is quite large and therefore there is an abundant amount of room to run. One drawback to this park that can be seen when driving past is the lack of trees, which means there is no shade on warm spring and summer days.

For more information about Link Piazzo Dog Park and Rancho San Rafael’s dog park, visit

Be sure pooch is ready for park play

According to 42-year veteran dog trainer, Guy Yeaman, only a lucky few dogs are trained well enough to really enjoy a dog park.

In order for a dog, and its owner, to truly enjoy the area’s dog parks, the canine companion must respond immediately to its owner’s recall, the trainer said.  This is a hard task for many dogs when something new and exciting is always happening.

“The dynamics of dog parks change every three to four minutes depending on the weather, the time of day, etc.,” Yeaman said.  “I have noticed that at some parks the environment is changing by 20 dogs every 10 minutes.  Twenty come in and 20 go out.”

To combat a dog’s natural sense of curiosity, Yeaman suggests some heavy training before venturing into the wild of a dog park.

“It is pretty much the hardest thing to teach a dog,” he said of making Fido respond immediately to its owners recall. “For new dogs, practice 40 to 50 times per day and reward them.”

Yeaman also offers a class, which is free to first-time owners of rescue dogs, teaching the basics of pet recall.

The second behavioral trait a dog must have in order to really enjoy a dog park is an ability to play nice with others.

“If it would be OK to happen in your office, it would be OK at a dog park,” Yeaman said.  “Any behavior that would make for a hostile work environment in the office is not OK at the dog park.”

Yeaman said that if a dog comes immediately when called, it can follow the park rules and you can ward off another dog easily, it is play time.
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