This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Beneful. All opinions are 100% mine.

I am grateful for any opportunity to safely socialize my rescue dog at dog parks, his camp, the beach and public parks around San Diego. He was timid and scared when he first arrived after what we suspect—based on many signals and behaviors—some degree of abuse and neglect.

Beneful has been helping build and upgrade dog parks since 2010, as the company sees them as unique places for dogs and owners to bond and socialize. The goal of the 2016 Beneful Dream Dog Park Project is to provide financial and hands-on support to at least 12 dog parks in the U.S., and this year, with GoFundMe is helping to reach that goal.

I am happy to share their message as dog parks have played an integral role in my dog’s rehabilitation and have enabled me to become a better dog owner. Here’s why.

Socializing Is Good for Dogs

Before I took my rescue to our local dog park, I had him interact with other dogs at a supervised off-leash camp with trainers observing his behavior. Luckily, he loves other dogs and after many sessions, they thought it was completely fine for me to take him to our local dog park to interact with other dogs. I’m convinced that doing so has only improved his social skills with dogs and humans.

I Could Learn About His Behavior

Watching him play with other dogs has enabled me to learn which personalities he agrees with which has proved incredibly helpful when also walking on a leash around the neighborhood. I know which dogs he would prefer to approach and avoid. He does not like aggressive dogs. He absolutely adores little dogs which can be a little intimidating to their owners as he’s 80 lbs.

He is also a little clumsy. If someone is throwing a ball, he’ll go after it, not really pay attention to where he’s going and crash into things… so I avoid group ball sessions. I keep him on a leash when other dogs are on a leash (and, of course, when at the beach and other parks that require it) and he’s fine with that.

I Became Less Nervous

Because I understood his behavior a bit more, I became less nervous when walking him around our neighborhood and in other public places. He’s a pitbull so I am naturally on edge due to the prejudices against them.

We All Get Exercise

Scooby at Kate Sessions Park

This goes without saying but a session at the park helps dogs stay happy and healthy. My dog is physically and mentally wiped out after interacting with so many dogs. And, a little outdoor activity is good for me, too.

Exercise Keeps Behavior in Check

When I do not exercise my dog, as I actually often can’t when his allergies flare up, he gets fidgety and anxious. He is much easier to manage with a daily outing involving exercise.

It’s Social for Humans

A dog park is a great way to meet your neighbors. Seriously, the social component for humans cannot be underplayed. Studies have shown that dogs break down normal communication barriers between humans.

Beneful dog food

Simple Dog Park Etiquette

Please keep an eye on your dog at all times, make sure he or she is current on vaccines and not aggressive. Not every dog is fit for the dog park and that’s okay, too.

Why dog parks are important to for communities, dog owners and especially rescue dogs.
Katie Dillon headshot

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. I like meeting other doggy parents and their children! And my hyper little child loves running around and smelling everything

  2. I love that the dog park gives my Bella a chance to get used to being around any dogs without barking.

  3. I love that it’s a place where dogs can run and play with each other without being restrained. Thanks!

  4. It perks my dog up and he gets so much more exercise than just a walk. I think it is healthier for him.

  5. I want to enter the giveaway, but to be honest I have never visited a dog park. My two dogs have a very large backyard with many toys and even kiddie swimming pools to cool off in. Our garage is there house which is set up with fans in summer and heaters in winter. Hopefully, I am doing enough for them. They also have 3 individual dog houses outside that the city made me purchase when we moved in many years ago.

  6. It’s a great change of venue from the ole backyard. Also it’s a great way to socialize new pups.

  7. We live in the country so my dogs have the run of the place but i would love to have a dog park so they good have friends

  8. I love dog parks!!! My dog likes to sleep and watch tv all day while I’m at work, so he loves to go and hang out with other dogs. It’s a way to get him out and be social! 🙂

  9. My fur babies love the dog park..they get to see and play with other dogs, new smwlls and sights..lots to bark at too!

  10. its a great way to socialize for both the human and the dog. And the exercise is wonderful, my dog goes home and naps!

  11. I love the socialization my dogs get at the dog park. They love it there and have a blast every time!

  12. I love dog park and actually go to the one in my city everyday. It’s a good way to socialize our dogs ! My dog was a rescue too and now he loves all dogs and the dogs loves him too ! I think if you have a dog, the dog park is a must !

  13. I love my little Lucy she’s a chihuahua they were using her as a puppy mill she was 3 yes old and had 2 litters already. Well she’s now been fixed and spoiled rotten. She loves going to the doggie park so she can run and play

  14. I like that the dogs can interact with other ones. It’s fun to watch them meet new ones all the time and they play great together!

  15. I love dog parks because they make my pups happy. There’s so much room to run and play with new friends.

  16. My son and daughter-in-law take their new border collie puppy named Mia to the dog park all the time for her exercise time and she loves it too!

  17. I have three rescued Treeing Walker Coonhounds who have a fenced yard to run and play in. However, they don’t get socialized with other dogs that way – that’s the best part of dog parks. The dogs get to really run off their energy and get to know other dogs. It also gives ME the chance to talk to other dog parents.

  18. Oh I love that they have lots of room to run and play off leash….and can meet other friends to play with! They love all the new scents to smell…oh they have so much fun smelling around!

  19. My puppy loves to run in circles in the dog park until other doggies start chasing him. He loves playing with other dogs!

  20. I love that we can let them run off of their leash. We have an american eskimo who has a ton of energy, and its hard without dog parks to let her run and get some out. We just are never fast enough to keep up with her

  21. I love that dog parks give dogs a chance to socialize with other dogs. I wish there was a dog park around here–my dogs could use the socialization.

  22. I love that dogs can be free and have fun with their toys and play with other dogs. 🙂

  23. Dog parks are great for dogs to exercise. I walk my “Becca” every day but she love the park.

  24. I love that my dog can play and interact with other dogs at the park while he runs free. I also love that the park is fenced and safe.

  25. I love that the dogs run and jump and seem to completely enjoy being with other dogs. 🙂

  26. Knowing that I’m helping with the quality of life of my dog is a great reward. Walking getting my own exercise in is nice.

  27. I love that dog parks are large areas where the dogs can run freely and play with other dogs

  28. I love that it is big enough for our dogs to run around in yet it has a fence to keep them safe. I love that they can play with a variety of other dogs.

  29. I’ve never been to a dog park but I like that you can go and let your dog play with other dogs

  30. my dog are sevice and they are with me all the time we walk and they are onleash and then wehn we go to park they run the park

  31. I love dog parks as they are great for taking your dogs where they can go and get fresh air and have fun.

  32. We have a wonderful park nearby and my dog loves to go. teaches her social skills wit other dogs

  33. Awesome list of benefits. My dogs love dog parks. One only likes to play ball and the other loves to socialize. They also love getting extremely dirty!

  34. We used to go to the dog park on weekends. We love meeting up with dog park friends and going for walks on the trails around the park!