Dear PoPville – Design Failure at the Dog Park

Design failure

“Dear PoPville,

The Newark Street Dog Park paid big bucks for a fountain like this one. What’s wrong, you ask? EVERY male dog pees on (and into) the doggy bowl at the bottom. I wonder what genius designed it? The purpose of my rant is not to condemn the good folks who wasted untold dollars on it. Everyone makes mistakes. But new dog parks are, thank goodness, being built. Maybe this would help others avoid making the same costly mistake. FYI, I have never seen a human drink from the top part.”

46 Comment

  • “What genius designed it?”
    The kind of genius who realized that an animal that licks its own butt doesn’t care about some pee splatter.

  • Thanks for the share. I’ve designed quite a few projects with drinking fountains in them, but none with fountains designed specifically for pets. I’ll have to keep this in mind if I ever do a dog park.

    • Recanting what I said about keeping this in mind…I originally assumed that since dogs typically drink by lapping water out of a bowl, that the bottom part of this fountain would drain differently to allow the water to pool a bit, which would then be a concern because it would be a pool of dog urine and water. But it doesn’t work that way. It drains just like any other drinking fountain. I think the design is fine. And for the cost, it’s no different than any other pedestal type freeze proof drinking fountain. I’d spec this if the owner wanted it.

  • Anastasia Beaverhausen

    The Shirlington dog park has 2 fountains similar to that one, and I’ve never seen a dog pee in either of them.

  • I know, right? Totally waste of money. DPR should install mini-fridges instead so I can give Rufus the cold Evian he deserves. It is so much more hygienic for him to drink bottled water after he chews on a dead bird and eats another dogs poop.

  • It’s funny to imagine the questioner yelling at his Maltese – “No Lucy!! Don’t drink that water – it’s contaminated!”

  • Just a quick note: dog parks in DC are essentially run by volunteers, not DPR. I’d suggest reaching out to the park board and asking if you could help raise funds to replace these, if you’re bothered by them. I’m sure they’d be receptive.

  • justinbc

    Dupont dog park has one of these, dogs seem to have no problem drinking out of it. What better design would you propose, Leonardo?

  • My dog drinks water out of the toilet. Not sure what your complaint is here.

  • Yeah, not sure I see the big deal either. In addition to the aforementioned butt-licking “my” dog (technically my mom’s dog, which we share to some extent) will try to eat bird and cat poop if we don’t watch her…so a little residue of dog pee here and there in the fountain doesn’t seem nearly as bad (urine is way less germy than feces). And does it cost way more money to add a dog spigot to a water fountain that’s already being installed for humans, anyway? I don’t often drink out of water fountains because the water usually has a metallic after-taste, but not everyone carries water with them, and it’s nice to have the fountains as a backup for both dogs and humans on days when it’s really hot.

  • andy

    “FYI, I have never seen a human drink from the top part.”

    This seems to imply you have seen dogs drink from the top part . . . A reminder for when I go to the park with the kids.

    • I believe the implication the OP was going for is that they could have just installed the lower dog fountain without the upper human fountain because the humans don’t use it and the post makes it a target for male dogs, whereas a low bowl fountain would be less-likely to be peed on.

      • You think…

        • It looks like there has to be a post of some sort, unless the water fountain is changed to be motion-activated.
          In the current design, it looks like a human has to press a button on the post to activate the fountain for his/her dog.

    • My dog prefers to drink out the top part – she’s quite good at it.

  • As an aside, is there a comprehensive listing of dog parks in D.C. and surrounding areas? We live in the SW now and not sure where the closest one is (if any).

  • There are fountains similar to this in Pierce (but with a third fountain for kids) and in Kalorama and I’ve never once seen a dog pee in the fountain. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen, because I’m sure it has/does, but I’m in both parks at least once a day and have never seen it. Wonder what’s up with the Ward 3 dogs?

  • “Everyone makes mistakes.”

    Like complaining on a blog about a water fountain in a dog park.

  • One of the funniest postings in a long time. Ranks up there with the one about the guy peeing off his porch. LOL!

  • Dogs will not die if they have to wait until they get home to have a drink of water.

    • Now this is a valid point (plus, there are foldable bowls the owner can bring if it’s really a problem. DC’s dog parks suffer from the same problems as DC’s apartments. Instead of being very basic and in more places, they are fancy with unnecessary amenities and the quantity does not meet the demand for them.

    • I hope you never own a dog.

  • How about you don’t let your dog pee on it? My male dog doesn’t pee on fire hydrants or anything like that.

  • What I learned in this thread: dogs are pretty gross and unhygienic.

  • Wow, the whiney arrogance of this post made my head hurt. Just don’t use it, why complain like a brat?

  • Is this post serious? What dog doesn’t lick its pee-pee after it pees? What dog doesn’t lick its butt? What dog doesn’t sniff other dogs butts? What dog doesn’t want to wallow in other dogs poop? Is this poster serious? OMG what a genius thought to design this. Score A++++!!

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