SMART Dog Park professional certification program aims to change the way cities plan dog parks


This new program will bring the experience of veterinary professionals and other training and guidance into the planning and development of dog parks.

Image provided by Wagtown

Image provided by Wagtown

With demand for dog parks on the rise,1 one nonprofit organization is looking to ensure veterinary professionals provide guidance so that communities can create better, healthier, and safer dog parks. Wagtown has launched the SMART Dog Park professional certification program to do just that.

This national program is designed to professionalize dog park development and management with a 30-day program that provides CEU-rated education and certification. SMART stands for Safety, Manners, Awareness, Responsibility, and Training. Trainees in the program will learn the ins and outs of dog park creation and be trained to consider every variable when it comes to the dog-friendliness of their projects. This includes connecting with and consulting their local veterinary practices to learn about crisis response, disease prevention, and environmental hazards.

The certification program offers a self-paced set of short videos, live AMA (ask me anything) sessions, collaborative virtual workspaces, webinars, plan development tools, tests, and offers an ongoing supply of resources to plan, create, evaluate, and improve.

"It's time to redefine dog play in our communities. Professional certification from SMART Dog Park creates a new reality where off-leash areas and other play spaces are more sustainable, safer, and much more a part of the fabric of the town." Beth Miller, Wagtown founder and creator of SMART Dog Park.

According to the release, a recent study conducted by Wagtown showed that 77% of parks and recreation do not have a master plan to build their dog parks. Additionally, 67% of leaders report that training for dog park play development and management is "Learn as you go, with no real structure.”2

“I’ve learned so much about dog friendliness and dog parks, but knowledge is not enough. It can’t stop with me. I needed a sustainable way to make best practices and training available for communities everywhere. SMART Dog ParkProfessional Certification is the solution,” said Miller.

The new initiative will debut at the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association Conference in February 2022.


  1. Spencer A. Dog parks. National Recreation and Park Association. November 2, 2018. Accessed February 18, 2022.
  2. SMART Dog Park professional certification program created by Wagtown earns national recognition. News release. Wagtown. February 17, 2022.
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