BEST OF DAYTON: Oak Grove Dog Park a fun haven for your four-legged friends

Communities across the country know that one of the best ways to attract new residents is to become “dog friendly.” This means offering amenities, like dog parks, that provide residents with places to socialize with their four-legged best friends.

Oak Grove Dog Park in Centerville was named Best Dog Park in this year’s Best of Dayton contest.

“Since opening, we have added an additional acre to the park,” Carrie Dittman, marketing and communications supervisor with the Centerville Washington Park District said. “That way we can rotate the parks, so the turf is always nice for the dogs to play.”

It’s no wonder Oak Grove dog park is popular among Centerville and Washington Twp. residents and visitors from other communities. The parks district didn’t just walk away after opening the park in 2007. Trees have been planted to provide more shade and a walking path has been added around the perimeter so owners can keep an eye on their canine companions without walking on the grass or dirt.

“We have water fountains on both sides and structures for shade,” Dittman said.

Like most dog parks, Oak Grove has rules for visitors, designed to ensure the safety of everyone. All visiting dogs must be up to date on vaccinations and should not be aggressive. Children under the age of seven and puppies under the age of four months are not allowed.

“We don’t allow toys, treats or human food,” Dittman said. “This helps to keep the dog fighting to a minimum.”

The process of developing the park began in 2002 when residents asked for the park and began raising money for it, Dittman said.

“We were all set to go but at the time, neighbors of the place where the park was to be located didn’t like the idea,” Dittman said.

The project was tabled and five years later, the dog park became part of the 102-acre Oak Grove Park. When it opened the dog park was situated on two acres – one each for small and large dogs.

The parks district continues to survey residents for their input on the dog park. Dittman said that though they rarely get requests for improvements , they are always looking for ways to go above and beyond for residents.

“I think dogs have become more and more important to families,” Dittman said. “Estimates are that about 40% of households own at least one dog and people are treating them like family.”

The parks district hosts special events throughout the year, including a special evening during National Dog Day in August of each year. This year the event included a “puppachino” station for dogs, a photo booth and giveaways. Another popular event is the dog egg hunt in the spring.

“We are very proud of the dog park at Oak Grove,” Dittman said. “It’s special for us to see that the community appreciates it and loves it as much as we do.”

Oak Grove Park is located at 1790 E. Social Row Rd. For more information about the park, including hours of operation, log on to

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