Alaqua dog park looking to expand

Nathan Cobb | 315-4432 | @WaltonSunNate |

A local dog park plans to take on an expansion project in the near future.

Alaqua's Unleashed Dog Park is located in Santa Rosa Beach and its owner, Laurie Hood, said she recently met with the Alaqua's board of directors for help capitalize on the park's potential.

"We feel like (the park) could really use the upgrades," Hood said, "and we've been putting together a sponsorship package, and we're hoping we can get some community involvement."

Originally, the park's 18 acres was a landfill that was thought to be unusable — around half consists of dense wetlands.

Before Alaqua claimed the property, a different dog-loving group controlled the site. They started the dog park, but were unable to maintain the project so the county reached out to Hood in an attempt to keep it from closing.

"The county owns the land and then we have a contract with the county to operate the park," Hood said, who shared Alaqua is responsible for funding grounds keeping, additional fencing and other maintenance fees.

Currently, they're working to gain sponsorships to boost park renovations.

Hood hopes to eventually install restrooms, a concession stand and some water features for the pups to play in.

The dog park also offers agility training courses six days a week and their trainer, Christina Flynn, plans to start a new beginners classes next year.

Their current schedule is the following:

  • Wednesdays: Beginner agility at 9 a.m.
  • Thursdays: Intermediate/advanced agility at 7:30 a.m.
  • Saturdays: Intermediate at 7:30 a.m., advanced beginner/intermediate at 8:45 a.m. and beginner at 10 a.m.
  • Sundays: Advanced agility at 8:30 a.m.

The park is open to the public and has accommodations for small and big dogs. Hood said she prefers visiting dogs to be spayed or neutered — to cut down on aggressive tendencies. Even if a dog isn't necessarily aggressive, but has a hard time being friendly toward others, its owners should visit the park when its not crowded or use a smaller fenced in areas.