Q: Is there a separate area for small dogs? A: Small dogs aren't required to use the small dog area, but that space has been set aside for dogs under 30 pounds to reduce the risk of serious injury. While some large dogs can play safely with smaller dogs, a predatory instinct can be triggered in some dogs when a small dog makes a high pitched shriek and/or runs. Be aware of significant size differences and monitor play closely.
Q: What exactly does "no aggressive dogs" mean? A: Dogs that threaten, bully, or intimidate dogs or people are not allowed in the park. Dogs with a bite history (a bite to a dog or person that broke skin) are not allowed. See the Inappropriate Behavior section to learn more.
Q: Why aren't unneutered males and females in heat allowed in the park? A: Unfamiliar dogs, particularly those giving off a sexual scent, attract a lot of attention from other dogs. In an off-leash setting intact males and females in heat are a magnet for other dogs and can quickly become overwhelmed by the other dogs in the park. As arousal level increases in all the dogs present the risk of a fight also increases.
Q: Why can't I bring my puppy to the park? A: The 6-month age limit has been established to minimize the risk of disease, physical injury, and emotional trauma. Please see a professional trainer for puppy classes that involve puppy socialization for dogs 2-6 months old. It's important that your puppy have lots of great experiences with other dogs and learns good social skills BEFORE you bring him to an off leash park.
Q: My dog's on a correction collar, why can't I use it at the park? A: Correction collars (choke, slip, prong, pinch, shock, citronella, etc.) can inflict pain and injure the dog wearing the collar and the dogs he plays with during romp time at the park. Before entering the park correction collars should be removed and replaced with a flat collar for safety. If you are using a correction collar to walk your dog consider switching to a front clipping body harness such as Wonder Walker or Easy Walk for better control.
Q: My dog wears a body harness instead of a collar, why aren't they allowed at the park? A: A body harnesses can be a great tool for managing strong tuggers and preventing handlers from applying too much force to the throats of small dogs. In an off leash setting other dogs might grab them with their mouths or get their feet tangled in them during play, which can lead to panic and a fight. Replace your harness with a collar when you enter the park.
Q: Dogs love to dig; why is this against the rules? A: A park full of holes can lead to sprained ankles. If you see your dog digging a hole please get him involved in less destructive activity and fill in the hole.
Q: Why does my dog need to leave the park if another dog starts a fight? A: Regardless of which dog started the scuffle a quiet break is appropriate to lower the arousal level of each dog. If the incident was small you can re-enter the park after a quiet walk around the block to give your dog the opportunity to end the play session on a good note.
Q: I'm not sure how my dog will do, can I keep him leashed? A: Mixing leashed and unleashed dogs often leads to trouble because the leashed dog either experiences frustration or is quickly overwhelmed by the other dogs. All dogs within the park need to be off leash. If you have concerns about off-leash play contact a trainer about supervised playgroups so you can learn more about your dog's social skills before coming to the park.
Q: Why do I need to carry my leash while I'm in the park? A: In the event of a fight you may need to quickly leash your dog so you can leave the park without further incident.
Q: What does appropriate play look like? A: In older dogs a nice greeting followed by moving through the park to investigate things together is great socialization time. In young dogs play involves bouncy movements, often side to side, that is punctuated by short rests. Wrestling matches and games of chase that go on too long raise arousal levels and can escalate into scuffles. Monitor your dog's play and interrupt every now and then to lower your dog's arousal level to keep the play session friendly. Don't allow your dog to overwhelm another dog (excessive jumping on, pinning down, chasing). If you aren't sure how the other dog feels, call your dog to you and see if the other dog comes over to get your dog's attention or uses that opportunity to escape.