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For DogFriendly.com's Directory of Dog Parks
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Taking Your Dog To An Off-Leash Dog Park

Dogs love to run free.In many areas, however, it is not possible to allow your dog to run leash-free for many reasons. First of all, almost all cities and even small towns have leash laws. Dogs must be on leash when outside of a closed private yard. Also, it is not safe for dogs to run free in most areas. Car traffic is everywhere and we have all seen too many dogs out in the middle of a busy street. Even in rural areas there is risk as cars, although less frequent, pass by at very high speed. Dogs may also get into a fight or get attacked by another dog. Or they may get lost. This is especially true when traveling away from home in an area unfamiliar to your dog. So, unless you know the area and it has a lot of free space, it is best to keep your dog under leash control when traveling or outside of their familiar area. 

Most cities and towns have created fenced areas known as dog parks. These areas may vary in size from 6000 square feet to 9 or 10 acres. In very large parks and rural areas, some towns have created off-leash zones that are not fenced. In some cases they are bordered by a river or something to keep the dogs in an area. Many dog parks have a separate area for smaller dogs and larger dogs. There are well over 1,000 off leash dog parks in the U.S. and many more in Canada. See the directory here. 

Etiquette Tips for Dogs at Off-Leash Dog Parks

- Make sure your pooch is well-behaved around other dogs, people and children.

- Always keep your dog leashed outside of the dog park fence or outside of an area designated as off-leash. This includes taking your dog to the dog park from the parking lot. 

- Make sure that your dog is eligible to use the dog park. Most dog parks have rules for eligibility. Most require rabies shots and licensing if your district has licensing, many require other vaccinations as well such as Parvo and Distemper. Female dogs in heat are usually prohibited at dog parks and some dog parks require that all dogs using them be spayed or neutered. Some parks require local permits be purchased prior to using the park.

- Most dog parks require that you pick up after your dog. Please do so whether it is required or not. 

- Dogs may be more aggressive when with other dogs. Watch your dog at all times. If your dog is aggressive take your dog out of the park.

- If you want to take your dog or dogs to run in a dog park by themselves you may be able to find hours when the park is pretty much empty either in early morning or late evening.


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Before you visit an establishment or place, please contact them and verify that they are still dog-friendly and available, as policies and management change frequently. All places listed on DogFriendly.com require your dog to be leashed and under your direct control unless specified  otherwise by an establishments (including parks and beaches) management. Please be aware of local Breed-Specific Laws that may be in place where you are visiting. The information on this site is not a recommendation. DogFriendly.com, Inc. makes no warranties or representations of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation of the site or the information, content, materials, or products included on this site. If you find an establishment that no longer allows dogs, please let us know so we can remove them from our list. For full Rules and Regulations for Use of This Site, including the legal disclaimer and copyright notices,  click here before using the site
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