SAFETY FACTS FOR VISITING THE DOG PARK

1. STAY AWARE. People need to be aware at all times. Pups are off leash in the park and are not always aware of what they are running towards when in groups, who they are jumping on, or knocking into. Collisions with dogs in parks can result in serious injury. Dogs jump, if you are not paying attention or have a latte in hand, collisions can occur and a steaming cup of java can end up on someone else or a dog. It is a good idea to remember to keep your knees loose while in the park just in case you inadvertently get knocked into by a dog.

2. BE SAFE. Enter the park aware of your surroundings. Police presence is noted; however, it's best to go to the park with another person and always have your cell phone available in case of emergency. Dial 911 in cases of emergency.

3. MOVE AWAY FROM ENTRANCE. Entrances to the dog park can be highly active. You want to remember not to loiter at the entrance and show courtesy to people with leashed dogs that are moving in and out of the park. Keep in mind that many dogs become protective while on leash and even if they play inside the park off leash, the entrance to the park can sometimes develop protective behavior in your dog.

4. WALK THE PERIMETER. Many people like to settle into the middle of the park. By walking or standing off to the perimeter, it is less likely for a dog to run into you. Keep some space behind you just in case your pup wants a place to get by.

5. DRESS APPROPRIATELY. This is a dog park and in the canyon it can be hot, cold, wet and very dirty for dogs and humans. If you decide to wear your tennis whites, don't be upset if they are not white when you leave because dogs don't do laundry.

6. RESPECT THE WILDLIFE. We are located in a canyon and while our park is fenced in, rattlesnakes, coyotes and bobcats have been spotted in the park or close by. Use caution in these situations.

7. BE RESPONSIBLE. Be responsible for your dog. No one likes an owner who acts as if their dog is not doing things they shouldn't or avoiding picking up their dogs poop. This park is a wonderful place for dogs to play and sometimes people want to use it as if it is their own private back yard. Also, be conscientious when throwing the ball using plastic devices and that if the park is crowded, be courteous and stop.

8. BE KIND TO OTHERS. New people entering the park can be intimidated by groups of regulars- take the time to get to know our newcomers and their dogs or at least say hello. Even if you think you are an expert on dogs, don't discipline someone else's dogs or offer advice unless it's asked for. Even if you think your dog is better trained, keep this to yourself and avoid confrontation with others at all possible times.

9. CHILDREN. Small children should never be left unattended or without close supervision in the dog park. Many dogs do not have experience being around small children nor their quick movements. Do not believe that because your pet is fine with small children that other's dogs will be. Always keep children away from water bowls, lying on blankets, playing in the dirt or trees, and entrance gates. This is a dog park and not conducive to child play. Strollers or toys of any type should never be brought into the park.

ATTENTION PARENTS

NOT EVERY DOG IS CHILD FRIENDLY
Do not assume that because your dog is good with your children, that other dogs will also be good around them in a public dog park. Many dogs do not reside with children in the home are afraid of children and quick movements.

BRING YOUR CHILDREN INTO THE PARK AT THEIR/YOUR OWN RISK. We recommend that children under 8 years of age not be permitted in the dog park but if you choose to ignore this recommendation, for their safety, keep children under your close supervision and within arms reach at all times. This is a park designated for dogs to be off-leash and is not conducive to child play - the possibilities of accidents to children are predictable so best to keep your small children in parks designed for them and their safety. Allowing small children to play with toys, sit on blankets, eat food, play unsupervised in the dirt, on the hillside, in the bushes, on the benches, and especially by the water bowls or gates is exposing your child to serious risk of injury.

CHILDREN SHOULD NOT BE BROUGHT INTO THE DOG PARK IN STROLLERS! Strollers are not allowed with inside the gates or in the dog park. Moving, squeaking, rolling instruments such as strollers, bikes, skateboards will often initiate flee or fight instincts, anxiety in dogs, and unpredictable behavior- particularly among dogs not exposed to these things.

KEEP BABIES AND TODDLERS OUT OF THE REACH OF DOGS! You may think that the baby slings and packs are safe because your child is held up close to your body; however, dangling feet are stimulating to dogs. Dogs may jump up as if playing with a toy.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN
SMART BEHAVIOR AROUND DOGS:

1. Do not run or scream. Running and screaming are invitations for dogs to chase.

2. Do not touch or take a dog's ball. Children should never touch another dog unless they speak to the owner first.

3. Ask an adult before petting an unfamiliar dog. All dogs are potential biters no matter the size of the dog. Just because a dog is small it does not mean he is safe and can't do damage. Wait for the dog to approach you instead of offering your hand. Most dogs are particularly sensitive to people who reach for their heads to pet them. It is always wiser to allow the dog to smell and gain a sense that they are unthreatened.

4. Never make eye contact with an unfamiliar dog. Acting normal and allowing the dog to feel unthreatened is important.

5. Do not touch dogs while they are resting or sleeping. This is especially true if they are under a bench or close to their owner.

6. Do not hug or kiss dogs that are not your own. No matter how friendly a dog seems, it is never wise to put a child's face close to a dog.

7. Avoid rough play with dogs or other children while in the dog park. If a dog growls at you, avoid eye contact by looking immediately away. Do not run away. Instead, back slowly away, continuing to avoid eye contact. If you have something in your pocket like a ball toss it to distract the dog as you continue to back away.

TENNIS BALL SAFETY CONCERNS

Everyone loves the pictures of dogs holding multiple tennis balls in their mouths, or to watch their dog "fetch the ball." DID YOU KNOW THAT TENNIS BALLS CAN BE FATAL TO DOGS? Locally, more than 100 dogs a year die as a result of getting a tennis ball stuck in their throats which caused choking, asphyxiation and death. We have had 2 dogs that have died in our park by choking on tennis ball which is why FLPDB wanted to make a special message about this concern.

As many dogs love to chase the tennis balls in the park, it is very important that while dogs play with tennis balls that the owner be aware and watch their dog at all times. Keep in mind that if the tennis ball can fit into your dog's mouth, it is probably too small to be used for your dog. For best precaution, buy a ball that would just fit inside the teeth at the maximum open point. If you see small tennis balls (or any dangerous toy) in the large dog park, please remove them and place them into the small dog park.

In addition to choking, when dogs chew on the tennis balls, they can tear apart the rubber and swallow it, causing intestinal blockage and other problems. Other concerns raised by dog owners has been the dental wear, toxicity of the chemicals used to produce the tennis balls, nano-technology effects, dyes, and latex allergies which you can speak to your vet about.
Also consider, please throw away any pieces of tennis balls and patrons are asked not to "cut/splice open" tennis balls in the park as it has been brought to our attention that some dogs like to chew on them. Additionally, squeaky balls (and toys) can create problems when there are other dogs in the park. Squeaky balls can cause many dogs to become agitated or desire to steal the ball and often initiates bad behavior among the dogs that participate in this behavior, causing fights not only among dogs but their owners as well. Please leave the squeaky toys at home and do not bring them to the park.