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FAQs

Below is a list of the FAQs which we have received and answered. If you have a question which you feel should be on this list, please submit it to us at faq@chelmsforddogassociation.org.

Q: Why are the FAQs so bare right now?
A: We are still gathering data and opinions and formulating plans for the dog park. The basic question (where) is addressed in the current FAQ. Other questions (and answers) will be added as they are presented. The Dogs FAQ will be updated as time allows.

Park

Rules & Regulations

rules_regulationsRules and Regulations for Chelmsford Dog Park

  1. The Town of Chelmsford (or its agent) shall not be liable for any injury or damage caused by dogs or handlers. Owners/handlers are responsible for any injuries caused by the dogs under their control. The dog park area is for dogs, owners/handlers and those accompanying them.
  2. Hours: Dawn to Dusk.
  3. Dogs are to be kept on a leash (not exceeding 6 feet) when outside the dog park fenced in areas.
    Do not have your dog unleashed between your vehicle and the gated entrance.
    Leash and unleash your dog inside the dog park, not in the double gated holding area.
    Do not open the outside gate if the inside gate is open.
    Be patient.
  4. Owners/handlers must carry leash at all times.
  5. No animals other than dogs permitted.
  6. Children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Children under 6 years of age are not permitted within the park. Handlers must be 16 years of age or older.
  7. Scoop your poop! Owner/handler must immediately clean up after their dog.
    Owner/handler must have in their possession and adequate number of bags, or other appropriate device, for removal of their dog’s waste.
  8. A maximum of two dogs per owner/ handler are allowed in the park at one time.
  9. Aggressive dogs are not allowed.
    If your dog becomes rough or unruly or exhibits aggressive behavior towards people or other dogs, leash him or her and leave the park immediately.

    • Dogs with a history of aggressive behavior, as determined by the animal control officer, will have park privileges revoked.
    • Dogs must display current license and must be properly inoculated, healthy (no contagious conditions, and parasite free. In the event of a dog bite or injury the owner/handler must exchange current tag info and phone numbers.
    • All bites must be reported to Animal Control at (978) 256-0754
  10. Female dogs in any stage of heat are not permitted in the park.
  11.  No puppies under 4 months of age are allowed in the park.
    Puppies under this age are not fully vaccinated and are vulnerable to disease and injury.
  12. Do not bring strollers, carriages, baby carriers, bicycles, skate boards, scooters, children’s toys, or dog toys into the park.
  13. Owner/handler must repair all holes dug by their dog under their supervision.
  14. Owner/handler must be in verbal control of their dog at all times.
  15. Owner/handler must remain in the park and keep their dog within view at all times.
  16. No commercial use of the dog park is allowed without prior agreement, including dog training classes, doggie daycare, dog walkers and/or advertisements.
  17. The dog park will be closed periodically throughout the year for maintenance.

ProhibitedKnow_The_Rules

  • Glass containers
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • The use of prong, spike, or choke collars
  • Human and dog food or treats
  • Human or dog toys

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Dog Park Suggestions

To maintain a safe environment for dogs of all breeds, temperaments, and sizes, most dog parks and dog runs have a set of dog park rules that dogs and dog owners must follow. Although there is similar “Dog Park Etiquette“, which is advisable to follow, these are additional suggestions. When you visit your local dog park or dog run, be sure to check out the specific  dog park rules, which are typically posted at the entrance to the dog area.

  • Keep dogs on leashes at all times except in designated “off-leash” areas. Dogs who are leashed may feel threatened by free roaming dogs.
  • Dog owners must have the leash in hand at all times. In the event of problems, dog owners should be able to quickly leash and remove their dogs from the premises.
  • Dog owners must remain in the park and keep their dog in view at all times, especially in “off-leash” areas. No dog may be unattended. Unattended dogs are more likely to get into trouble and stay in trouble than dogs who are being watched.
  • All dogs must have up-to-date vaccinations prior to entering the dog park. Keep a copy of current shot records on hand for police or animal control officials. Dogs who are up to date on vaccinations are less likely to spread certain communicable diseases.
  • Dogs must have current rabies and applicable license tags clipped to their collars at all times. Rabies tags are a proof of vaccination, while license tags show compliance with state and local laws.
  • Puppies under four months of age should not enter the park. Puppies under four months of age have not received all of their vaccinations. They should be kept away from the dog park for their own protection and that of other dogs.
  • No infants or small children are permitted in the dog park. Small children, especially running children, may be regarded as prey animals by strange dogs. Dogs may also feel the urge to protect children they know. This tends to cause aggressive behavior.
  • Owners are responsible for the behavior of their animals. This eliminates some of the responsibility of the dog park for damages caused by visiting dogs.
  • Aggressive dogs are not allowed in the park. Any dogs showing signs of aggression should be removed from the premises. Aggressive dogs tend to engage in fighting behavior. Any dog that engages in fighting and cannot be stopped by voice command does not belong in the dog park.
  • Female dogs in heat are not permitted in the dog park. Female dogs in heat can cause aggression in male dogs. Also, females in heat should be kept at home in order to prevent unwanted puppies.
  • Do not bring human or dog food inside the park. Small dog treats may be permitted, depending on the dog park or dog area. Obvious food can prompt aggressive behavior between dogs.
  • Do not give treats to any dog without the owner’s permission. Some dogs may have allergic reactions to some treats.
  • Do not bring any dog toys inside the park. Dogs may claim toys that do not belong to them, which may lead to aggressive behavior. Small toys may be a choking hazard to some dogs, especially larger dogs.
  • Owners must clean up any dog droppings made by their pets. Bag all droppings before depositing them in provided receptacles. Owners help keep the dog park clean and well maintained by picking up after their pets.
  • Owners must fill in any holes made by their pets. Owners who fill in holes dug by their pets help maintain the dog park.
  • Do not brush or otherwise groom pets inside the park. Pet grooming often produces loose hair which can soil the dog park.
  • Training may not be permitted in some dog parks. In those that do permit training, only licensed and insured dog trainers will be permitted to do training.

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Dog Park Etiquette

Dog Park Etiquette

Dog parks can provide exercise and socialization for dogs, but they can also provide problems if dog owners are not paying attention. This is no different from a playground for children. A group of children playing can turn into shoving and crying if children aren’t taught how to behave and parents don’t watch for signs of trouble. And all parents need to clean up after their children to keep the playground safe.

We all want the dog park to be the fun time for our dogs. A little understanding of dog behavior and an alert eye is all it takes for good dog interaction. A little personal responsibility for the park is all it takes for the park to stay nice and clean.

The first step is to only bring dogs to the park that are relaxed around strange dogs. I have two wonderful dogs. One of them loves other dogs. The other has been bitten in the past and is nervous. He shows his nervousness by barking and growling. Some may say this is aggressive, but listening to his growl, you will hear a whine. That whine is the sign that he is scared and unsure of the other dog. I do not bring him to places where strange dogs play. He has a few dog friends that visit and I don’t push him to meet more.

My friendly dog can be overly friendly but I have taught her to approach other dogs slowly. She will roll over if the other dog shows any sign of concern. This is a good trait for a dog because rolling over is like saying “I am not a threat and just want to be friends.”

My neighbor has a dog that lunges and pulls on the leash when he sees other dogs, cars, bicycles, etc. This lunging is a sign of aggression. It could be from nervousness or a more malicious. Either way, like my nervous dog,he should not visit a dog park.

Here are some signals that your dog is being friendly:

  • Approaches other dogs slowly
  • Approaches from the side (even if headed toward another dog, the final few steps should involve moving toward the side of the dog and then turning toward them)
  • Wagging tail
  • Play bow
  • Rolls over or allows other dogs to sniff
  • Barking in a playful manner (you need to know your dog’s different barks)
  • Not paying much attention at all (this doesn’t mean your dog isn’t interested, just that he is not concerned with the other dogs and therefore, he doesn’t need to focus on them)

Here are some signals that your dog is uncomfortable or not ready for a dog park:

  • Whining
  • Growling or unfriendly barking
  • Ears pinned back
  • Ears very forward
  • Tail up (if normally down)
  • Tail tucked between legs (usually means he is scared)
  • Sticking his head between your legs (He’s looking for you to protect him. Do so by leaving the park. He will love you for it.)
  • Showing teeth
  • Lunging or charging other dogs
  • Bumping his shoulder into another dog
  • Stealing toys
  • Jumping on people
  • Jumping on dogs’ backs

(See our FAQ on dog body language)

If you have a dog that may not be friendly enough for the park, you can help him improve. Try bringing him to training classes. Also, try bringing him to the park but do not enter it. Just let him sit in the car and watch the dogs. If he is calm, on the next visit, let him walk around the parking lot on leash. Do this and the training until your trainer says that the dog is ready for the dog park. (You want to get other people’s comments on the dog because we are all biased toward our wonderful animals and it is easy for us to miss something.) Then only let him in when there are just a few dogs. Even dogs that like other dogs can be overwhelmed in a crowd.

Here are the signs of a good owner and supporter of the park:

  • Only brings dogs friendly to other dogs and people
  • Always picks up after his dog
  • Watches his dog and other dogs for possible problems
  • Throws trash in receptacles
  • Lets others know if their dog needs picking up after
  • Never leaves the dog in the park without adult owner supervision
  • Picks up any toys or Frisbees if any dog shows possessiveness (even just 1 dog)
  • Removes dog immediately, at any sign of trouble
  • Keeps the dog leashed except in the fenced area of the park
  • Licenses the dog (just visit town hall for a form)
  • Donates to and/or volunteers for the park

Working together, the Chelmsford Dog Park can be a great place for our friendly dogs to exercise. Dogs that struggle with social situations are always welcome to walk in our other public lands on leash and under their owner’s control.

By Beth Logan, CDA volunteer trainer

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What can I do?

The Chelmsford Dog Association is a group of volunteers working toward creating and maintaining a dog park in the Town of Chelmsford. We also host assorted other events for dogs and their owners, as well as dog training sessions on the Town Common.

For direct donations, we have several fundraisers every year and are collecting requests for commemorative bricks to be laid at the entry to the park.

Additionally, we are currently organizing sponsorships for equipment for the park, as well as organizing volunteer labor opportunities. You will receive recognition for your sponsorship with a plaque that shows how you were involved. Continuing opportunities will be available once the park is open.

In addition to individual donation and sponsorships, we are asking local businesses for donations so that we can maximize the cash donations we receive to be used for the Dog Park expenses and to fund future programs throughout the greater Chelmsford area. Your support would be greatly appreciated, and we thank you for your consideration. We have many needs, and opportunities. Anything you can do is greatly appreciated!

Please contact us for more details if this will be possible. We can be reached via e-mail at cda@chelmsforddogassociation.org, or by mail at 23 Maple Rd., Chelmsford, MA 01824.

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