Did you know Edmonton has over 40 outdoor areas where dogs can play off-leash? There is now even an indoor place, The Lucky Donkey, which is great for our pugs who don’t get to spend much time outside during our cold and snowy winters.
The City of Edmonton website has an interactive map that shows the location of all of the off-leash sites within the city limits. By clicking on the specific park you can also find directions and learn what activities are available.
Off-leash parks can be a great space for our dogs to run, fetch, and socialize with other dogs (and people), but remember there are rules and a certain etiquette that must be followed in order to keep the spaces safe and enjoyable for all.
Here are some things to remember (from the City of Spruce Grove):
- Pick up after your pet. It’s not only the courteous thing to do, but it’s also the law. The City’s Dog and Domestic Animal Control Bylaw says that if your dog poops in a public space, you need to scoop it up and throw it away. If you don’t, you could be the recipient of a $75 fine for the first offence and $100 for any subsequent offences.
- Be in control of your dog. As a pet owner, you need to make sure your dog will listen to and obey basic commands. This helps ensure the safety of both you and your pet, as well as other people and dogs using the park.
- Keep sick pets at home. If your dog is under the weather with something like fleas, lice or kennel cough, they shouldn’t be interacting with other dogs until they are feeling better. The same goes for unvaccinated dogs; keep them at home until they get those shots!
- Bring any necessary supplies. This can include poop bags, a leash and drinking water for your dog. But leave the treats at home – they can attract other dogs and create unwanted behaviour, such as ganging up on your dog or following you around the park.
- Keep your dog on a leash until you are inside the designated park area.There can be a lot of vehicle traffic at dog parks and you can’t rely on other drivers to watch out for your dog, so keep them safe by using a leash.
- Use caution when bringing toys. You may want to bring a ball or other throw-toy for your pup, but proceed with care. Some dogs are fine with sharing, but toys can also cause guarding or territorial issues that create an unfriendly environment within the park.
- Keep children nearby. Kids are welcome at the off-leash parks, but it’s important to keep an eye on them and make sure they are behaving appropriately. Children who run or yell can frighten or intimidate dogs, or they may be seen as prey and be chased by the dogs. Children should also never approach unfamiliar dogs.
- Watch for running dogs – especially if you have small children with you.It doesn’t take much for an accidental bump or collision to cause unintentional harm.
- Pay attention. An off-leash park is not the place to sit down and visit with friends or talk on your cell phone while your dog runs around unsupervised. You must watch your dog at all times and give the situation your full attention to ensure your dog is not being bullied or pestering other people and pets.
The City of Edmonton also has a Dog Off Leash Ambassador Program that is seeking volunteers to help improve the quality of our off leash areas.