Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Dani Hemmat

Doggie do’s and don’ts


September 8, 2018

Dani Hemmat

Reuben enjoying the voice and sight control open space area at Gunbarrel Hill.

While the long, hot dogs days of summer ended in mid-August, if you are a dog owner, you know that every day is a dog day. Feed the dog. Pet the dog. And walk the dog.

Every dog, no matter how small, needs to get out and about for their health and sanity. Whether it’s an elderly greyhound, a three-legged retriever or a border collie puppy, dogs need walks. And it’s good to know some local dog rules and etiquette when you’re out roving with Rover.

Boulder County requires all dogs to wear a current rabies tag and an ID tag. There’s no county dog license. Believe it or not, dogs don’t have to be leashed in unincorporated Boulder County. However, dogs must be under voice and sight control at all times. That means that you must be able to see your pooch at all times, and she must turn on a dime to come to you when you call.

While there is no leash law, there is basic etiquette that your dogs and you should follow if you don’t want a complaint from a neighbor and a visit from a Boulder County Animal Control officer. If your dog is enthusiastic and tends to rush people and other dogs, you might want to curb that tendency. Your furry pal might be the biggest, sweetest marshmallow who only wants to greet everyone with love, but the people he’s rushing at don’t know that.

A good practice is to leash or control your dog when you see another person. You can always wave and call out, “May my dog approach?” If the person is receptive, they’ll let you know. However, you can’t assume that everyone loves or feels safe around dogs, or that their dog is well-adjusted with all other dogs. Better safe than sorry, and better courteous than presumptuous.

If you like to walk your dog off-leash in some of the Gunbarrel areas designated for Sight and Sound tags, you must take the free class that Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks offers. After completing the easy, one-hour class, you’ll need to purchase the tags and make sure that the tag is always visible when you take your dog to those designated areas, which are usually denoted with signs. Otherwise, a fine could be in your future, as those areas are patrolled.

As far as other open space areas, each has its own rules and regulations about dogs. You can find out before you go at www.bouldercounty.org/open-space/parks-and-trails.

No column about walking your dog would be complete without bringing up the business of doggy doo-doo. To be a responsible dog owner and a courteous citizen, it’s important to pick up after your dog. Aside from the fact that no one wants to step in it—or have your dog step in it!—dog poop can contaminate the water supply, even if you’re not leaving the dung by the water. A single gram of dog feces can contain 23 million coliform bacteria, which can cause serious health issues for both people and dogs. And just bagging it and leaving it by the trail doesn’t count. No one wants to look at plastic bags of doo when out in nature.

If both you and Fido practice Leave No Trace principles, in both the physical and social sense, then we can all enjoy having our dogs out and about with us for years to come.


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