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  • Writer's pictureShayna + Courtney

Survey Response - Part 2

May 2024 Article for FBDP


Survey Response – Part II


Respondents to the recent Friends of Brewster Dog Park (FBDP) Survey were overwhelmingly positive of their dog park experiences, but many noted concerns with the dog park, which could ALL be solved if the rules were just followed.  The Brewster Select Board promulgated the rules with you and your dog’s safety in mind.  This is an awesome Brewster amenity, which is operated by the FBDP nonprofit volunteers, and cooperation in following the rules is essential for safe interactions and an enjoyable visit to our World Class Dog Park.  


Below I will provide an explanation as to why the following are NOT allowed in the park:


- Children Under 6-

Young children are hard enough to supervise alone and many dogs have never seen a “little person” and their presence may actually trigger a fear response.  There is always the possibility that a child could be bitten, knocked to the ground or injured.


- Dogs under 4 months-

During a puppy’s early months they do not have sufficient immunity to disease and they are more sensitive to experiences.  A rambunctious greeter at the park may be enough to cause your puppy to be uncertain of all dogs and create reactivity.  Socialization is important and a structured group puppy class with similarly aged young puppies is recommended.


 - Animals other than dogs- Retractable leashes-

Anything mechanical has the potential for breaking and retractable leashes don’t offer enough control and many times the dog is dozens of feet away from the handler pulling to get into the dog park.  Not every on-leash dog going to a dog park is friendly to other leashed dogs, but that same dog may be able to go into a dog park and be perfectly fine since it has freedom, is not restrained and has the ability to flee if they feel stressed or threatened.  Additionally, retractable leashes have been known to cause bodily injury to users and bystanders who become entangled in the leash.


 - Prong, pinch, spiked, or choke collars-

It is dangerous to the dogs and the humans to have these collars on in the dog park.  When dogs’ play they use their mouths and generally nip along the neck area and a tooth could inadvertently get stuck in the collar and now both dogs think the other won’t let go and a squirmish could ensure.  The collar could injure a human trying to break up the incident.


- Dogs in heat

There could be an intact male dog that cannot control itself and worse yet a fight could ensue over the female dog in heat.  A dog’s heat cycle lasts 2-4 weeks and to be safe, you should wait at least a week after your dog has stopped bleeding AND when her lady parts return to their normal size (not swollen).


-Smoking or using e-cigarettes

Small doses of nicotine can be lethal for a dog and synthetic flavorings in vapes can also be harmful to dogs.


-Dog Grooming

Accidental shedding happens, but grooming your dog at the dog park and creating tumbleweeds is rude and it will likely draw unwanted attention of the other dogs around them and this could cause an incident.  Groom your dog at home.


- Digging holes

Dog dig for a variety of reasons to include boredom, natural instinct (e.g. Terriers), to hunt prey, to get attention, to escape, for comfort, or it can become a compulsive behavior.  Dogs are natural hunters and digging puts dogs into prey drive (scent, chase, kill and consume) and at the dog park we want dogs in pack drive (social and enjoy interacting with other dogs and people).  Dogs should be stopped from digging holes and holes at the dog park should be immediate filled to avoid injury to both dogs and humans, as well as to discourage future digging.  There are grooming rakes mounted on trees near the sand features in both the large and small dog areas that can be used to fill holes. 


-More than three dogs per handler

It is difficult enough to supervise your dog and clean up after them, now multiply that by more than three and it would be impossible to adequately control and supervise them at the dog park.  We also want to ensure that there is space for all users to enjoy the dog park.


-Food, glass/breakable containers, alcohol & children’s toys

No food (people or dog) reduces the risk of possessive behavior and helps keep all dogs safe.  Some dogs may have intolerances or allergies to certain foods or treats. Easily and quickly consumed small training treats are allowed for the handlers dogs, but caution should be used to only treat your own dog when it is alone to reduce the risk of possessive behavior.  Children’s toys could be seen as a resource by a dog and a dog may try to claim or protect the toy thinking it is a dog toy.


-Bicycles, scooters, strollers, skateboards and similar

These items may be foreign to a dog and may cause a dog to bark at or chase these objects.  Instinctually, dogs are driven to chase prey, but in a dog’s mind, any moving object, particularly an object that they perceive as moving away from them can put them into prey drive and their natural predatory instinct.  There is no place for prey drive at a dog park.


As a reminder, if you are involved in an incident, please complete an Incident Report. 


Please attend a future no cost educational workshop offered by the Friends of Brewster Dog Park nonprofit, to learn more about reading your dog’s body language.


The next Educational Workshop will be in the Small Dog Area on Sunday, May 19, 2024 from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm.  Please note that the Small Dog Area will be closed to general use during the Workshop.


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