FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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Dog Park Facilities

What is DOGPAW?

DOGPAW (Dog Owners Group for Park Access in Washington) is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization created to build, maintain, and manage all off-leash dog parks in Clark County, WA.

What are the hours of the parks?

Daylight hours – specifically 7:00am to dusk.

Is there a fee to use the dog parks?

The Clark County off-leash dog parks are no-fee public parks. But, these parks could not exist without the DOGPAW organization, which relies on memberships and donations to fund the costs of maintaining these great parks. Memberships are $15/year for single membership and $25/year for family membership. The memberships expire each year on December 31st. Become a member of DOGPAW now and do your part to keep these parks open for your dogs’ health and happiness. Membership Form

Who takes care of the dog parks?

DOGPAW volunteers built, maintain, and manage all five of Clark County’s off-leash dog parks through memberships, fundraisers, and public donations of time, money, and resources.

Doesn’t the City of Vancouver or Clark County Parks Department maintain the dog parks?

Neither the City of Vancouver nor Clark County has the funds to maintain our off-leash dog parks. DOGPAW was created as a non-profit organization to raise funds, and build and manage the dog parks on land acquired through partnerships with the City of Vancouver, Clark County Parks Department, and BPA.

How many dog parks are in Vancouver and where are they?

DOGPAW has five dog parks in Clark County: East Vancouver, West Vancouver, Hockinson, Washougal, and Brush Prairie. Maps and directions to our parks can be found on our website and in our DOGPAW brochures found on the kiosks at all of the parks.

Is there an area for shy or small dogs?

Yes, Lucky, Dakota, Ross, and Stevenson parks all have shy/small dog areas that are limited to dogs ~14” tall or 25 pounds.

Is there a double-gated entry to the dog park?

There are double-gated entries at all of the dog parks. Dogs must be leashed and un-leashed in these entries upon entering and leaving the dog parks.

Are there restroom facilities at the dog parks?

There are no restrooms at any of our dog parks. There is a restroom at Pacific Park right outside of Dakota Dog Park however.

Is drinking water available for dogs at the park?

Lucky, Dakota, and Stevenson dog parks currently have water available (except in winter). Park users are encouraged to bring their own bowls for their dogs’ use only. Unattended water bowls will be picked up and discarded by park managers. Community water bowls are unsanitary and contribute to the spread of community diseases and parasites.

Who picks up dog waste?

Park users are responsible for picking up dog waste left by their dog(s) (Clark County Code Title 8 Chapter 8.11.060). We also encourage our park users to pick up “orphan” poops when possible; we all miss one of our own once in awhile. DOGPAW pays for waste removal from the waste receptacles at our parks.

Are bags provided to pick up poop?

DOGPAW encourages park users to bring their own waste bags. Many park users bring their extra plastic bags to help fill our kiosk bag holders. DOGPAW also provides some bag dispensers with bags at most of the parks.

Are there places to sit at the dog park?

There are a few benches scattered throughout our dog parks. DOGPAW does not encourage community “sit-ins” during visits to the park. Dogs tend to get bored and territorial which often leads to dogfights when park users congregate in one area for a period of time.

Dog Park Rules

Are there any rules?

Yes, there are rules that all park users must agree to follow upon entrance to any of our dog parks. Read the rules here.

Can I keep my dog on a leash in the park?

DOGPAW does not recommend bringing any leashed dog into the off-leash dog area for the dogs’ safety. Dogs will face “flight or fight” situations when approached by unleashed dogs. This can increase their anxiety/frustration levels resulting in aggressive or fearful behavior that may invoke unwanted behavior in nearby dogs.

Can I bring food and drink into the dog park?

ood and drinks should not be brought into dog parks.

Can I bring dog treats into the park for my dog?

Treats brought into an off-leash area are a major distraction and enticement to most dogs and may result in dogs jumping on people or otherwise making a nuisance of themselves.

Can I bring my children to the dog park?

This is a DOG PARK and is not a safe place for children to play. All children entering the park must be in the company of an adult and under close supervision at all times. A screaming, running or unattended child may become a natural target for dogs that are bred to herd, hunt, chase or guard. Even a playful dog can knock over or inadvertently run over a child.

Does my dog need a dog license to come to the dog park?

All dogs in Clark County must be licensed and either wear or have a current dog license in possession at all times in the dog parks.

Can my new puppy come to the dog park?

Dogs under 4 months of age are not allowed in the dog parks. By four months most puppies should have their required vaccinations.

Am I limited to the number of dogs I can bring to the dog park during one visit?

Park users should limit the number of dogs they bring to three. Any more than three dogs are hard to keep under control and observe at all times. Dogs, as pack animals, also often grow more bold and aggressive while running with their “pack”.

Why are unneutered dogs not allowed in the dog park?

Unneutered dogs over one year old are not allowed in the dog park for their own safety. Intact males can experience social problems. An unneutered dog’s high testosterone level can make him the target of harassment or aggression from other male dogs.

Are certain breeds of dogs not allowed in the park?

DOGPAW does not prohibit any dogs by breed at the parks.

Why am I asked to remove choke chains, prong or pinch collars?

Choke chains, prong and pinch collars are very dangerous for dogs during play activities. They can get caught on obstacles and other dogs’ collars and/or teeth causing pain and damage.

Can I drop my dog at the park while I run errands?

No dogs (or children) are to be left unattended in our dog parks at any time.

Does my dog have to have a current rabies shot to come to the dog park?

All dogs must be current on their vaccinations including rabies to enter the dog parks. Frequent checks by animal control officers have resulted in fines to park users.

Does my dog have to be leashed in the short distance between my car and the dog park?

Dogs must be leashed at all times in Clark County except when on the owners’ private property or in an off-leash dog park. This includes the parking lot outside of our dog parks. (Clark County Code Title 8 Chapter 8.15.020 and 8.15.040)

Dog Park Behavior

What kind of dogs should not go to dog parks?

Under-socialized, fearful, anxious or aggressive dogs should never be taken to off-leash dog parks. Many people mistakenly believe that dogs who fear or dislike other dogs just need more socialization. However, if your dog is fearful or nervous around other dogs, exposing her to the hectic environment of a dog park will only worsen her problems. Similarly, if your dog is aggressive toward other dogs, visits to a dog park might exacerbate her behavior and put other people’s pets at risk or ruin their enjoyment of the park.

What should I do if my dog misbehaves?

Any behavior that violates a park rule or results in disruption to other patrons at the park must be corrected immediately or offending dog(s) removed from the park.

What if I see someone breaking the rules?

We have no supervision at the parks. All park users agree to abide by all posted dog park rules upon entry to the parks. We are a self-policing community and we encourage park users to politely and respectfully remind rule breakers of their responsibilities. We do not encourage anybody to risk confrontation however.

Who is liable if there is a dogfight or personal injury at the park?

Park users assume all responsibility for their own and their dogs’ safety while in the dog parks.

Incident Reporting

What do I do if a dogfight occurs?

Remain calm and remove your dog from the area if it is not in the dogfight. Try making noise to startle or distract the dogs. If that doesn’t work you and the other dog’s owner should approach the dogs together. Separate them at the same time. Both of you should take hold of your dogs’ back legs at the very top just under the hips, right where the legs connect to the body. (Avoid grabbing the dogs lower on their legs, like by their knees, ankles or paws. Doing so could cause them serious injury.) Like you’d lift a wheelbarrow, lift your dog’s back end under his hips so that his back legs come off of the ground, and move backwards away from the other dog. As soon as you can, turn your dog away from the other dog.

DO NOT grab your dog by the collar. It seems like the natural thing to do, but it might startle your dog and cause her to turn and bite you. This kind of bite is like a reflex that’s done without thinking. Many people get bitten this way—even when their dogs haven’t shown any signs of aggression in the past.

After a fight stops, put both dogs on leashes and end the play session. Avoid giving the dogs another chance to fight. If the dog park is large enough, you can walk your dog to another area, far away from the dog she squabbled with. After she’s calmed down and relaxed again, try letting her off leash again to play with other dogs. If the park’s not that big, just call it quits for the day.

Dogs should be assessed for injuries and parties involved must exchange contact information before leaving. All incidents should be reported to DOGPAW through our MUTTLEY email (muttley@clarkdogpaw.org) and through our Incident Report Form.

What should I do about an aggressive dog?

All aggressive dogs and aggressive dog behavior is prohibited in the parks. Offenders should be politely asked to leave and/or their presence reported to Animal Control, and DOGPAW through our MUTTLEY email (muttley@clarkdogpaw.org) or through our Safety hotline (888-899-0025 ext 1)

What should I do if someone is bitten at the park?

Attend to first aid for all injured parties immediately. All injury incidents must be reported to “911”, Animal Control, and DOGPAW through our MUTTLEY email (muttley@clarkdogpaw.org). An Incident Report Form should also be completed and submitted to DOGPAW. It is important to record information from witnesses, exchange information among involved parties, capture license numbers, description of involved people and dogs, and photos if possible.

General

How can I get involved with the dog parks?

DOGPAW welcomes volunteers with all manner of skills/talents. Please complete our Volunteer Signup Form.

How can I contribute or donate?

Please make donations through the Donation button on our webpage or complete our Volunteer Signup Form to donate your time or resources.

How can I find information about advertising my business through DOGPAW?

Advertisers, sponsors, and vendors are encouraged to advertise at our dog parks and through our events. See our Advertisers page on our website for more information.

DogPaw Calendar

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