The Valmont Dog Park in Boulder has seen an increase this year in aggressive animal behavior, including dog bites, dog fights and fights between pet owners.
Animal Control Supervisor Janeé Boswell believes the recent park renovations, mild winter and high usage has directly contributed to the 19 calls for assistance her department has received in 2017.
Boswell wants dog owners who visit any of the city’s three dog parks to understand their dog may behave differently in a dog park than at home.
“A dog one-on-one at home acts a lot differently than it can out it public or in a dog park setting, or down on the Pearl Street Mall,” Boswell said.
“And so, that’s one of the things we try to educate people when we go and we patrol and we just try and make community contacts – letting them know their dogs’ behavior in this setting may be entirely different than what it would be at home, or in their back yard,” Boswell added.
Veterinary professionals like Amanda Mones, owner and administrator of the Alpine Animal Hospital is not a fan of dog parks, and recommends pet owners socialize their dogs in another setting.
“The problem with dog parks is that it’s not a controlled environment,” Mones said.
“The ideal would be going out on a hike or a walk, ideally on a leash. And when it comes to socialization, finding an area with animals that you know,” Mones said.
CU Sophomore Paige Wamsganz brings her Chihuahua Rio to the Valmont Dog Park out of convenience and for socialization – but she keeps him very close to her.
“He’s so small it can be dangerous with some of the other big dogs,” Wamsganz said.
“If they get too rough or something I have to make sure I can always be there for him to get him out,” Wamsganz said.
Pet owners, veterinary professional and Animal Control officers all agree on one thing –just like you’d watch a child at a playground, keep your eye on your dog at the park.