Get your pooch outside this summer

Massachusetts has some of the most beautiful parks and outdoor recreation areas, many of which are a hop, skip and a jump from downtown. But as you know, your furry friend is not welcome at all places. Our Department of Conservation and Recreation [DCR] however, is making a concerted effort to have dogs be a bigger percentage of park users.

 Dogs and their owners are welcome in DCR’s parks so long as dog owners and their dogs are respectful of other park users and neighbors. Leashed dogs are welcome at most DCR parks and recreation areas, however, there remains a number of locations where dogs are still not allowed mostly due to public safety, public health or habitat concerns.

There is a commitment from the DCR to continually revise its plans for pups, and some recently amended regulations have provided designated off-leash areas. This summer, the DCR will also hold online community conversations regarding a new “MassParksPaws” program encouraging dog owners to be ‘park partners’, with the ultimate goal of there being more places for you and your best friend to enjoy the great outdoors.

Check out the site for a comprehensive list of exactly where you can take your dog.

Obvious etiquette if you go

  • Dogs must wear collars with current tags, vaccines etc.
  • Dogs must be on leash at all times, even in parking lots
  • Clean up after your dog, dispose in suitable receptacle
  • Unless invited, do not allow your dog to approach other dogs or people
  • Keep dogs under effective control at all times
  • No show of aggressive behavior at any time
  • In designated off-leash areas, dogs must be under control either through voice control or electronic training collar. This means your dog:

o   is within sight at all times

o   comes immediately when called

o   stays at your command

o   does not charge or chase people, dogs, horses, or wildlife

o   is leashed when entering or exiting an off-leash area. The owner should have one leash in hand for each dog.