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Proper dog park etiquette key to safety, fun
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Brent Jantz regularly brings his dog Penny to Sunnyview Park where there are two pens, one for large dogs and one for small dogs.

• Children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult
• No aggressive dogs allowed. Those with a known history or who exhibit dangerous behavior are prohibited. Owners must immediately leash the dog and leave the park.
• Dogs must be licensed with tags displayed on collar.
• Use of park for training purposes not city affiliated is prohibited.


While most dog owners can attest to the culture of camaraderie at Turlock’s two dog parks, at the November Parks, Art, and Recreation meeting one local dog owner vocalized concerns about park goers not respecting the rules.

Jackie Ott spends an average of four hours a day at the dog park and while she is happy with the facilities, she stated the individuals at the park have begun to use the dog park as a petting zoo for their children. As an owner of a large dog, Ott cited concerns that children entering the premises and trying to play with the dogs will in turn provoke them to be aggressive.   

“In reality, it’s a dog park for our dogs and not to entertain the children,” said Ott.

According to the dog park rules, children under the age of 12 are not allowed to enter the gated dog park without the accompaniment of an adult, a rule which more than one dog owner has expressed concerns about.

“Sometimes kids enter without their parents,” said dog owner and park regular Lee Dayton. “You never know if something is going to happen.”

“And if it does you’re footing that veterinary bill,” added Brent Jantz.

 The dog park rules are posted at each site and states that owners must leave the park once aggressive behavior is exhibited by their pet. It also states that owners must remain within the fenced area in view of their dog to maintain verbal control at all times. Jantz noted that it is in the owner’s best interest to ensure that the dog is not aggressive and while the majority of dog owners are courteous, communication is key.

“I’ve had a woman ask if her bigger dog could come into the small dog pen to play with mine,” said Jantz, noting that many people will ask for the “green light” before letting pets play with one another. “There are those people who are concerned that their smaller dogs will be trampled for instance.”

The strength of dogs was a concern for Ott who stated that she has seen “them knock down adults. These dogs are strong.”

Teresa Lawson frequents both Sunnyside Park and Swanson-Centennial Dog Park with her small dog and noted that Sunnyside has two dog pens, one for larger dogs and one for small dogs, which helps to avoid unwanted tension amongst the pets. That, as well as dog owners monitoring their pets.

So what can owners of dogs of all sizes do to prevent tension amongst the pets and the public no matter at which park they are playing? It may sound simple, but follow the rules.

“Most owners definitely do,” said Jantz who also commended the City of Turlock staff for keeping the plastic bags well stocked so that owners can dispose of their dog’s excrements, another integral park issue. “It’s just important to be on watch and aware of what is going on.”