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Dog Park Etiquette Lessons Coming To A Park Near You

Photo courtesy of the Off-Leash Area Advisory Committee
The Off-Leash Area Advisory Committee is hosting free dog training and park etiquette lessons at various city parks as a way to educate dog owners.

Austin area dog trainers are volunteering to help give free training and park etiquette lessons. The first one was held Saturday morning at Zilker Park. It’s an initiative from the new citizen-led Off Leash Area Advisory Committee (OLAAC).

“Because we have so many parks that are wide open spaces, we have many other people in the parks that are not dog owners," said Bill Fraiser, OLAAC Chair. "So we share the parks with the community and we want to ensure that our parks are safe for everybody. ”

The OLLAC is looking for people to adopt a park. Veronica Mailer, who owns three dogs, has adopted Zilker Park.

"When they told me there was a dog park here, I drove around and I was looking for fences but there were no fences, " Mailer said. "I thought this is unusual because this was new to me."

Mailer said her first objective is to install more "Mutt Mitt" stations in December. Most of the dog poop stations are located on the park's perimeter as people are entering.  Mailer said the group is also working on installing a kiosk information station that will outline park rules and have bulletins for volunteer park clean up days.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department launched an awareness campaign to encourage dog owners to pick up after their pets. The Bull Creek District Park in Northwest Austin was switched to an on-leash dog park this year because of high bacteria levels in the creek water.

“We are always looking for opportunities where we can introduce an off-leash environment," Fraiser said. "Right now we have two parks on the drawing board. One will be a fenced park and one will be a walking trail. ”

Fraiser says those new dog parks will be Mabel Davis District Park in Southeast Austin and Yett Creek in Northwest Austin. Two more could become off-leash dog parks, but Frasier said those plans are a couple of years off.

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