Dog Park Rules

In order to make the dog park safe and enjoyable to all, we have rules that we have created with your safety in mind:

All dogs must have a current valid license and Pooch Pass from the Town of Swampscott affixed to their collar.

Why?  Well, when you get your license, you need to have proof of rabies vaccinations.  And we’d like to know that all the dogs in the park are up-to-date on their vaccinations.  This is for the safety of your own dog (s) as well as others.

Money from the sale of pooch passes will help to support the park, like emptying the trash and other general maintenance.

Can other towns use this?  Yes, but that individual would need to go through the motions of obtaining a pooch pass.

Dogs must remain on leash until inside the double-entry gate.

Why?  Well, the town has leash laws.  And until you're inside the dog park, your dog should be on a leash.  It is especially important to keep your dog leashed and out of the cemetery.  Show respect for the surrounding area and keep your pet safe from local wildlife.  Plus, you don't want to lose them.  Trust us - once they see that park, they will lose their heads a little.  Can't blame them.

Inside the park, dogs must be off-leash.

A dog often feels vulnerable being on a leash while other dogs around it are off-leash.  The leashed dog knows that it cannot maneuver freely and cannot get away if it wants to, and this sense of vulnerability may lead to aggression.


Further, you should remove metal collars like prong or "pinch" collars, choke chains, and spike collars.  Chain collars can become caught on the fence.  There is also the risk of other dogs breaking their teeth on the collar, especially if engaging in mouthy play.

Park users must pick up after their dogs and properly dispose of any waste. Waste receptacles are provided.

We want to maintain a safe and clean place for dogs to play and people to gather. Dog waste can carry diseases and viruses. When not picked up, it could transfer to other dogs and that means potential vet bills.

Plus, it's just good manners. With bags and waste receptacles provided, we've made it easy for you. And do please note that tossing bags over the fence is NOT proper disposal of waste.

Let's be kind to one another. If you see someone who missed their dog pooping, just gently tell them. And if you're the one being told, say thanks and remedy the situation; it's not a personal attack. We would gently suggest putting down your phones and being present. 

We will be self-policing initially, but will involve animal control and possible fines if we notice repeat offenders.

Limit of three dogs per person per visit.


In order for a fun, successful dog park experience for everyone, you must be in control of your dogs.  As a group, we felt three was the maximum one person could adequately monitor and control.  Also, dogs from the same "pack" are more likely to team up on an outsider, and we want to encourage equal play.

Prohibited: Prong, spike, or choke collars.


Chain collars can become caught on the fence or another dog and choke your pup to death. There is also the risk of other dogs breaking their teeth on the collar, especially if engaging in mouthy play.

 

Your dog can sustain injury or puncture from other dogs jumping or wrestling with them. Most importantly, these collars are for use as a negative reinforcement training tool, and free play should not be a negative experience.

Prohibited: Food and Treats.

You know how excited your dog gets over treats?  Imagine that times the number of dogs in the park.  You don't want to be the focus of their energies.  And we don't want to retrieve you from a situation where you're cornered like in a bad Western movie.  Also, some dogs are food aggressive, and we don't need to introduce that into play time.

You want to bring your iced coffee in?  Go ahead.  Just know that the minute you put it down, it will be slobbered upon.  And please note that the dog waste receptacles are for dog poop only - not breakfast sandwich containers, bottles and the like.  Take those home and recycle them.

Prohibited:  Female dogs in heat and dogs with open wounds.


An unfixed female dog is going to get everyone all wound up, through no fault of her own.  It doesn't matter if all the other dogs in the park are fixed....they will still have some vague memory of the call of the wild. We want to limit instances where dogs can get aggressive.

Open wounds would be at high risk of infection, and likely garner too much interest from other dogs.

To discourage aggressive behavior, SPOT recommends that dog owners/guardians only bring dogs that have been spayed or neutered. Intact males must be closely supervised.

A non-spayed female is going to garner a lot of unwanted interest. And non-neutered males, in particular, are much more likely to get into fights with other male dogs.

In the most basic sense, we want to limit the opportunities for fights.

Dogs exhibiting aggressive behavior shall be removed immediately.


Dogs displaying significant aggression toward other dogs, or any aggression toward humans, must IMMEDIATELY be leashed and removed from the park for the day.  This is not only for the safety of other park users; it can also help with the dog's own education. A dog soon realizes that aggressive behavior earns it a one-way ticket out of the park, and many dogs quickly learn to mind their manners.

You may find that your dog gets along better with certain dogs, or with certain types of dogs, than with others, and you may want to avoid entering the park when there are dogs with whom your dog has a problem.

A dog that repeatedly displays aggressive behavior with a variety of dogs is not a good dog park candidate and should stop coming to the park.

Puppies must be at least six (6) months of age before entering the dog park.


Dogs younger than 6 months typically do not have all the shots they need to fend off disease, so it's really for the safety of the young dog. Further, they may not have the strength to fend off unwanted behavior.  For a successful dog park outing, your dog should be reasonably confident and sociable; give that pup some time to get the home routine down before introducing it to the park.

Dog park hours are sunrise to sunset daily (unless closed for maintenance or weather).

All town parks follow these rules.  Further, there will be no lighting at the park.  We will not be plowing the park in the winter and will be back to the beach for those snowy months.

Dogs must be accompanied by a guardian at least 18 years of age and with sufficient strength to control the dog(s). Guardians must remain with and supervise the dog(s) at all times.


If things get out of hand, it often requires strength and maturity to intervene.  In terms of supervision, if a person is off in their car texting, how can they know if their dog is about to get into a bad situation?  We gently suggest that you be truly present in the park.  Leave the newspaper at home, and put the phone down.  You'll find it rather enjoyable just watching the antics.

Children 10-17 years of age must be accompanied by an adult and be able to ward off unwelcome attention from other dogs.

A child under eighteen needs adult supervision in order to make good decisions for his/her own safety at the park.  Further, if a skirmish breaks out between dogs, it can be scary and requires maturity and strength to resolve.

Children under 10 years of age are not allowed in the dog park.

The dog park can be a very active place.  Sometimes, dogs who are running fast and chasing one another can crash into humans.  We've seen full sized men floored.  Imagine what could happen to a smaller child.


Kids want to run and leap and yell; all these things can cause unwanted attention from dogs.  Some dogs haven't been socialized to children, so while your dog may be a big marshmallow, there could be another in the park with a strong prey drive who will see a running child and take pursuit.

Further, you're supposed to be supervising your dog(s).  If something happens with the dogs that require intervention, where are you going to put your child that you've been holding?  SPOT is fundraising for benches and picnic tables (and certainly takes donations) so that you can leave your children outside at a table if you so wish.

Our rules are designed for your safety and the safety of other park attendees.

Park users and dog owners assume all risk related to dog park use. The Town of Swampscott nor SPOT nor Bookman Web or its affiliates assumes any liability or responsibility for injuries to any person or dog or any damage to personal property. Use at your own risk.

Big Blue SPOT is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization that relies on private donations to keep our park running. 

Our Tax ID# is 26-3831931.

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