Some lessons learned at the PTC Dog Park

Steve Brown's picture

We have had several warm weekends in a row and the attendance numbers at the Peachtree City Dog Park are rocketing upward. The word has gotten out about the best place in metro Atlanta to have fun with the family pet. The user-funded park now has members joining from five different counties.

Before you bring your beloved canine to the dog park, please go to www.ptcdogpark.com and read the important information about the venue.

The dog park is easy on the city’s budget, being totally funded by membership fees (Fayette residents, $35; and non-Fayette users, $45) and park entry fees. The memberships are per household, not per dog. If you do not want to pay the 12-month membership, you simply pay $1 per visit to use the park.

Interestingly, we have had visitors from all over the state coming to see what we are doing with our much-admired dog park. In many cases, they leave exhausted after knowing the amount of work it takes to keep an active park full of dogs and people going.

The secret of the Peachtree City Dog Park’s success is its volunteers and generous patrons. Volunteers run every facet of the operation while many of the park members have voluntarily paid an additional $100 to buy a section of fence in the park. Due to member generosity, the dog park is about to embark on a new expansion.

Let me share some of the lessons that come from a couple of years of observation at the dog park.

First, proper training is your dog’s best friend. A dog that will not listen, disobeys and pulls hard on the leash is not the kind of animal people want to be around.

I have seen a bunch of dogs (including mine) that were dumped at the animal shelter simply because the previous owners did not train them. However, in the hands of knowledgeable owners, these same dogs are well behaved and a joy to be around. If you cannot afford a trainer, buy a good book on the subject. It is good for the dog and you.

Second, remember that big dogs are a big responsibility. The misbehavior you accepted from those cute little puppies all of a sudden becomes a major problem when they reach 40 pounds.

If you are not willing to put in the necessary time to train and exercise a big dog, do not get one. Keep in mind there are certain large breeds like Newfoundlands that are super-sized couch potatoes that require less active owners.

Third, spay or neuter your dog. Trouble usually begins with “intact” males. Neutering reduces male territorial instinct and makes for a more sociable dog. Similarly, do not bring a female in heat to the dog park as trouble will ensue.

Fourth, pick up the darn poop! Not only is it inconsiderate to leave your dog’s poop lying around for someone to step in, but is also dangerous, actually polluting our water supply.

Pet waste gets washed into our lakes and streams, decaying, using up dissolved oxygen and releasing compounds that are harmful to fish and other animals that rely on water. Pet poop, containing harmful bacteria such as E. Coli and fecal coliform, also contributes to bacterial contamination of our rivers, lakes and streams.

Every dog owner at the dog park picks up the poop or they are asked to leave and not come back. If you are walking the dog on the cart paths, be a responsible citizen and bring a couple of plastic grocery bags with you.

Fifth, cooperate with other dog owners and take responsibility for your dog. Just like children, dogs can get a little overheated during play and moods go sour. Each owner needs to take their dog and settle them down.

The beautiful thing about the dog park is novice pet owners quickly learn dog behavior and body language, realizing when it is time to step in.

Finally, there is a terrible trend occurring with young men aged 18 to mid-20s picking up pit bulls and pit-mixes as pets. The pit bull has become a distinctive status symbol for certain young men.

Unfortunately, many of these young men have no knowledge of training methods and lack the desire to properly train their dogs. Their disastrous entry into dog ownership is exacerbated when they choose not to spay-neuter their dogs.

The callous behavior of the local pit bulls has more to do with their unskilled owners than the dogs.

Do not get me wrong, we have some wonderfully trained pit-mixes around, but most do not fit that bill.

Owning such a large dog with extensive muscle mass and an extreme force of bite is a huge responsibility that most of these young men are not capable of managing.

If your family is interested in adding a dog to your home, I suggest you come visit the dog park first. The park gives you a wonderful opportunity to see all the different breeds and mixes to figure out which one works best with your family’s lifestyle.

When it comes to loyalty and companionship, dogs are number one.

Luckily, for people in our area, we have the best dog park in the state, which makes the experience all the more rewarding for you and your pet.

See you at the Peachtree City Dog Park!

[Steve Brown is the former mayor of Peachtree City. He can be reached at stevebrownptc@ureach.com.]

bladderq
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of Dog Waste & other Pollutants

Sorry for the delay in a comment. I agree w/ most of what Steve has written but take some issue w/: Pet waste gets washed into our lakes and streams, decaying, using up dissolved oxygen and releasing compounds that are harmful to fish and other animals that rely on water. Pet poop, containing harmful bacteria such as E. Coli and fecal coliform, also contributes to bacterial contamination of our rivers, lakes and streams.

I don't think much waste is a problem that is 50 feet or more away from a waterway. I do pick up waste that may be in someone's traffic pattern but I have always wondered, "Who cleans up after all the cats, many coyotes in PTC & all the other wild animals?"

Not really why, I wrote. I believe that clean water in PTC is under greater attack from the golf course. If the amount of sand from the sand traps found in Flat Creek & Cherry Branch is any indication of the level of insecticide, herbicide & fetilizer flowing into the Lake, heaven help us. A ride over the bridge westbound and a glace up Flat Creek will give you some indication of the sand problem.

That channel & the North end of the lake have never been dredged by the county to my knowledge. Has anyone tested the water for whatever other run-off has come from not only the golf course but all the other adjoining homes?

I'd be more worried about this situation than the dropping of a few hundred dogs away from the lake. PS I'd pay a $5.00 city license fee, even if cats were exempt but why should they be?

inkslinger
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PTC Dogpark Woof woof....

If all the dogs in this city were required to be permitted with a $5.00 per year fee, not only would we not have a budget deficit, we would be rollin' in the dough.
Meow...

Doug
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Joined: 09/07/2006
We have really enjoyed the dog park

We just found out about the park in February and it's great. Our dog Bailey has a butt sniffing good time over there.

jevank
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Joined: 07/30/2008
Steve Brown Groupie

Doug, you have been praising SB on this board since 2007 and the dog park since January. Kind of funny that you were praising it before you discovered it in February.

Cal has the archives up and running now, so try to check your previous posts before you post again.

The Wedge
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oooohhh

fact checking. cool.

I am not so good at the new site yet. I have not been motivated to chime in much.

jevank
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Wedge

I know what you mean about this site. There are things I just can't (or won't) get used to. Hopefully, Webmaster will figure it out.
I like when the topics segway into totally different things, but sometimes they move it to a different forum. And the forum topics don't show in the recent comment section, so I get tired of looking all over.

The Wedge
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Jevank, I know

If I do not remember where I posted, I am lost to find it unless you respond with a title like you did and I happen to log in to see if before it leaves recent comments. It is a great site and I like the look, I just need to have a way to see the previous day's worth of comments.

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