Member Blog September 16. 2019

Agility Demo

Only a couple more days left to register for this free event – so if interested – you really need to reserve your slot NOW. It is First Come, First Serve with limited twenty minute time slots – check it out . . .

Agility Demo Dates

  • Saturday, September 21 – 10:00am to Noon
  • Sunday, September 22 – 1:00pm to 3:00pm

If the system allows you to register – that is the confirmation that you are officially signed up. A couple days prior to the event, you will get an email from Judi to confirm your 20 minute time slot within your selected date.

Agility Tips

If you have not yet received the SWCDP Agility Tip Guide – please go to this link for an excellent list of tips to help you enjoy our agility course with your 4-Legged, complements of our member, Betsy, who is a top notch agility trainer. We want all of our members to enjoy our agility course – so even if you are not participating in the Agility Demo – you will benefit from picking up a few tips from the guide. It’s really lots of fun for your 4-Legged – and you, too. 

Betsy’s Agility Tips

Puppy Pool Party

We are struggling to post a few photos on our website due to insufficient photos. We have no photos of the pools being enjoyed or the tether ball in action and no photos for the Winner and Runner Up from the 10:0am Peanut Butter Licking Contest or the name (we have photo) of the Runner Up from the 1:00pm contest.

For the record – we had six pools set up – but amazingly, no one took photos (or sent to us) any pool pics of our pool party. Trust us – our water loving dogs – did indeed enjoy dipping into every pool.

Last call for pics – do you have a couple shots that are particularly cute or expressive – or that will help us with our Event Photo Essay? We are trying to tell the story in pictures… Send today!


  • Tuesday Morning Closing
    • Remember, dog park is closed Tuesdays from 8:00am to Noon – to allow for grass cutting and other maintenance work.
  • Pools and Hoses
    • Pools and Hoses will be put away for the season on Sunday, mid-day, Sept 22.
    • In seasons past, we kept the pools until late October – but this year – we are forced to close early. The City Parks Dept has inquired about the extremely muddy area on their field near our pool pad (Water Station 3). This is due to our humans running the hose too much and emptying the pools too frequently. We have asked members to be frugal with the water consumption because the excess water has nowhere to go – it accumulates in the surrounding soil. The conditions have gotten so bad now that the City cannot ride their mowers in the muddy area!
  • Winter Schedule Coming
    • Water Stations 2, 3, 4 will be closed November 4 (you can fill water buckets directly from faucets at Stations 3 and 4 until then)
    • Water Station 1 will open November 4
    • Water Station 5 (Dog Wash) remains open year round
  • Set up for Halloween Event – begins in late October
  • Winter Shelter in Main – early to mid November
  • Winter Climbing Maze in Main – early to mid November
  • Straw Bales for turf coverage – early to mid November

Member Blog Sept 10, 2019


Back by popular demand – we are offering another free Agility Demo and are now taking registrations for the upcoming event. It is First Come, First Serve with limited twenty minute time slots – so, if you are interested, please go to the link to reserve your spot.

Agility Demo Dates

  • Saturday, September 21 – 10:00am to Noon
  • Sunday, September 22 – 1:00pm to 3:00pm

If the system allows you to register – that is the confirmation that you are officially signed up. A couple days prior to the event, you will get an email from Judi to confirm your 20 minute time slot within your selected date.


If you have not yet received the SWCDP Agility Tip Guide – please go to this link for an excellent list of tips to help you enjoy our agility course with your 4-Legged, complements of our member, Betsy, who is a top notch agility trainer. We want all of our members to enjoy our agility course – so even if you are not participating in the Agility Demo – you will benefit from picking up a few tips from the guide. It’s really lots of fun for your 4-Legged – and you, too. Click the link below.

Betsy’s Agility Tips



If you have lost anything this season – be sure to check our Lost and Found – the blue container in the entry area. Currently, there are an increasing number of items, including keys, tags, collars, sunglasses, etc.

NOTICE: A pair of prescription eyeglasses were found during the Pool Party on Saturday. They can also be claimed in the L&F. And, someone left a lightweight sweater/hoodie.


Stay away from the Poison Ivy around the Agility Storage Area – but know that it will soon disappear.

We found our “Hero” – Chris, Buster’s human, agreed to be our Poison Ivy Buster – and he will be dealing with it over the next week or two. Thanks, Chris!

PUPPY POOL PARTY was a blast!

We had an excellent turnout which ebbed and flowed for five hours and we saw many old friends and lots of new smiling faces and wagging tails, too. Thanks all for coming – hope you had a wonderful time.


We are working on a collection of photos for the event – if you have a special photo (one or two limit) from the event that you would like to share – send it now while we are creating the document. We plan to publish this in next week’s member mailer and it will be posted on our website. We’d like to elaborate on our collection of photos as a representation of our Puppy Pool Party. Send to Judi at


This year’s Attendance Prize Winner is Ben and Max. Max, a young Akita male, will get a free membership for SWCDP 2020-2021 Season. Congrats!


We received $4 cash, dropped into our black, secure mailbox – but we do not know what it is for…If you know anything about this, please contact Joan so we can attribute the money to the correct accounting category. For now, we placed it in general donations.


Watch for October emails detailing our Fall Celebration and Halloween Contest – Saturday, November 2.

Mark your calendars now and start thinking “Spooky or Silly, Anything Goes”

Member Blog Sept 2, 2019


Puppy Pool Party – Saturday, Sept 7 – 9am to 2pm

Make new friends, reacquaint with old friends, meet new members – and perhaps find more play partners for your pooch. Event offers something for everyone – so even dogs that do not care about the pools will have a blast. Remember, it best to exercise your dog before coming into the event area. Exercise at home, go for a short walk, or have a quick play in the Main playground before entering the Alternate. Event flyer attached.

Variety of Activities

  • Pools, 5 or 6
  • Find the Treat Course Schedule
    • 9:30 to 10:00
    • 10:30 to 11:00
    • 11:30 to 12:00
    • 12:30 to 1:00
    • 1:30 to 2:00
  • Peanut Butter Licking Contest Schedule
    • 10:00 to 10:15
    • 11:00 to 11:15
    • 12:00 to 12:15
    • 1:00 to 1:15
  • Tether Ball
  • Attendance Prize – SWCDP Membership (one dog) – 2020-2021 Season
  • SWCDP Merchandise

Just For Fun

For this event, we consider dogs 2 years old and under to be our “Puppies” and dogs over 2 years old to be our “Role Models”. This is tongue-in-cheek, perfect manners are not required, just reasonable social skills. The “Puppies” will wear a pink or blue ribbon on their collars – as a celebration of their youth.

Start at Main Table

  • Register for Attendance Prize (Membership for next season)
  • Get Pink Ribbon for Female Pup – Blue Ribbon for Male Pup
  • Check out the great SWCDP Merchandise

NOTE: Alternate Dog Park will be used for event; all SWCDP dogs are invited. Venue not suited for dogs with resource issues (sharing toys or treats), over protective tendencies or discomfort with high activity/energy situations.

Event Volunteers Needed

Can you sign up for a 2 hour slot? We need help with set up, tear down, putting out treats, filling peanut butter spoons, refilling pools & water buckets, keeping merchandise table in order, etc. We recommend you either bring your dog (s) before or after your work shift or have another adult with you to supervise your pooch during the event. Give a first and second choice time slot, if possible – on Friday once we get the Master Schedule settled.

Set up 8 to 9; Tear down 2 to 3

  • 8:00-10:00
  • 9:00-11:00
  • 10:00-12:00
  • 11:00-1:00
  • 12:00-2:00


Agility Demo – Sept 21 and 22 – registration will begin next week, watch for email notice.

Fall Celebration & Halloween Event – Nov 2 – start thinking about your pup’s costume


One of our members is assisting a rescue group with helping find foster homes for an overload of homeless Corgis. Some of you may know Betsy (SWCDP Volunteer Agility Leader) – Betsy has personally used this service and speaks very highly of their process and dedication the finding forever homes for area Corgis. Here is the recent plea from the group’s President:

We are desperate for fosters. I have too many Corgis here and received two calls today to take dogs. If you would like to foster, or know anyone that would like to foster, please contact me. We provide everything like food, bedding, crate, toys, and all medical. You provide the love and often times some training. 

Contact Rescue

Contact Betsy


We Need a Hero – Could That Be You?

Poison Ivy issue; this is a big problem. Growing in abundance all around the big tree on the outside of our fence but growing into the agility space near the tall storage unit and area. We attempted to get City Parks Dept to take care of it – no go. Not a battle we want to pursue with the City – it will be up to us to get rid of the poison ivy…. And, we need a volunteer to do this. We need a POISON IVY BUSTER! If you have good gloves and generally are not badly affected by poison ivy – could you be our hero? Contact Judi or Joan if you can help.

Gate Fixed

The Kant Slam has been installed (thanks, Bob!).  Our front gate should close much easier now. But – always – keep an eye on the gate and make sure it is closed after you go thru it.

Problems – Still

We hoped the all-encompassing recent emails might have resolved playground issues. Not. Come on, dear members…

  • If you bring kids (over 8 years old) to our dog park, adjusted behavior is a requirement. Absolutely no running, yelling, climbing or teasing dogs. SWCDP is a dog park, not a kid’s park. The dogs come first – and some dogs are not comfortable around children.
  • If your dog acts out and becomes a jerk, keep under control, move to another area of park, re-direct energy and attention, or go home.
  • If you are approached by a member who is uncomfortable with the interactions or asks you to re-direct your dog’s behavior – you owe it to the dog park community to respond in a positive way.
  • If you are hovering over your dog to the point he cannot behave like a normal dog, get off his back – give him some breathing room – and let him learn how to interact with his 4-Legged peers. Your dog depends on you to provide him a good dog life – and that means allowing him to learn appropriate dog behavior and become self confident and self-sufficient on the playground.
  • If you are about to lose your cool, take a deep breath before you speak or act. Foul language and threats are not acceptable.

We don’t know what else to say. Except, common sense, communication, and courtesy should always be the guide. And, if you are unsure, re-read the SWCDP User Guide, learn the varied play styles and dog communication signs or go get some professional dog training or behavioral help.

We are pleased to close by saying we have a wonderful dog-centric community and most of our members “get it”. Let’s work together to bring the few up to speed with our policies. We are, after all, only as strong as our weakest link.

Hope you have enjoyed the summer and looking forward to the cooler weather activities on the way – see you at the Puppy Pool Party – Saturday, Sept 7.


Member Blog August 20, 2019

Show Me St Louis – coming!

Watch for it . . .

Recently, we had a photographer on our Main playground taking photos for an upcoming Show Me St Louis piece on the amenities at St Louis City Parks. Greg Hayes, Director of the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry, highly recommended they check out Southwest City Dog Park, saying it was one of the best dog parks in the area. Go SWCDP!

Agility – Free Demo – coming!

September agility in the works – hands on experience and great trainer tips. Watch for email with registration link – Sign ups will begin after Labor Day weekend, first come, first serve. Targeted Demo Dates: 9/21 and 9/22. 

Round Picnic Table with Chairs – coming!

You may have noticed this year – our patio table in Alternate Dog Park is missing. Well, not missing – it finally died after much use – it was donated, it was plastic. We have a new, round table with attached chairs (6) made of same materials as existing tables and benches. Should arrive in a few weeks.

Umbrella Donations Needed

We always ask members to donate their used umbrellas. We only want the crank-style so that it is easier for our shorter members to open and close without having to climb up on the table for pop up mechanism. If you have one that is still in good shape but that you no longer have a need (maybe you got a new one this season) – please let us know. Given that life is harder at the dog park than in our own backyards – we usually like to have a couple umbrellas on hand to get us through the year.

Front Gate Issues

We have a new Kant Slam closer for the front gate but we needed to figure out how to adapt it to the new gate. Top of To Do List – hope to have this resolved soon, certainly before the end of August.

In meantime – everyone, please – make sure the gate is closed as you go in and out. We have had way too many situations in which members have arrived only to find the gate open. This welcomes non-members to come in – or our member dogs to “escape” if it is open and departing members do not realize it until their dog has bolted out.

SWCDP Capacity

The question of capacity was brought up recently as well as general comments ranging from “it’s too crowded” to “nobody there”. Let’s clarify.

Capacity is defined as how many dogs are allowed inside the dog park at any given time. The official capacity count is 100. This was voted by members at a GMM (General Membership Meeting) several years ago. However, the real life count is much different. SWCDP self manages this. In other words, members tend to leave when dog count gets to 30-40 dogs, depending on energy level, play styles, etc. 

Membership Limitation has no ceiling currently. Because the dog park generally self-manages with regards to paws on the ground coupled with the fact that a lot of members come only sporadically – we feel it not necessary at this point to limit membership. Given we are experiencing a phenomenal growth spurt – we may consider a limit in future years.

Try different days and time slots – we have so many wonderful 2 and 4 Legged members – you will want to meet as many as possible while you seek out the best playmates for your dog. There is a constant ebb and flow, dynamics change every 20-30 minutes. Most robust, hardest play on the Main playground is during that after work session (4:00-7:00pm) – probably not the best time for the faint of heart.

Common Sense – Common Courtesy

Come on, people! It only takes one or two to ruin it for everyone else. Are you guilty?

Disregard for members – if your dog causes concern by a human member – you must oblige their request. Don’t blow it off or ignore. We have varying levels of experience, energy, patience, understanding. It is incumbent upon each member to find the right balance. And if your eyeballs are on your device – your eyeballs are not on your dog.

  • Kids at dog park – this is a problem, folks. Our dogs come first – it is their playground. Children 8 years and older are allowed – but this is a special privilege. It is required that children stay close to the adult supervisor, and not run, scream, flail arms and legs, climb on trees, equipment, furniture – or in any way tease or excite the dogs. Not all dog members are good with kids – it is not a membership requirement. It is also not fair to dump this burden on members who are trying to enjoy the dog park. Watch your children – or do not bring them!
  • Hostile exchanges, threats, curse words – really, is this necessary?

Because we have had reports lately of dogs being in the dog park without SWCDP tags, and concerned members express doubt about how to handle it….we are providing a recap to help our members do the right thing.
When possible, team up with one or two other members before approaching owners of dogs with no SWCDP tags. However, alone or with others – remain calm – YOU are in the right. Our experience shows most responses will be to plead ignorant of SWCDP rules and they will acquiesce to your request. If someone becomes hostile, advise them SWCDP protocol is to contact the police to report a trespasser – and then, walk away and call Rangers.

SWCDP Members should keep this number in their cell phone: Park Rangers/Police 314/289-5350

Before you approach them

Try to discreetly get a photo of the dog (s).  Then, casually, in a friendly way, chat with the owner – inquire about the dog’s name and a little about the dog. Only after you have gathered this important info, should you inquire about their SWCDP membership status. Do not start off with an inquisition – keep it casual until you glean some info. Then, only then, mention that you notice no SWCDP tag (s). Ask them point blank if they are a member. They must be able to show you their membership tag, if it is not on the dog. 

If you discover they are not members, explain membership requirements, per City Ordinance 66595 and SWCDP Membership Rules. Tell them how to apply, and escort them to the gate – as they cannot remain on the grounds without proper vetting. Give them a handout located in the clear plastic box hanging at the entrance, outside the gate. This provides all membership info and SWCDP rules. Conclude on a happy note – tell them you hope they will consider SWCDP membership.

Taking it a step further

In 2015, we made arrangements with St Louis Police, Station 2 (Sergeant John Vogt) for assistance, when needed. In most situations – this will not be necessary. But, if you can get the trespassers car license plate number, the police will send them a warning letter along with instructions on how to apply for SWCDP membership. And, then, if they come into the dog park illegally a second time, they will receive a summons.

If you suspect longer term trouble, as in someone coming in repeatedly or arguing that they should be able to come in free – then it would be great to write down their car license number. Only get a license plate number, if you can do this without causing a ruckus – always stay safe first. Perhaps, another member can go to the parking lot discreetly, and wait for the non-member to get into the car. Use your own judgment on this aspect.

Send all info (and photo, if you get one) to the SAIC – and we will handle it from that point forward.

Trespasser List

Dog Names and/or Dog Description will be posted on message board to assist members in identifying repeat offenders.

Turf Updates  — Coming soon!

No question, SWCDP 2019-2020 Season will be known as the season of large-scale upgrades. The introduction of our FOB entry system, our new front fence/gate and enlarged front garden, background updates for computer and administrative tasks – and still to come….a new front overhang and community message board – and – a comprehensive turf maintenance plan. 

No news does not mean the turf issue has been forgotten. We are working on it. After months of planning – and days from signing a maintenance contract – our original plans fell through. In the end – the owner of GreenEnvy decided taking on the responsibilities of a dog park presented too many risks and unknown factors. They pulled out.

We have recently had an onsite meeting with a turf management professional who has extensive athletic field and golf course experience. Yes – we know – this is a dog park not a golf course. But – our plan is to benefit from years experience with turf management for high traffic areas and customize treatment for the additional requirements unique to dog park issues. More details will be forthcoming as we are looking at options for a year-round maintenance action plan – and have many variables to address before a program is finalized.  

Thanks, Volunteers, For Garden Adoptions
Garden 1-A – Nena G (Rosie, Finn)
Garden 1-B – Annette C (Jake, Penny)
Garden 2 – Deb T (RomRom, Cici)
Garden 3 – Cait M (Punter)
Garden 4 – Elizabeth D (Sammy)
Garden 5 – Volunteer Needed
Garden 6 – Volunteer Needed


Thanks, Volunteers, For Agility Equipment Care
Monday Evening Crew (put away equipment)
Brittany and Paul P (Bella, Cooper)
Deb L (Sunny)
Alex M (Ellie)
Mary K (Mellie, Quincy)
Tuesday Afternoon/Evening Crew (set up equipment)
Elizabeth V (Marley)
Jane R (Remy, Bella)

We still need 3-4 helpers on Tuesday. An equipment layout will be provided, so you will not have to make any decisions – just place equipment where designated. 

**If you are not on this list but offered to help, please resend your email.

Member Blog August 5, 2019


Dog Park Maintenance Updates

  • Gates Signs for Tiny Paws Big Play Schedule – Volunteer to Install Tuesday 8/6
  • Broken Sprinkler – Hydro Dynamics to repair Thursday 8/8
  • Dirt Bin Refill – On our volunteer schedule for this week, day to be determined

And we just keep growing . . . awesome!

Stats as of 8/2/19:

Households – 608
Dogs – 787

This year and last season, we have experienced an enormous growth spurt – and we are excited to see so many wagging tails and smiling faces. We have a fantastic dog community. But, with our growth, the scales have finally tipped – we have more new members than we do returning members – and many of the returning members were “new” last season. 

This means lots of dogs and humans experiencing the dog park and all that goes with it for the first time. Isn’t it wonderful how well hundreds of dogs and humans get along?

But, having said that, we have had to re-sort the topics for our general member email blast due to a whole lot of not-so-great playground activity the past 2-3 weeks. Issues are piling up, folks.

Rather than single out any one dog or any one human – we will address important playground topics, mostly dog behavior, language, and interactions – and their human’s responses. At the end of the email, are links to a very informative newsletter and our User Guide. Both worth reading.

Please take a few minutes to read the Playground Do’s and Don’ts below. 

SWCDP does not condone rewarding bad behavior!

Often times the dog misbehaving continues to “play” and the dog harassed or hurt goes home. Is that fair? Is that how we want our dog’s playground to operate? Do you want your dog to give up his playtime because another dog is acting out? No.

YOU Are Responsible

If you cannot control your dog or if you are afraid to get involved when your dog gets into a scuffle – you may not be suited to dog park life. Owners MUST act responsibly when on the dog park grounds. This means keeping your eyes on your dog, anticipating potential problems, being receptive to other members who express a concern, and removing your dog or redirecting your dog’s attention as needed. It is not ok to stand by and force other members to take care of your dog.

But, please, find the balance. Let your dog be a dog. In most situations – the dogs will work it out on their own – give them a chance to learn, and earn, their self confidence. Being a helicopter furbaby parent is not doing your pooch any favors – you will stifle their growth and social development. Find where the line is and learn when to step in and when to let them work it out. You and your pup can learn together.


Stop your dog – this is not allowed. Humping is a sign of aggression – it is a dominance thing not a sexual thing. Either remove your dog by going home or for a walk away from the dog park dog or re-direct the focus – go to another area of the dog park, engage in a new game, etc. Just STOP IT!

Playground Bullies – Don’t Let Your Dog Be a Jerk

Your dog may be wonderfully rambunctious and full of play – but if he engages with a dog that is intimidated or overwhelmed by the overture – hopefully, your dog will pick up the cue from the other dog. If he does not – you must take action, especially if the other dog’s owner requests it. Please, don’t let your dog become a playground bully. Find the right playmates for your dog – and give the quiet or shy dogs some breathing room.

And, then, there will be the few dogs that just don’t get along with anyone. If – after giving your dog several different play partners and different play scenarios – you find that he is still viewed as a trouble maker – well, maybe the truth is your dog is not socially developed enough for large scale playground interaction.

 Wild Greetings, Rough Stuff, Barkers & Squealers

See the newsletter link below. Pages 14-20.

Pay Attention, Stay Cordial, Respect Peer Wishes/Needs

Dear Members – it is not ok to threaten or intimidate other members. Keep your cool, please. Foul language and threats are unacceptable. It is also not ok to be clueless of your dog’s whereabouts or behavior. Plase, do not bury yourself in your devices; stay alert.

Use at Your Own Risk

We all care about safety – at SWCDP, we always say “Safety First”. But this is a dog park – and you must understand that at some point some of the dogs and some of the humans will get hurt. It’s gonna happen! How many of us have been knocked to the ground by dogs racing past us – or received a scrape or even a bite when trying to separate dogs in a  scuffle? And how many 4-Leggeds have gotten roughed up a bit during play – or even while trying to mind his own business? It happens – not very often – but it does happen.

  • SWCDP Safety and Incident Committee (SAIC) 

This process is run by your peers, our volunteers – but most times, we are not present when the incident happens. Please, provide enough info, including witnesses when possible, when you submit an incident report. We always insist that both sides (or all involved parties) have equal opportunity to tell their version of what happened. 

  • Watch List

If a dog is involved in a scuffle or fight, or is reported as a problem – the dog will be placed on the Watch List. We do not publish this list, purposely. We will watch for behavior trend lines. We want all our dogs to succeed on the playground and do not want any of our dogs to get a negative reputation undeservedly. We try to work things out, advise owners, and look for positive outcomes. Rarely, is it necessary for a dog to be banned from the dog park. Maybe one per year in extreme cases.

All of this and more is outlined in the SWCDP User Guide. Have you read it lately? Click here:

Also – take a look at our comprehensive newsletter from Summer 2015. Disregard the date sensitive pages, of course, but the topics for dog behavior, training and tips, are timeless. Pages 14-20 – especially the section about TRASH TALK (growling & vocalization) are great. Most aggressively sounding barking comes from mid-ranking males who are blustering because they are insecure and unsure of their social standing. Read it!

Please, continue to enjoy your dog park. Just do it in a smart and collegial way.

Member Blog July 22, 2019

Hi Dog Park Members

Short update this week – coming off another round of extremely hot days – we want to share the following. Interesting info as it relates to dog safety and the heat.

Do You Know the “Five Second” Test?           

If you can place your hand flatly on the pavement and keep it there for five seconds, then – and only then – is it safe to walk your dog on the pavement. Careful with those walks on very hot days!

Do You Know How Quickly the Inside of Your Car Heats Up?

* Info provided by Debbie Gass, CVT, LSHC-S, Cattledog Publishing – organization carrying on the legacy of Dr. Sophia Yin, animal behaviorist.

Mark Your Calendars (and hope for dry weather!) – our first event of the season is coming in just 7 weeks…

Puppy Pool Party – Saturday, September 7 – times to be determined.

Action packed day in Alternate Dog Park, plenty of games and intrigue – and plenty of pools for those who like the water, too. Dogs 2 years and younger will be our “puppies” and our 4-Leggeds older then 2 will be our “role models” for the young pups. More details forthcoming but mark your calendar now.

Volunteers – Thank You!

We had a nice turnout responding to helping Bill as back up for emptying poop cans. We plan to hang on to the responses for future needs.

Still Need Helpers

We need more folks to help take move agility equipment off the turf on Monday evenings – all you have to do is put it in the corner of agility. And, helpers to set it back up either Tuesday afternoon or Tuesday evening.

A few people have offered – but we really need a few more because the intention is that the small groups can rotate the tasks as the needs or personal schedules change – we don’t want this to fall to only 2-3 members. Please, let us know if you can help.

Arf, Arf

Member Blog July 15, 2019

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to our volunteers!

We had a small but very robust volunteer crew this past week helping whip the gardens back into shape. We got a lot done, still more to do – but the front is looking fantastic. Wouldn’t happen without our volunteers.

We need your help. We hear there is some confusion about the Alternate area usage – so as a follow up to last week’s Member Mailer – we are sending the following to everyone so that we can make sure all members are on the same page. Please help us explain the protocol to members if while you are at the dog park you find anyone who seems to not know what to do. Thanks! 

Alternate Dog Park

The following is the pecking order for usage of the Alternate Dog Park – and this pecking order is in force round the clock. The exception is when we have an organized event – such as the ongoing Tiny Paws Big Play (TPBP) or one of our larger events, such as Season Kick-Off, Puppy Pool Party, Halloween/Fall Celebration. Everyone must abide by these rules. Please read them again. If someone is in Alternate when you arrive and you need to use the area – speak to the member (s) and work out a plan to either share the space or take turns. Communication is key because the conditions/needs change constantly. No one may monopolize the area.

  • Small dogs, under 25 lbs
  • Dogs recovering from surgery/injury (no parasites or contagious conditions), such as wearing a cone or having stitches healing, etc.
  • Older dogs that no longer enjoy the robust play on the Main
  • Dogs with a low-key personality or low-energy play style; or, shy and needing a place to build self-confidence
  • Gathering a group of doggie friends from the Main playground and creating an impromptu play group in Alternate
  • Using Alternate as a time-out or re-direction of energy; your dog got overly stimulated or got into a simple scuffle and needs a short break (dog fights and high level aggression situations require you to go home for the day)

NOTE: One of our little dogs was injured during a Tiny Paws Big Play session due to a larger dog coming into Alternate, sitting on the little guy, and hurting him. Come on, folks. This is not that difficult of a concept to grasp! Please respect the time slots designated for our little dogs: 

Tiny Paws Big Play is for dogs 25 lbs and under (no larger dogs allowed, period)
Tuesday and Thursday: 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Saturday and Sunday: 9:00am to 11:00am

We encourage our members with small dogs to take advantage of these time slots – it’s a wonderful way to connect with other small dogs and make new friends – and should be a time and place where you know the little ones own the space.

Membership Stat Update, as of 7/15/19
Households: 573
Dogs: 739
FOBs: 816

Upcoming News

Not much more to report this week, as we have a lot of things under development. Over the balance of the summer, we will be rolling out a major turf plan, the scope of where we are with volunteer needs and the future of the dog park, and a few more repair/renovation projects in the works. We are busy – even if you do not see activity every day.

Volunteer Needs
Immediate: We still need helpers to take down agility equipment Monday evening or early morning Tuesday and helpers to set back up Tuesday afternoon or evening.

Soon: If you have decent computer skills, an eye for detail, and are in strong support of our dog park – this might be just the task for you. An indoor task that you can do on your computer on your own time frame – but will require a commitment of 1-2 hours per day (it will fluctuate with heavy activity around season opening and then dwindling to slight activity later in the year).

We will soon be talking with potential volunteers to help with membership processing for next season. We need to select the volunteer this year so he/she can be involved with training on the new and improved process. The current process will be re-written in order to simplify the procedure from an administrative perspective. Without proper membership management – we have no dog park – so this volunteer segment is vital to SWCDP’s ongoing success. Please contact us if you think this is something you can do.

Arf, Arf

Member Blog July 9, 2019

Hi Dog Park Members

We really need volunteer help to get back on top of our gardens. With so much rain and then a direct dive into intense heat and humidity – we have not been able to get into a good rhythm with taking care of our gardens. 

Since SWCDP original sponsor, SNA (Southampton Neighborhood Association) is having their picnic at the pavilion on Sunday – we sure would like to get our dog park back in shape before their event – it looked so lovely a month ago! We are also working on a Master Plan regarding the turf, but more on that in a couple weeks or so…under development now.

To beat the heat – we have TWO WORK SESSIONS scheduled. Please come as you are available. Work will include pulling weeds mostly, and some minor other tasks. Bring your own garden tools. No heavy lifting – this is more detail work.

THURSDAY (7/11) 8:00am to 10:00am
SATURDAY (7/13) 8:00am to 10:00am

Let’s hope our work sessions are not rained out.

Arf, Arf

Member Blog July 1, 2019

Hi Dog Park Members

As the BBQ grills and fireworks are revving up for the long July 4th weekend – we thought we’d keep this Monday E-Mail Blast short but at the same time – share a few stats we find interesting…maybe you will, too.

SWCDP 2019-2020 Season has just completed our first month – here is what the front gate activity looks like, per our new access control system. Bare in mind the extraordinary amount of rain we have had – surely making a big impact on our numbers. We will see how these stats change as we hopefully get some “normal” summer weather. Also, the stats will never be a precise count – factoring in members going in/out during the same visit. Even so, this gives us a good idea of developing trend lines. 

Total Entries
Busiest Day to Least Busy Day:
Sunday – 703
Saturday – 608
Thursday – 507
Monday – 440
Tuesday – 43
Friday – 308
Wednesday – 292
Weekend Activity:
June 1 and 2 – 520
June 8 and 9 – 230
June 15 and 16 – 186
June 22 and 23 – 130
June 29 and 30 – 245


We are getting feedback we don’t like. Yep, it’s the P O O P.

Please keep an eye on your dog – pick up the poop – immediately. If you see another dog poop and the owner does not see it – it is up to you to let the owner know. We ALL have a responsibility to keep our dog park well maintained. And, remember, you are in the right to alert the pooping dog’s owner. After all – every member agreed to picking up after their dog (s) when they signed the membership application. But, let’s face it, we have all been distracted at one point or another. No problem. 

When letting a member know their dog has pooped – please, stay courteous – don’t do it in an accusatory manner. Be nice. Simply say “Hey, your dog just pooped”. Give them a decent indication as to where the dog pooped, since the owner did not see it happen. Most of our members will appreciate the gesture as nobody wants to step in poop and worse yet bring it to the car or into our homes. And we don’t want our dogs licking their poopy paws or bringing it into the pools (dog do drink that water!). If a member takes issue with picking it up – then THAT member has a bigger problem… Let us know if you witness members deliberately refusing to clean up after their dog (s).

Enjoy your Holiday and your dog park.

Arf, Arf

Member Blog June 24, 2019

Whelp, we sure tried. As you know – all weekend events were cancelled due to rain. We even had a couple tents up and scrambled to take down before a huge downpour and hail rolled in. Geez! We give up — for now. Next organized event will be our annual Puppy Pool Party – weekend after Labor Day. And we will reschedule the Agility Demo either late summer or early Fall. Watch for August emails with details.

We keep growing! As of June 24, we have:
667 Dogs in 516 Households
732 FOBs currently active

Housekeeping Reminders

Please continue to work together to manage the gate – make sure it closes and do not allow anyone in on your FOB, escort non-members (should they somehow get in) off the premises and invite them to apply for membership, follow appropriate hose and pool guidelines, and keep an eye on your pup – pick up the poop, help him find appropriate playmates, and keep moving – standing or sitting in one place creates dog tension, people tension, and kills the turf. Move around – and occasionally – move the benches and tables a few feet to keep the surrounding turf from taking a beating.

Fireworks and Safety – Heat Threats – Rainbow Bridge

Fireworks and Other Scary Things

The Fourth of July weekend is fast approaching along with those pesky fireworks that frighten a lot of our 4-Leggeds. Fireworks, thunderstorms, and other loud unknowns are problematic for many pooches. Purina compiled a fast reading and very informative article to help us understand why it is scary and what to do. Every year, many dogs try to flee the noise and are hit by cars or lost. Keep your pooches indoors. Please read on…

Additionally, for those seeking additional tools – learning directly from the original inventors of the anxiety wrap and pet music therapy may be very beneficial. While we have not yet tried these things – they seem most promising. We realize different dogs will respond to different stimuli, but if any of you have experience with either – let us know how it worked for your dog.

The Original Anxiety Wrap

The Original Pet Music Therapy

Heat Threats: heat exhaustion and heat stroke

It’s hot – and gonna get hotter! We have had serious heat related situations at the dog park, wobbly, collapsing pooches – don’t let this happen to your best buddy. Brachycephalic dogs are extremely susceptible to heat related problems.

Our dogs play hard at the dog park and don’t recognize their activities are causing  them to overheat. And they do not sweat so only panting can help them cool down – usually not enough in extreme weather or extreme play. The 4-Leggeds count on the 2-Leggeds to keep them well hydrated. Please refill the white drinking buckets and small bowls frequently and distribute in Main and Alternate. 

Symptoms of trouble

Excessive panting, hyperventilation, thick saliva, anxiety, glassy eyes, dark /bright red tongue and gums, staggering, stupor, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding, coma

Heat exhaustion can lead to a heat stroke if left untreated – and once a dog has had heat exhaustion they are more susceptible to it in the future. Pay attention to your dog.

What to do

Lower dog’s temperature, douse him with cool (not cold) water, apply wet towels to head, stomach, feet, “armpits” . Blow as much cool air as possible (maybe the car’s a/c vents) on way to Vet, if necessary. 

Better yet – keep visits short during extreme heat, try for early morning or evening visits when possible – skip your visit when temps are extreme.

Rainbow Bridge

A new SWCDP program, our Rainbow Bridge Wall. You may have noticed it in the entry area near front gate. In our 13th year of operation, SWCDP has had many wonderful dogs start as pups and grow old and cross to Rainbow Bridge during their time at the dog park. Others, sadly, have been fantastic newbies or shorter term members who have also for a variety of tragic reasons, passed over to the Rainbow Bridge. All a great loss to their owners who considered them part of their families – and a loss for many SWCDP members who considered them friends.

So…..we created the SWCDP Rainbow Bridge Wall. We invite those who have had a dog as a SWCDP member and passed over to the Rainbow Bridge – to put a name tag on our wall as a forever memorial. This is retroactive, so all dog members from 2006 to today are eligible. We need to have guidelines to ensure the program works properly, is sustainable, and is fair to all members. So, please respect the guidelines.

  • Name tag may be the original name tag or one specially made for the Rainbow Bridge Wall
  • It must not exceed 1.25 inch by 1.25 inch 
  • Name tag may say anything you wish – simply the dogs name and years of life or dog park membership – or any memorial comments you wish.
  • To qualify – dog must have been a SWCDP member. 
  • Only name tags qualify – no ribbons, balloons, etc. A standard name tag is the base line – but the tag may be very simple with a name or have unique or creative engravings as owner wishes
  • Before attaching tag to SWCDP Rainbow Bridge Wall: Contact Judi or Joan so that we may add your dog to the Rainbow Bridge master list for our record keeping.

If you prefer a more custom type tag – here is one of many places that will give you a unique set of choices. We have not used them and cannot vouch for their service or quality but liked their variety.

Well, that’s it til next week. Enjoy the dog park – try visiting at different times so you can meet new dogs and make new friends.

Arf, Arf

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