Welcome to all our new members – and Welcome Back to our returning members. Everyone had a blast this weekend and as of Monday morning, we have 567 dogs registered. Going to be another robust year.

As previously mentioned – we have so much to share with you – that we have opted to send a Monday Update via email – at least during June/July. However, many of the items we had planned for this week will be bumped to future emails so that we can address things that popped up over the weekend.


Per Parks Commissioner Notice: City Street Department will be adding sand bags along River Des Peres near the dog park. They are expecting another 4 inches of rain and want to be vigilant about potential flooding. NOTE: We are working on agility equipment repairs – but given potential for flooding, we will not put the equipment in place until this threat has passed. We really do not believe River Des Peres will get this high – but want to error on side of caution.

LEARNING CURVE … Let’s All Learn Together – And Help Our Newcomers, Too

Although the SWCDP Management Team works hard at managing dog park activity – it must always be remembered that using the dog park means “Use at your own risk” as stated in the rules/waiver. We do not have daily supervision of playground activity and it is up to each member to manage their dog (s) and assist SWCDP in ensuring that all rules and guidelines are followed. Every member is accountable – and we need YOU to keep our dog park safe, fun, and thriving.

Tweaking Access Control System

We had to re-enter only a handful of FOBs this weekend. If you encounter a problem, contact Joan immediately. But first – please be sure you are following all the appropriate user guidelines.

Using Your FOB and Gate

      • No need to squeeze FOB or touch RFID (FOB Reader)
      • Place FOB close to reader – light should briefly change from red to green
      • For a brief moment, the gate is unlocked for you. Quickly grab the gate handle – and enter
      • Entry gate handle does not turn – just pull the gate open
      • Be sure the gate closes behind you
      • Never let anyone not in your household in with your FOB
      • If you find the gate ajar when you arrive – please close it, then use your FOB for proper entry
      • When leaving – you do not use your FOB – but the gate handle for exit does need to be pushed down for exit (coming and going handles look the same but mechanism is different)
      • It is ok to leave as a group but only one household should enter at a time using the appropriate household FOB
      • Make sure gate closes – sometimes, depending on weather (as gate expands & contracts) it may not shut all the way…requiring human assistance. Please – never leave the gate open as it breaks down our security and is unsafe for our dogs that may run out without a leash.
The Greeters

If your dog is a “Greeter”, please stay on top of this. With an abundance of enthusiasm and curiosity, many of our dogs rush the gate when newcomers are trying to get in. Both for Main and Alternate. This is where we have many of our dog relations problems. It can be overwhelming for some of our dogs to be gang-rushed as they are trying to enter the playground.

Encourage your greeter dog to move away and give the entering dogs a chance to get onto the playground. Our gangway is especially an issue as it is long and narrow. When entering – please keep your dog moving, do not dally in the gangway no matter how intoxicating those smells may be for your dog – get him/her out into the open area as quickly as possible.

Collars and Leashes

All dogs must have the SWCDP tag visible at all times. Put it on the collar. All dogs must be wearing a collar and all owners must carry the leash. Never leave the leash in the front entry area – it will do no good should a situation happen in which you quickly need to leash your dog and care for his safety. 

User Guide – Know Your Dog (and other play styles, too)

Important that you understand your dog’s preferences and play styles – but also important that you understand how the other dogs play, too. We very rarely have an aggressive (not fit for dog park play) at our dog park – but we do have hundreds of rough neck players – we have vocal players – and we have many who are still learning the ropes, learning how to play. Lots of young dogs who need to learn from their peer canines and build social confidence.

We ask that our returning members help our new members learn the activity and energy levels as they ebb and flow throughout any given day. It is up to each owner to help their dog (s) find the right playmates.

Just as it is critical for members to keep an eye on their dog and stay reasonably close by in case a negative situation develops – it is equally critical that we let the dogs be dogs. Please do not be a helicopter doggie parent. Your dog needs to learn by experience and examples set by his/her peers. 

If you are tense – your dog will be tense. If a situation develops in which it seems your dog is uncomfortable – redirect attention – go to another area of the dog park. If a dog bullies or harasses your dog – ask the owner to redirect that dogs attention. With 1.10 acres – we have enough shareable space for many different play styles. The best bet is to move around the dog park – don’t stay planted in one place for your entire visit.


In just 2 days – we have had two trespassing situations – and both trespassers were quit belligerent and obnoxious! We are taking the email space to provide details because we need all members to understand how these trespassing situations often happen. Sometimes, they occur in a more friendly way – where non-members will smile and chat it up and act like legitimate members and try to slip in while you have the gate open. If any of you who witnessed either of these more prickly situations have additional info which will help us figure out who these people are – please contact Judi at willow.nic07@yahoo.com

More info about what to do in trespassing situations in upcoming email.

Saturday Trespasser – Around 6:00pm – 7:00pm

An elderly woman (gray hair, average height) with a small gray dog was crowding the gate with her friend (a white haired woman in a bright blue shirt). One of our members was attempting to leave the dog park and asked her to back up to give her room to exit. The woman backed a little but as member left the woman began pushing her way in. She was asked about her FOB – did not have one. She was asked if member could see her SWCDP dog tag, she replied “no you may not!” The woman charged in, very agitated, left her friend behind, and left the second gate open. As dialogue continued – one of them said the woman purchased a one month pass in October – members tried to explain last year’s memberships not valid now and they were trespassing. 

*Does anyone know the name of the dog or woman – or any other comments, details which might help us identify this woman?

Sunday Trespasser – Around 1:15pm – 2:15pm

As a new member was leaving the dog park, at the front gate was a blonde woman (maybe late twenties early thirties) with black shorts, a white tank top, sunglasses, and at least 2 dogs, maybe 3 (possibly a Basset Hound and a Pitt Bull mix). She said she didn’t realize the park was members only but wanted to come in “just for a few minutes.” She appeared to be somewhat intoxicated. The new member told the woman she could not allow her in as this would be breaking SWCDP rules. The woman stood her ground, blocking the members exist, and as they tried to leave, the woman pushed her way in and said “It’s fine!” 

As our member left, a little stunned by what happened – she and her boyfriend spoke with another member in the parking lot – and that member said this woman also tried to bully her earlier. It sounds like the woman was hanging at the entrance for awhile. Both of our members were quite concerned this woman successfully pushed her way in. 

Our new member went back into the park 5 minutes later to tell other members what was going on. She also contacted Joan – and they agreed best action was to call the police. By this time, the woman had also let in her male friend – they were sitting on a bench, chatting with other members. When they were informed the police would be called if they did not leave – they left but complained about being harassed while they were trying to enjoy the dog park. The woman stated they were members of several dog parks but now will have to drive “40 minutes”. Sounds to us she may be referring to the free dog parks in Arnold and Wentzville. The intruders were in our dog park at least 20-30 minutes. Their presence created an awkward situation for our members.

*Does anyone have more info about this woman, her dogs, or the situation?

For the record

We do not issue Day Passes or One Month Passes; we do not pro-rate the annual membership fee; we do not give refunds.

Anyone in the dog park illegitimately is breaking the law. St Louis City Ordinance 66595 requires a membership approved by the management entity in charge – Ordinance 57333 gives SWCDP the legal authority to make a trespassing charge. We have an annual, renegotiable User Permit with the City – and do not want to have our agreement terminated because we are letting trespassers into our dog park. Our arrangement with the City includes overseeing membership application, including agreement to abide by SWCDP rules, a signed waiver releasing the City, current vaccination records, a paid membership/user fee. The City expects SWCDP to remain in compliance with our agreement. 

We strive to be a top notch dog park and an excellent dog-centric community. But this can only be reached – and maintained – by ALL MEMBERS supporting all rules, policies, and culture. Members who feel the required support and cooperation is too much to ask, should immediately find another dog park. 

SWCDP cannot – and will not – allow trespassers, members breaking the rules, overly aggressive/dangerous dogs.

We ask that each of you continue to help us monitor the park since we have no ongoing, daily management on the grounds. We know our members love their dog park and care about everything mentioned above – so we feel confident that together we can take care of business – and have an excellent 2019-2020 Season. 

Oh, and we need poop bags. Always check the Bag Bin in the entryway. When supply is low – we count on members to supply used grocer bags. Please – it is a judgment call. Do not overfill the bin so that the lid does not close – we don’t want rain inside the bin. And, size does matter! No tiny or large bags – they do not work for our needs. The average grocery store bag is what we want.