Frequently Asked Questions

Dogs under three months of age cannot get Park permits

Owners cannot buy permits for dogs under three months of age. The park is for dogs with all their vaccinations, and this is not usually possible until a dog is six months old. However, if you discuss it with your vet and he or she feels your puppy’s Rabies and Parvo/Distemper vaccinations provide full coverage, you may get a permit for a puppy three to six months old.

This should be a great advantage for dogs at that critical socialization age: they’ll have the chance to learn positive dog-dog interaction. However, dogs under six months old are not likely to be under voice control of their owners, or to have good recalls in the Main Park, so you may want to stay in the training yard with younger pups and invite friendly dogs in to socialize with them. It’s important that puppies in this younger age range have all or almost all positive interactions (some things may frighten a puppy even if they aren’t “dangerous”), so owners need to choose playmates carefully.

In addition, because kennel cough (Bordatella) may be more serious in puppies, that vaccination is recommended (if your vet agrees) for younger puppies using the Park.

Female dogs in heat are not allowed in the Park

Currently the Cedar Rapids Municipal Code (23.10 Confinement of Female Dogs in Heat) states that dogs in heat should remain in their own home or garage unless going out to the vet or to defecate. The same penalty will result for dogs in heat in the Park as would for dogs in heat elsewhere in City.

Children under 12 years must be supervised by an adult while in the Park

Younger children can be accidentally knocked over by dogs who are playing and parents are responsible for their care.

If an off-leash dog needs medical care or needs to be restrained, the handler needs to be old enough, mature enough, and strong enough to handle the situation.

Very young children (under age six) are allowed in the Park, though this is not encouraged. They are the responsibility of their parents or guardians.

Dogs in small dog yard should be less than 15 inches at the shoulder

If the Small Dog Yard is empty and the Training Yard is being used, one larger dog and its owner(s) may use the Small Dog Yard as a training yard. In this case, please keep an eye on the entry area and be considerate about leaving should a “real” small dog arrive.

There is a 20-minute time limit on the Training Yard if dogs and their people are waiting to use it. If you are using the Training Yard, be considerate of those waiting. If you’re waiting, don’t hesitate to ask 1) if you and your dog can join those already in the Training Yard for a play session, or 2) when those using it expect to be done.

For your dog’s safety, please do not use prong, choke, or training collars in the Park

Prong, choke, and training collars pose BIG problems for dogs in the Park. There have been many incidents reported around the country of dogs being injured or even killed when wearing these collars. When dogs play, they use their teeth. It’s very easy for a dog’s teeth to become entangled in these types of collars. The dog who is caught cannot get itself loose and panics; the dog whose collar is being pulled is likely to twist in its efforts to escape and can easily choke to death before humans can intercede to help.

Once you are inside the fenced area of the Main Park, you should remove your dog’s leash. If you expect your dog to be leashed when all the other dogs in the Park are loose, you are putting it in a very stressful situation. It is not able to meet and greet dogs in the way that is most comfortable. It is being restrained while other dogs approach it, circle it, sniff it. Your dog is much more likely to act in a way that may seem fearful or even aggressive if it is restrained and unable to respond to the approaches of other dogs in a relaxed manner. If you are unsure about getting your dog to come back to you, please use the Training Yard until you are more confident of its recall.