Glossary of Terms

Off-Leash Park Glossary


The acronym (sort of) for Canine Citizens for Off-Leash Areas. This all volunteer, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization raised $25,000 to open the first fenced off-leash area in Cedar Rapids/Linn County. They continue to empty trash cans, do clean-up projects, raise funds for park improvements, and educate the public about safe use of off-leash areas. They serve as liaison between citizens and the Cedar Rapids Parks Department. K9COLA was founded in June 2000.

 Off-Leash Area (OLA)

A park space designated as a legal place in the city to have your dog off-leash. Its purpose is to allow owners to jog or enjoy nature with their dog along with them and off-leash. Owners are expected to interact with their dogs in the park, passively by walking or jogging together or actively through Frisbee, fetch or training opportunities. Cheyenne Park in Cedar Rapids has a fenced off-leash area of 15 acres.

Dog Park

This usually designates a park area, often small and set in an urban community, where people enter and let their dogs off-leash to play together while they hang back and don’t interact much with their dogs. Sometimes dog park is used for all off-leash areas, but K9COLA makes a distinction. We do not usually refer to the Cheyenne park space as a dog park; the Cheyenne Park off-leash area is a people park where dogs are allowed off-leash.

Annual Permit Tag

Each dog using the park should have an annual permit tag. These are sold at Cedar Rapids Animal Control during hours the shelter is open to the public. Tags are $25 per dog and are good for a calendar year. There is a $5 discount if the dog is spayed/neutered, and an additional $5 discount if the dog passes a K9COLA recall test. Proof of rabies, distemper and parvo vaccinations is required. The tag should be worn on a dog’s buckle collar or harness at all times while in the park.

Daily Pass

Visitors from out of town or people who want to try the park once may buy a daily pass. There is an honor box in the entry yard of the park where an envelope can be filled out and used for the $5.00 daily use fee. The same vaccination rules apply to daily passes.

Entry Yard

This area works as a safety net. If your dog escapes in the training yard without its leash on, it is safe here until you can catch it. This is a good place to meet people and to check out the information kiosk. Donors to the park are listed on the kiosk and on bricks in the center of the flower planter. There is a drinking fountain for dogs and people at far south end. If you must run to the portable bathroom or back to your car to grab something quickly, use your dog’s leash to tie it to the fence in this area; do not leave it to run free without you here. This is for its safety. Park users can post dog-related items in the public area if there is space.

Training Yard

This is space where owners can work with their dog with visual distractions but without the physical distractions of other dogs. Each person gets time in the training yard on a first-come, first served basis. There is a 20 minute limit if people are waiting. This is also the only place where dogs that are not friendly with other dogs are allowed. This is a good place for for more information Off-Leash Park Glossary.doc revised March 31, 2007/1 people who have small kids, where they can play with their dogs without danger of other dogs running into their children.

Small Dog Yard

This is space for dogs that are 15” or less at the shoulder AND friendly with other dogs. It is simply a miniature version of the main park. Small dogs are allowed in the main park, but if they are fragile and might be easily injured they should be kept in this yard.


This is the gravel area leading from the entry yard into the main park. The purpose of the alley is to give owners a chance to practice recalls on their dogs and to make sure they can get their dogs’ attention. They should call their dog back to their side 1-2 times while in the alley, reminders for the dog to come back when called. This reinforces proper recalls in the main yard.

Main Yard

This area is divided into two sections: play space and wild space. The play space is mown and open for owners to play Frisbee or fetch with their dog or for dogs to interact with one another under the supervision of their owners. Owners should keep moving so that dogs do not stay in one place and tear up the turf. If owners move along the path, usually dogs will as well. The wild area has a path through it. This area has tall grass and shrubs where owners can practice hunting retrieves or tracking.

Bag Dispenser

PVC containers on poles throughout the park and black mailboxes at the North and South end of the Main yard hold donated plastic bags that are to be used to scoop up any poop left by one’s own dog or found in the park. There are also grey bag dispensers that hold blue plastic bags to be used for this same purpose. Garbage cans are provided throughout the park for collecting this waste, and are emptied by K9COLA volunteers once a week in winter and twice a week during summer.

Rough Play

Normal actions by dogs when they are playing. It simulates fighting and establishes pack hierarchy that allows play and interaction to go more smoothly. It may involve rearing up on back legs, wrestling, growling, showing teeth, and “mouth sparring”. One dog does not bully another; both enjoy it. One may whine and “give” but then often comes back for more when let up. Dogs doing this are fine and welcome in the park. HOWEVER, owners are free to separate their dog from a rough player if they are not comfortable with the situation.


Actions by a dog intended to harass or intimidate another dog. Often involves snapping, lunging, growling and actual biting. Sometimes causes injury. Aggression may be caused by possessiveness of toy, water or food. Lesser dog does not enjoy it and tries to escape. These dogs should be reported by tag number or breed/owner using the incident report forms found at the information kiosk in the entry yard. These forms are sent to Animal Control, who follows up with all involved. Often these dogs can remain in the park, but stay in the training yard. Other times they just need to be kept away from shared water, toys, etc.


Actions by a dog that are obviously meant to cause injury and DO. Vicious dogs are often low to the ground, trying to get to the belly or legs of another dog. They are often relatively quiet. These dogs should be reported to Animal Control (319-848-7373) immediately, and will be forbidden to use the park in the future. for more information Off-Leash Park Glossary.doc revised March 31, 2007/2