Boulder plans to start offering classes in June for the thousands of green-tag holders who are now required to renew their licenses by January.
With the final approval Tuesday night to changes in the green-tag program, which allows dogs to go off-leash on many Boulder trails, the city's Open Space and Mountain Parks department is finalizing its plans so that dog owners have plenty of time to comply with a new licensing process before it goes into effect at the beginning of next year.
"Now we move full speed ahead," said Steve Armstead, an environmental planner with Open Space and Mountain Parks.
To get a green tag, owners previously had to watch a video online and certify that they understood the requirements of the city's Voice and Sight Control program.
Now, they'll need to attend an in-person class once and take an online refresher course every five years.
Armstead said open space educators are still working out the details, but the idea is for the classes to offer an opportunity for dog owners to ask questions and talk through likely scenarios.
"There will be additional discussion around scenarios and ways people can be successful around voice and sight control and the types of situations people might encounter," he said.
During the debate over the new rules, which also looked at how violators should be treated, many dog owners said chasing squirrels or flushing birds shouldn't count as harassing or endangering wildlife.
Armstead said the classes will address those situations.
"You need to manage your dog so that it doesn't chase after squirrels," he said. "If you're walking and something flushes, you can't be preventative of that. It's not what happens in that second. It's what happens afterward."
There are roughly 32,000 green-tag holders on the rolls in Boulder.
Armstead said the city expects that number will go down, as some people will turn out to have moved away or no longer own dogs and others will decide their dogs can't comply with the rules or that it now costs more than they want to pay.
The actual requirements of the program - that dogs be under the voice and sight control of their owners at all times, that they not harass, chase or endanger wildlife and that they don't behave aggressively - haven't changed, Armstead said.
The classes are intended to make sure everyone who participates fully understands those requirements.
There will be no charge for the class itself, so owners who take it and decide their dogs can't comply won't be out any money, Armstead said.
But the registration fees have changed.
Boulder residents will have to pay $13 for a tag and $5 for renewal. Boulder County residents will have to pay $33 for a tag and $20 for renewal, and non-county residents will have to pay $75 for a tag and $30 for renewal.
There is a $10 per dog fee for additional dogs from the same household, and an additional $5 fee for every person in the household who will walk the dogs on open space.
Every person who plans to walk a dog off-leash on open space should take the class, Armstead said.
The additional dog and person fees are one-time fees that are not charged again at renewal, he said.
Due to the institution of an annual renewal process for the tags, they likely won't always be green in the future. Armstead said the city will develop some way to easily distinguish whether tags are current for that year.
Armstead said Boulder's goal is that everyone will have the opportunity to take a class before the end of the year, but he urged dog owners not to wait until the last minute.
A schedule will be released next month once the details are finalized.