Go dogs go!

You like to hike, and so does your pup. But check out the rules at https://bouldercolorado.gov/osmp/dogs-on-osmp before you head out.

Professional pups

Lafayette dog owners Rich Schafer and Yvet Montiel have been entering their two pups, Jasper and Tonka, in dog competitions since 2006.

Jasper, a lean 12-year-old black Labrador retriever, and Tonka, a five-year-old Dutch shepherd, compete in speed retrieval, extreme vertical and big air events, put on through an organization called DockDogs.

If a pup wins all three events, he or she is considered an IronDog, Montiel said.

DockDogs hosts around 250 events a year in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, said spokesman Brian King. The organization started in 1999 with six dogs, and has since grown to include around 23,000 handlers -- which means probably 46,000 dogs, King said.

"It's something fun you can do with your dog to stay active that anybody can do," King said. "It's truly a zero-discrimination sport. We accept any dog, any breed, any size, any ability." Any human over the age of seven can compete, and any dog over the age of six months can compete, he added.

It's tempting to get a dog as soon as you move to Boulder. You see them everywhere -- outside restaurants, on hikes and in city parks.

Of course you can't have one in your dorm ... but you can always plan for next year.

If you're considering adding a canine friend to your life in Boulder, make sure to read up on the city's rules and regulations for owning a pup -- that includes the rules for hiking with your dog, which is something you're sure to want to do all the time.

Here's what you need to know about owning a dog in Boulder. (Cat lovers, you're on your own.)

 

License your pooch

Adrienne Anderson walks with her dog, Denala, who has a green tag for sight and sound, along Bobolink Trail in Boulder.
Adrienne Anderson walks with her dog, Denala, who has a green tag for sight and sound, along Bobolink Trail in Boulder. ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )

To keep tabs on pets in the community, the city requires that all dogs over the age of four months living within city limits must be licensed. You have 30 days after you move to Boulder to get your pooch licensed (or 30 days after you get your pooch, if you're getting him or her here), and dogs need to wear their license tag at all times to help city officials reunite your pooch with you if he or she gets lost.

Getting a license is pretty simple. Your dog must have a current rabies vaccination, and while you're at the vet's office, you can purchase your license, too. You can also mail in a license registration form found on the city's website. For a spayed or neutered dog, a license for one year is just $15 or $37 for three years.

If your pets are still, er, intact, it'll cost you a bit more: $30 for one year and $80 for three years.

For more information on licensing: http://bit.ly/10qu6t3

 

Green tags

Boulder's voice and sight tag program, more commonly known as the green tag program, allows pet owners to walk their dogs off leash by meeting certain standards. Owners must watch a video about voice and sight control, register with the city's open space and mountain parks department and purchase the tags, which cost $15.

Keep in mind, though, that not all city and county parks allow dogs to be off leash. Some don't even allow dogs at all.

If you're going to take your pooch out in Boulder, he or she cannot be aggressive toward other people or dogs, according to the city's website, and you must pick up your dog's poop immediately.

For dog regulations in specific areas and trails, check out https://bouldercolorado.gov/osmp/dog-regulations-by-area.

 

Dog parks

Boulder has four dog parks where you can take your pup to play. All city ordinances about dogs are enforced, and you must have your dog on a leash as you approach and exit the dog park.

Boulder dog parks are free and open from dusk to dawn.

They include: East Boulder Dog Park, Foothills Dog Park, Howard Heuston Dog Park and Valmont Dog Park.

Scott Carpenter Pool also turns into a dog park for two weeks in September for Dog Dayz. At the end of the swimming season, city officials close the pool to humans and let dogs swim free.

You can also take your dog to the south shore of the Boulder Reservoir during off-season, which is Labor Day to May 15. All the trails and roads around the reservoir are fair game any time of year, as long as he or she is on a leash.

The Valmont Dog Park even provides compostable bags for your dog's poo, and a compost collection receptacle.

 

Puppy etiquette

Aside from cleaning up after your dog when you're out and about, veterinarian Stacey Adams Boulder's Natural Animal Veterinary Hospital says you should teach your dog some manners before ever leaving the house.

Make sure your dog comes when called, she said, and if you're not sure how he or she will behave off-leash, keep them leashed.

If you're hiking, be wary of wild animals and dangerous critters like rattlesnakes. For humans, always ask before approaching or petting another person's dog. On the flip side, if your dog is aggressive, warn passersby or take your dog to obedience classes, Adams said.

If your female dog is in heat, the city's website kindly asks that you leave her at home (out of respect for the other dogs, of course).

 

--Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.