Prospect Park Dog Run Rules

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Not pictured: the off-leash dog nuzzling my legs as I snapped this picture

Welcome to the city’s largest dog run!

With NYC dog runs closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of you may be taking your pooch to Prospect Park for the first time. If you’re accustomed to other dog runs, where owners are expected to abide by community-enforced norms, you’re probably wondering about the rules at the Prospect Park Dog Run.

We have good news for you. At Prospect Park, there’s just one rule: have fun!

Still wondering? This welcome packet reviews the ins and outs of having fun with your dog in Prospect Park.

Off-leash hours. We know the only thing more important to you than your dog is your own convenience. On paper, off-leash hours end at 9 am. But these are stressful times, you deserve to sleep in, and sometimes you just don’t feel like going to the park until later in the day. We understand, and we apologize for any confusion our published policies create. Please believe us when we say, these policies exist only on paper. So go ahead – let your dog run leash-free whenever!

Off-leash areas. Your off-leash dog is welcome in every area of Prospect Park. You may see a few signs referring to “designated areas” or asking you to please leash your pet. Ignore them. We don’t take these signs seriously, and neither should you! They’re there to make the public think we care about keeping the park accessible to all, about health and safety, and about preserving precious habitat (teeheehee – sorry, but the thought makes us giggle). Remember, this park is your park. And that means all of it!

Other parkgoers. From time to time, you may encounter individuals who are not using the park as a dog run. The important thing to keep in mind is that this isn’t their park; it’s your park. If your dog jumps on, rubs against or nuzzles another parkgoer, isn’t that sweet! With so much fear and anxiety in the air these days, who doesn’t long for a cuddle with someone else’s soft, fuzzy comfort object? If your dog growls or acts aggressive, feel free to educate other parkgoers on the proper way to approach your dog.

Digging. We love it when dogs dig! The craters they leave behind add topographical interest to Olmsted and Vaux’s landscape, while challenging cross-country runners, small children, seniors and disabled people to remain alert and agile. Thank you for your service!

Leashed dogs. You may see a few dog owners walking or running with their dogs on leash. These individuals are either chumps, or just plain don’t love their dogs the way you love yours. If your off-leash dog lunges at their leashed dog, don’t worry. They were asking for it.

Professional dog walkers and doggie play groups. We salute your entrepreneurial spirit! Unlike normal dog runs, which limit the number of dogs per human, Prospect Park is thrilled to provide public space for your private venture. Come with half a dozen dogs, a dozen, however many you can (or can’t) handle, then unleash ‘em and kick back! (Pro-tip: if you’re concerned about losing your clients’ dogs, fenced-off woodland areas make excellent pens.)

Trails, woods and waterways. We’ll say it again: this is your park! Trails, woods and waterways are there for you and your off-leash dog, all day, every day. For added enjoyment, consider taking the migrating/nesting bird challenge: how many of the 290 species observed in the park can your dog chase?

Enforcement. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Always remember – this is your park. Treat it that way!

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