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Is the dog park a good idea? What kind of dog owner are you? Does your dog come when you call it? Does it sit? Does it beg? Have you trained your dog to heel, to stay, to pay attention? Do you know when it is appropriate to use a leash? Do you have friends who have dogs? Perhaps most importantly, do you as a current dog owner use the poop bags that the city has placed strategically around town?

If you answered yes, then you have to ask yourself, why do the residents of Glenwood Springs, all of a sudden, need a place to take their dogs? Why cordon off a parcel of land that, if you are a responsible pet owner, you can use already … for free?

The sad fact is, dog owners don’t have time to be good dog owners. Being a responsible dog owner means more than picking up after it in public. It means being together with your dog and teaching it how to be a good dog not only with people, but with other dogs.

Taking your dog to a dog park is not spending time with your dog, it is not training your dog. The essence of the dog park is time you spend standing around with other people. The key word here is people, not dogs. The dog park is a social setting for people, where they can take their dog after work, let it run around wild with other dogs for 15 to 20 minutes, then take it home.

More people have high-energy dogs these days that require space to burn off energy (Labs, retrievers, border collies, etc.) and not the time or patience to give that dog what it needs. Granted, the dog park is a place for these dogs to run around, but dogs (those dogs in particular) need structure that a dog park setting just does not provide.

Having a dog park could make it harder to take your dog on a hike. The dog park will make it harder to access the river. The dog park will teach your dog pack mentality and bad habits. Your dog will be bullied by other dogs. Your dog may end up hurting another dog, or worse, another human. Who is responsible?

Let’s face it, the dog park is less for canine interaction than it is for human interaction. Who has time to take Fido up the hill for a hike or a swim in a lake?

Make time.

Nick Martin is a Glenwood Springs resident and dog owner.

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