Rancho Laguna is a special kind of park that allows dog’s to be off leash with their
owners during very specific hours in the morning and in the evening.
The following suggestions come from researching multiple related off leash dog park’s
and un-gated off-leash areas. Following these suggestions will help you, your dog,
and everyone else enjoy Rancho Laguna. This is for every dog owner at the park,
and it is hoped to be of extra value to the newcomer.
1. Make your first visit without your dog to familiarize yourself with the site
(parking, access gates, etc). Then bring your dog when ready. This is a park for
dogs of all sizes.
2. Before bringing your dog to Rancho Laguna test it out on a leash by going to
the Moraga Commons, or one of Lamorinda’s dog friendly restaurants, Get it used
to kids, on bikes, roller skates, and people just walking up and down around it.
A dog that reacts well in the above environment will most likely receive maximum
benefit at an off leash park. Testing your dog in multiple environments is a great
way to make sure your dog is prepared for the stimulus it will receive at Rancho
3. Know your dog! Not all dogs are good candidates for off-leash dog parks. If
your dog has not had regular interaction with other dogs, or does not “come” when
called, it may lack the necessary skills to make your visit safe and enjoyable. Check
for training schools that offer socialization classes or for trainers who will work
with you. Eventually with persistence and patience your dog will come and be ready
for the park.
4. Puppies Under 4 months old should not be brought to any dog park because they
are only partially vaccinated and not protected against certain viruses. Socialize
young puppies (8-16 weeks of age) at a puppy school. Set up a puppy play date with
some one in your puppy class. This helps them socialize with other puppies their
age in a controlled safe environment, with a teacher who will help train you how
to be a good doggy parent. Yes there is homework; it’s worth doing.
5. 5. The first time you bring your dog show up early to acclimate your dog while
it’s quiet (7 am, or ½ hour before evening hours). Walk your dog around the track
on leash and observe how it reacts as new dogs slowly arrive. Leashed dogs may feel
threatened by the free dogs and may show defensive behavior if they are suddenly
introduced to many dogs at once. But one on one with a leash helps your dog meet
others in a controlled way.. When both you and your dog are ready, let it off the
leash. This is a large park and there are many people who will help you acclimate.
Once you and your dog are used to coming to the park let it off leash as soon as
you arrive or it’s doggy friends may dog pile on it. (it’s like a group hug.)
6. Be aware that dogs have different play styles, temperaments and physical abilities.
Many dogs love rambunctious play, but some dogs are more timid or aloof. Respect
the wishes of other dog owners / handlers and be prepared to move to another area
of the park if your dog is too playful, or if your dog is acting in a perceived aggressive
manner. If you are new, it is recommended you watch other dogs play before you bring
your dog. Learn about the different styles of play. Some dogs play with other dogs,
and some dogs play with toy’s, and sometimes dogs just sniff the flowers. In time
your dog will find friends with its own energy level if you let it.
7. Help keep the park clean. Pick up trash and unclaimed waste you come across.
If your dog digs a hole, fill it in and level it. Remember this is a multi use
park, we need to leave it ready for the next group of users. Leave Rancho Laguna
in better condition than you found it. Keep Rancho Laguna Off Leash. Others have
a right to peacefully enjoy this pristine park too.
8. 8. If your dog gets into a scuffle, shout at it, pull it away from the other
dog by the rear legs if need be or pin it to the ground. After you stopped the scuffle
give both dogs a check for bite marks. Most of the time it’s just a display of teeth,
and boisterous growling. Think of the movie “Grand Torino” the barber shop scene
where the two friends insult each other, no one gets hurt, but man you think some
one is going to get shot. Most of the time, these fights are not vicious, nor do
injuries occur. So stay calm, act, break it up, check it out, give them a time out
on leash or in a down-stay, and if necessary calmly get information if there really
is an issue. If things are good, and they almost always are, in 2 minutes both dogs
will be running and playing as if nothing happened.
9. If you bring your dog, bring a bag. Pick up poop--always, everywhere! Even in
the bushes (poison oak, Hmmm, try and keep your dog out of the poison oak. Better
yet, ask the parks department to rent a goat.) Along the fences, yes! It takes just
Two careless dog owners to cause us to loses access to the park. If just “TWO” people
don’t pick up poo, at “Two” per day, 14, per week, 56 a month and 730 per year. It
adds up, so pick it up. Or get tossed out. Pick up unclaimed waste because you may
have left one and not seen it. If you are unable to pick up poo due to a handicap,
at least bring a bag and ask someone to help you out. Just point it out. Build
your karma, do the "karma poop pick up." Pick up poo, don’t be a two”.