Saturday, June 29, 2013


Across the past several years I have posted to this blog 125 times, covering a variety of competition obedience-related items.  I hope at least some of those posts have been helpful.  Now I'm seeking your help.

Here in Phoenix we have a unique leash law -- constructed, by the way, with help of and strong endorsement of the AKC.  The AKC has cited it as a model ordinance for other cities to follow. (Section 8-14 of the Phoenix City Code).  I posted a four-part series to this blog explaining the law and the process by which it came to be.  It began on September 28, 2011 and concluded October 7, 2011.  It's available here in the archives.  Basically it allows anyone who can prove they're LEGITIMATELY training for an authentic dog sport to train in a Phoenix city park without fear of being cited.

Recently the Phoenix police, responding to complaints about off-leash dogs (not with legitimate trainers) running amuck in city parks in violation of the law, did a sweep and cited nearly 100 scofflaws.  That sweep has backfired.

A group (headed by a few who were ticketed) has started a "grassroots" movement to try to get a law passed that would allow designated off-leash hours in city parks.  All dogs would be allowed to run off-leash, unfenced, during designated hours.  The group mentions other areas where such laws are in force.  One is New York City where from opening to 9a.m. and again from 9p.m. to closing, dogs may run unfenced and unfettered in city parks.  The local group has mentioned Portland, Oregon and Boise, Iowa as other areas which have such laws.  There may be others.

Now then, I can just imagine trying to train for competition in an area where such a circus is going on. (By the way, here in Phoenix where today the temperature will crest near 120 degrees, the early morning hours are THE time to train.  I was in a city park before 6 o'clock this morning.)

So I'm wondering if some who are reading this live in an area where such a dogs-off-leash law is in effect?  And if so, what are your experiences trying to train in such an environment?

We are about to try to put together effective opposition to what seems to be gaining traction here. Your detailed information about what's happening in your area in the face of such a situation would be helpful.  I know some find it very difficult to use the comments section of this blog, so I would welcome your detailed information either by email  or by phone, 602-942-6069.  If I'm not right there, please leave a message and a phone number and I'll call you back.

I know trouble when I smell it, and I smell it now.  Your help would be appreciated by the entire dog sports community here in Arizona.



  1. I think it's wonderful how you feel your special interest (minority) as a dog trainer trumps what's best for dog lovers across the valley (majority). Of course it is your business to train. I would imagine you are passionate about AKC training, but the reality is that most dog owners do not have the time nor money to invest in dog training. Does that make them bad people or bad dog owners? I think not. We are talking about people that simple have a dog as a loving family member. We are not talking about criminals or abusive people. What we do need is a fair way to exercise our beloved pets in this brutal climate. Sure you can argue that we can travel to one of the few dog parks, but again the reality is must people don't have the time nor money to do this. What we dog lovers need is to spend a few minutes of quality time with our dogs letting them run in our parks. If someone has a dog that is out of control, then we should have the authorities enforce more reasonable laws.

    I actually think it's a wonderful service that you provide. I wish I had the time and money to train my dogs. Life is a compromise and I ask you to consider one. There's room enough in our parks to accommodate your training and our dogs exercising. In the mean time, you can go ahead and rationalize your special interest and help write the laws for the majority by your minority. This seems to be the way things are done these days.

    Thank you.

  2. We have 2 German Short-hair pointers who are avid hunters. My husband takes them bird hunting every single weekend from Oct through Feb. He has trained them independently to properly to hunt and retrieve. Just because we do not pay money to belong to an organization should not mean that our dogs should not get the exercise they need. Have you ever tried to get a bird dog enough exercise by letting them run in an average size yard or taking them on a walk? It is not sufficient for them. They need to RUN ! and allowing them to do this off leash is the only way they remain happy and healthy in the off-season. I do not think anyone is suggesting that there should be off leash hours at every single park in Phoenix, just in select parks. Therefore, you can train your "special" dogs as usual without any interference from our dogs who do not have an "official title."

  3. Go ahead sir, make your connected calls to maintain your exclusive carve out. The thing is, we know how the process worked, back then, thanks in part to your vivid description of such. We also know the dripping antipathy you have for even 'dog sport' folks of your ilk... let alone us unwashed. Very revealing. I know market trends sir.. you want 'us to pay for space for you'. The national trend is against you, however. Get a grip. Your position is not going to work long term; it's a formula destined to fail. I may be out of this before then, but I'll bet long money that Phoenix won't be that backward forever.