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Park Rules for Dogs

Resource
Keep Portland's parks healthy and fun for all visitors by knowing and following our rules for dogs.
Quick Summary - Things to Know Before You Go 
  • By law, dogs must always be on leash outside of a designated Dog Off-Leash Area (DOLA), and waste must always be picked up and disposed of. Be prepared with sufficient leashes and bags. 

  • Animals must always be under their handler’s control. 

  • For health and safety reasons, do not bring a dog in heat to a Portland park. 

  • For health and safety reasons, do not bring a dog without a complete cycle of vaccinations to a Portland park. 

  • Follow all park rules and posted signage. Check below to make sure your park allows dogs. 

  • Service animals are always allowed.

Where are Dogs Allowed? 

Leashed dogs (and other animals) are allowed in nearly all of Portland’s parks and natural areas, with the exception of the following sites: 

Off-leash dogs are only allowed in designated Dog Off-Leash Areas.  

Dog Off-Leash Area (DOLA) Rules 

Before You Visit: 

  • Bring no more than three dogs to the Off-Leash Area at any time. 

  • Carry enough poo bags and leashes for each dog in your care. 

  • Display tags showing proof of current license and rabies vaccination.

Conduct in the Park: 

  • Dogs must be leashed prior to entering and upon leaving the off-leash area, and must stay within the boundaries. Always keep your dog on-leash outside the off-leash area. 

  • Demonstrate appropriate social interaction between nature, people, and other dogs. 

  • Dogs must never be allowed to chase or harm wildlife. This includes squirrels, ducks, rabbits, birds, and other animals. 

  • Make sure your dog is well behaved. Train your dog not to jump on people, even if they are just being friendly. 

  • Leash and immediately remove from the DOLA any dogs displaying aggressive behavior. 

  • Always keep your pets under control and within view. Handlers will be responsible for any damage or injury caused by their dog. 

  • Always scoop your dog’s poop! For more information on the importance of Leash and Scoop laws, see section below. 

Out of Courtesy: 

  • Remove pinch or choke collars when playing off-leash for your dog’s safety. 

  • Don’t bring food inside fenced DOLAs. Dogs tend to enjoy food, and may take drastic action to get it.

  • Save small dog areas for small dogs. A dog is considered small if they weigh 22 pounds or less.

  • Remain in the off-leash area to supervise your pets and any young children. 

  • Be considerate of park neighbors by playing quietly with dogs in the early morning and evening hours. 

  • Don’t allow your dog to dig. Digging damages the park and creates a tripping hazard for others. 

Leash and Scoop Laws 

Though an unleashed dog or some unscooped poop may not seem like a big deal, they are some of the most common complaints that Parks staff deal with. Leash laws ensure dogs are under control at all times, which keeps people, park land, wildlife, and other dogs safe. Scoop laws, in addition to keeping public spaces free of unpleasant surprises, prevent the spread of dangerous bacteria and parasites found in dog waste. Violation of either may result in an exclusion or fine of up to $150. 

But my dog is perfect off-leash! 

Even so, there are plenty of other reasons to remain on a leash outside of Dog Off-Leash Areas: 

  • Parks are public spaces. Other visitors and even animals could be made afraid or uncomfortable by the presence of off-leash dogs. 

  • Even if your dog is being friendly, other dogs may not see it that way. Approaching reactive or aggressive dogs without restraint can ruin their socialization training. 

  • Dogs are unpredictable. Anything could happen in a park; they might be startled by a loud noise or excited by nearby wildlife and take off, regardless of how well-trained they are. 

Remember, you are liable for damage or injury inflicted by your dog! 

It’s only poop, does it really matter? 

It does! Unscooped dog poop in parks creates multiple problems for visitors, wildlife, and the environment. Aside from being an unsightly stepping hazard, it can be a vector for dozens of diseases and parasites that pose serious health risks to wildlife and people alike, including: 

  • Campylobacter 

  • Salmonella 

  • E. Coli 

  • Canine parvovirus 

  • Giardia 

  • Roundworms 

  • Tapeworms 

The poop itself is also high in nitrogen and phosphorus. When nitrogen and phosphorus run off with stormwater they can pollute the river and contribute to harmful algal blooms that can cause fish die-offs. 

Scoop your dog’s poop! 

Leash/Scoop Compliance Program  

Portland Parks & Recreation encourages compliance with leash and scoop laws through education, enforcement, and by providing dog off-leash areas (DOLAs) for legal dog-owner recreation. Our efforts include:  

  • Developing park signs, presentations, and flyers to increase awareness and understanding of leash/scoop laws 

  • Park Ranger patrols, which use park warnings, exclusions, and citations to increase leash/scoop law compliance 

  • In-park outreach visits 

  • Intensive outreach and enforcement efforts at parks where low compliance impacts park health, safety, or enjoyability 

  • Education campaigns, such as Pet Health for Parks, Dogs for the Environment, and Pettiquette for Parks 

  • Special events like Flicks with Fido, and participating community and partner events like Doggie Dash and Aarf in the Park 

For more details about PP&R’s Leash/Scoop Compliance Program, see our policies and procedures