Beyond Voice & Sight – Practice Good Trail Etiquette

As dog owners we are very fortunate to have many trails on Boulder’s Open Space that we can enjoy with our dogs off-leash if we have a “Green Tag” and our dogs are under Voice & Sight (V & S) control. To learn more about how to get a Green Tag and how to comply with the Voice & Sight rules visit the city of Boulder’s Open Space & Mountain Parks web site. FIDOS strongly encourages all dog owners to strictly adhere to the Voice and Sight regulations when out on V & S trails.

It’s also important to remember that all of the Voice & Sight trails are multi-use trails – we share them with other people, dogs, horses, sometimes mountain bikes and certainly with the abundant wildlife. To promote a positive experience for all users FIDOS encourages dogs and their guardians to follow to a few common sense guidelines that go beyond V & S rules:

  • Poop Bags: Before heading out on your hike be sure to have poo bags with you. Do not assume that there will be bags available at the trailhead.
  • Trailhead Leashing: Not all trailheads have a “trailhead leashing” rule, but act “as if” they all do. Keep your dog leashed in all parking areas and keep your dog leashed until you are well clear of the trailhead area. This allows the excitement of the arrival to calm and gives your dog the opportunity to settle into the hike.
  • There’s no poop fairy! Always pick up your dog’s poop and carry it out with you to dispose of properly. Never leave poo bags along side the trail to be retrieved on your way back. Extra gold stars go to those that pick up poo bags left by others as they’re heading back from their hike.
  • Ask if it’s okay for your dog to say hello: Prevent your dog – even if “he’s friendly!” – from approaching strangers without their permission, particularly children and elderly hikers. This may mean leashing your dog for a short period even if the trail regulation is Voice & Sight.
  • Keep an eye on your dog: Refrain from telephone calls or other distractions while hiking with your dog. Being vigilant and attentive will make sure you’re paying attention to your dog’s behavior.
  • Take a leash break: If your normally well-behaved and voice controlled dog isn’t responding (it can happen to even the best dog/owner!) leash up until you feel he/she is under your control.
  • Read the trail signs: Be aware of trail junctions and trail signage during your hike. There are several trails that start out as Voice & Sight and then change to a leashed trail along the way. OSMP is endeavoring to simplify the trail rules, but there are still some complex intersections/transitions.
  • Some users are afraid of dogs: When on these trails you will occasionally encounter people who are uncomfortable with or fearful of dogs. They won’t be wearing a sign stating that, so it’s up to us to read the body language as you and your dog approach. If you suspect the person isn’t comfortable, leash your dog while passing them or even step aside and “sit” your dog to let the person pass with plenty of breathing room.