Boulder Dog Rules

The city of Boulder is surrounded by open space and is a model for cities around the world that want to preserve outdoor space. One of the unique aspects of the open space system is the privilege to have dogs run free without a leash.  Many people love this and a few really dislike it.  Dog lovers, dog owners and dogs themselves love it, while those who dislike or are afraid of dogs tend to dislike it. For dog lovers, I have grouped together the best Boulder hikes with dogs. I hope it helps!

Dog Hiking in Boulder ColoradoThe City of Boulder has tried to minimize the problems with dogs on trails by implementing a few policies. One of the most effective in my opinion is requiring that dogs be leashed in the high-traffic trailhead and parking areas.  This seems to be a logical place for skirmishes to happen. They also require that dog owners who wish to release their dog into the wild go through a training course about the rules before they can get authorized.  They must then pay a fee of $13 for Boulder residents, $33 for Boulder County Residents and $75 for non-residents to get a green tag for the dog. If a dog is off-leash without that tag the owner will be ticketed.

The rules that are presented in the training are basically that your dog must be under voice command and visible to the owner at all times. This means that if your dog sees a squirrel and starts an all out blitz, one call from you should bring him back to your side.  I’d love to know how many dogs will respond this way, but it is a good set of guidelines anyway. It should help people understand the seriousness of the requirements.

I love that we have this privilege available in Boulder. My dog is under total voice control at least 80% of the time, I think, (his weakness is tennis balls and is sometimes so absorbed in a staredown with a tennis ball that he doesn’t respond on first call) and has never been involved in any skirmishes on trail. I hate when I see people with unruly dogs causing trouble on the trails, it just gives those that don’t like dogs on trails ammunition to use against the dog privileges!!

UPDATE 5/14/14:

Current rules from the City of Boulder’s website: The Boulder City Council recently approved a series of new updates to the city’s Voice and Sight Tag Program. Started in 2006, the program allows dogs to be in designated areas that allow off-leash control if they display special participation tags and they are under “voice and sight control” of their guardians at all times.

The new program requirements, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, are designed to ensure that trails remain a special destination for Boulder visitors and their dogs. This also will help Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) protect wildlife and natural resources, and help increase dog safety.

To participate in the Voice and Sight Tag Program in 2015, you need to:

  • Attend a class about the City of Boulder’s expectations for voice and sight control. OSMP will have information on registering for the class in the coming weeks. Classes will begin in early June.
  • Provide proof of current rabies vaccination. Boulder residents will need to meet this requirement by obtaining a City of Boulder dog license.
  • Pay the registration fees:
    • City of Boulder residents: $13.
    • Boulder County residents not in the City of Boulder: $33.
    • Non-Boulder County residents: $75.
    • The registration fee includes one guardian and one dog. The fee for each additional guardian in a household is $5, and the fee for each additional dog in a household is $10.
  • Annual renewal fees for the three groups of participants, respectively, will be $5, $20, $30 per household.
  • Fines for violations of voice and sight control have increased. The courts may also impose a range of penalties for violations, including additional dog training, and temporary suspension or revocation of voice and sight control privileges for egregious violations or repeat offenders.



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