Dog Park Rules

Chicago Park District Rules & Regulations of a DFA (Dog Friendly Area)

The Chicago Park District has Rules and Regulations for Dog Friendly Areas. We’ve included them below along with some short explanations, many of which were borrowed from Montrose Dog Beach’s website.

Owners are legally responsible for their dogs and any injuries caused by their dogs.

Your dog is your responsibility. If your dog injures another, you will be financially responsible. Know your dog and his/her warning signs; the best way to stop a fight is by preventing it.  Be aware that you are entering an area where your dog may come into contact with a dog that could hurt it.  Even if your dog is super friendly, you still have to be aware of the other dogs, and how they are reacting towards yours so you can keep your dog out of harm’s way.

Owners must remain with and watch their dogs at all times.

Always, always, always have your dogs in eyesight. Your dog is your responsibility, so please keep a close eye on your dogs as they play, making sure that they are safe at all times. It is your responsibility to keep you dog out of trouble and under control, and to pick up after him/her every time. You must accompany your dog in the park. Watching your dog from outside the fence, or dropping it off while you’re jogging is not allowed.

Dogs must be leashed prior to and upon leaving the DFA.

Dogs are only allowed off-leash inside the DFA. Please respect other park users and keep dogs on leash when coming and going to the DFA. Off-leash dogs in other areas of the park are subject to ticketing and fines for violating Chicago’s leash laws. Please also be mindful that gates to the DFA must remain closed except upon entering and exiting the DFA.

Owners must immediately clean up after their dogs.

It is up to every dog guardian to clean up after their dog every time. People who fail to clean up after their dogs are subject to a fine of up to $500.00 (City of Chicago Ordinance 7-12-420). The Park District staff does not come in and clean up the DFA. It is maintained by you, the user. So please be good stewards of the DFA and pick up after your pet.

Dogs with a known history of, or who exhibit, dangerous behavior are prohibited.

If your dog does not socialize well with other dogs and/or people, coming to the DFA is not a good idea. Any type of aggressive behavior is not welcome and not allowed. Please immediately leash and remove your dog if he/she exhibits aggressive or potentially dangerous behavior.  If an aggressive dog’s owner refuses to leave and you believe it to be a danger to others, you can call 911 for assistance.

Dogs must be healthy, fully immunized, dewormed, and licensed.

All dogs must have a current DFA tag as proof your dog is immunized and healthy. For more information about DFA tags see the Chicago Park District info page on DFAs.

No dog will be allowed in a DFA unless it has a current rabies vaccination.

In order to obtain a DFA tag, your dog’s rabies vaccination must be up to date.

Dog owners are responsible for the monitoring and maintenance of the DFA.

The Park District provides limited maintenance for its dog parks. For example, they will help repair a broken fence but they will not pick up poop, rake mulch back in place, replace pea gravel, fill holes, etc. It’s up to the dog park users to take care of the DFA. Please help us keep Horner Park DFA safe and clean by doing your part. We are privileged to have the temporary use of a grass surface area. Please do not let your dog dig. If you see a hole or other dangerous condition, please email the Horner Park Dog Friendly Area Committee as soon as possible or message us on Facebook.

No Food (human or dog) is allowed inside the DFA.

Most dogs are highly food motivated and bringing food into a dog park is just asking for trouble. Dogs will beg, steal and fight over food. You are welcome to enjoy a private picnic with your leashed dog elsewhere in the park.

Owners or other responsible persons must have a DFA permit with them for each dog visiting the DFA.

Each dog visiting a DFA must display a current Chicago Park District DFA tag.

All dogs must have a current DFA tag. For more information about DFA tags see the Chicago Park District info page on DFAs.

DFA permits expire on December 31 of the year that it is issued.

Each DFA permit expires on December 31 of the year that it is issued. Tags are only good for one year because they reflect that your dog is healthy and immunized, which must be assessed on an annual basis.

Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult; younger children must be closely supervised.

Children under 12 are not allowed in the DFA without a parent or guardian. Children must be supervised for their own safety and that of the dogs. We do not recommend bringing small children into to the dog park. You do so at your own risk, and must closely supervise them.

Only three dogs per person allowed.

There is a strict limit of three dogs per adult. It is too difficult to watch over, control and clean up after more than three dogs. Got more than three dogs? Bring a friend to help! Even professional dog walkers are allowed only three dogs at a time.

Puppies under four months old and female dogs in heat are prohibited.

Puppies must be up to date on all immunizations and parasite-free to be eligible for a DFA tag. Once your pup is old enough for that (usually around four months), it’s welcome in the park.

Dogs in heat or near heat should not be taken to socialize with other dogs. They are a fight hazard and present a danger to themselves and other dogs.

Failure to comply with the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control Regulation for Chicago Park District DFAs can result in a fine.

Cook County Animal Control is responsible for enforcing the DFA tag rules, and if they actually did that, you could get a fine of up to $500.

For more information on obtaining DFA tags and a list of participating vets click here.