Updated: Sep 18, 2019
Taking your dog with you playing disc golf is a great way to spend time together. You both get exercise, get outside and have fun together. Is it right for you and everyone else on the course?
First off, Molly thanks you for visiting Molly's Pet Store. We love to spend time with Molly. She loves to spend time with us. I imagine that you feel the same way since you are here reading this. Disc golf is fun for Molly because she is outside, often running and spending time with us. Sometimes she is on leash, sometimes she is off leash. It just depends on a few things like where we are, our mood and Molly's mood.
When heading off to the disc golf course and considering bring your pet, keep these things in mind.
1. Pet owner etiquette
2. Your pet's personality and behavior around other people
3. Your pet's consistency to listen to you
4. Leash laws
5. Busy play times on course
6. Course rules
7. Recreation vs. tournament play
Pet Owner Etiquette
First of all, you are responsible for you pet's behavior and actions, whether on leash or off leash. Once you own that, everything else gets easy. If you and your partner can't agree on how to manage your pet during play, maybe you shouldn't play together or at the very least bring your dog. Or, you should at least understand that if one of you yields the decision to the other person, even though it's not what you want, and your dog gets into trouble, the owner(s) are at fault. So, owner be wise, the liability will fall on you. Lastly, clean up after your dog. It's the right thing to do.
Your Pet's Personality & Behavior
Is your dog well-behaved or well-trained? This is an important question to ask yourself before venturing into public with your dog. Molly was not well-trained when we first got her. She had some behavior we didn't approve of. We have gone through training with her, and she has come a long way. Question to ask yourself...Does your dog show signs of aggression? Will your dog run off and chase other dogs, cats or squirrels? Is your dog over protective of you when away from home? Your dog shouldn't be a nuisance to other players, other pets or wildlife. If you answered yes to any of these questions, your dog, and likely you, need more training. Most people like dogs, but please realize this..."Just because you love your dog, it doesn't mean everyone else loves your dog." I don't remember where I heard that for the first time. It was likely years ago, but it has rung true. I remember it to this day and it helps me better relate and understand other people's behavior and perception of my dog.
Your Pet's Consistency to Listen
While you might ask yourself, "How is this different than what I just read in the paragraph above?" Well, to start, if your dog behaves in a manner you are not okay with, does it listen and obey your commands? For example will your dog be distracted by a running squirrel, another player, etc.? If they are, this isn't necessarily bad, unless you can't get their attention again. Do they stop, come or stay? I have met a lot of dogs playing disc golf, hiking or going for a run. Many of them behave well. Of those that didn't, some listened to their owners when spoken to. Unfortunately, there have been a few instances where I've met a dog and they didn't behave well or listen to their owners. This can be scary. One example example comes to mind. One of our neighbors owns 2 pit bulls. It is clear with the dogs behavior that they get no training and they certainly don't listen well to their owners. I was out back in the alley with our other neighbor on a beautiful summer day. She had her infant in her arms, her daughter walking next to her and Molly was on leash with us. We walked past the fenced yard and the two dogs came tearing through the yard and stopped against a bulging fence barking, growling and grabbing at each other's throats. One of the dogs jumped up on top of the fence and was half over. Its legs were on the chain link and its belly on the top. It was teetering over to our side until I stepped toward the dog and it gave up the fight against gravity. It did this three more times before the owner came out to the fence and asked me to leave so her dogs would listen to her. Don't be that owner.
Well, I don't need to say a lot here. Check out your city, county or course leash ordinances. While most of like to recreate with our dogs off leash (our dogs like this too!), we still live and recreate in places that have leash laws and ordinances that tell us when and where to have our dog on leash and often how long the leash can be. While I have not met someone who has been fined, it's still a reality. Need a better leash for playing disc golf with your dog, check out our selection at Molly's Pet Store. We have fixed lengths to choose from or you can customize your own length.
Busy Play Times
If it's busy, should your dog be on the course. If they meet all the above recommendations, why not? Just be respectful of other players. If your dog is slowing you down, allow other players to play through. This is a good time to keep your dog on leash. I know. I can hear you say. "My dog obeys me well. My dog listens to me. It's hard to throw the disc when I'm holding a leash." I've said all these as well. Keep in mind that your behavior and your dog's will impact everyone else you encounter.
What are the course rules about dogs (and cats for those of you who walk your cats)? Find out and adhere to them. Please, adhere to them. All it takes are a few instances of irresponsible pet owners and we can lose the privilege of playing disc golf with our dogs.
Recreation vs. Tournament Play
Playing recreationally is fun and it's great to have your friends, loved ones and dogs with you. The same can be said for tournament play. However, your dog should watch from the sidelines with your family and friends. Tournaments involve serious play, prize money, other competitors, Professional Disc Golf Association rules/regulations.
With Molly's current behavior, we are able to play disc golf with her at any course we visit, as long as she is allowed on the course. Over the summer, we made it out to Farragut State Park. They have three different courses, beginner, intermediate and a tournament play course. We played the intermediate course and it was a blast. We kept Molly on leash the whole time. We didn't want to, but the course and park regulations stated that we were required to. Even though she couldn't run free, we were grateful that she was allowed to play the course with us. Locally, we have a few options to play. While certainly not the caliber of the Farragut State Park, we enjoy ourselves. The best part, Molly gets to play too. See you on the course!
Remember to check out our online store. Not only do we offer a quality product, we offer peace of mind that comes with knowing your dog is in good hands.