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'Good owners' rewarded by Bozeman nonprofit for 'good dog' etiquette

Program praises dog owners for following trail, city rules with leashed pups
Posted at 3:44 PM, Nov 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-15 17:44:42-05

Bozeman’s trails and parks are used by everyone, including our four-legged family members.

Bozeman is a dog-friendly city, with dozens of people and their pups out, enjoying the trails everyday.

And now, a local nonprofit is giving back to those walking their dogs the right way.

The program is appropriately dubbed “Good Dog, Good Owner” and a few people using paths like Peets Trail found out why.

“It’s a little gesture of appreciation," says Terry Cunningham, executive director of Run Dog Run.

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A little pat in the back goes a long way, whether you are big and fluffy or small but mighty.

For a nonprofit with a name like “Run Dog Run," Cunningham says it’s time good walking manners get recognized.

“We want to have positive reinforcement for good behavior in our parks and trails and neighborhoods and that means if your dog is on a leash where it is supposed to be and if you are picking up after your pet, you should be rewarded," Cunningham says.

That’s why Cunningham spent a part of his day doing just that with five-dollar gift cards - If you're walking your pooch right, though.

“We are seeing behaviors where people are not having their dogs on leash and they’re not picking up after their pets," Cunningham says. "That impacts other Bozeman trail users and park users.”

Part of this project hopes to emphasize the rules of being able to walk your dog appropriately on the trails.

“We have the resources," Cunningham says. "We have pet waste bags at parks and trails. We have lend-a-leash kiosks. There’s really no excuse for irresponsible dog behavior.”

Run Dog Run, alongside the Gallatin Valley Land Trust and Bridger Animal Nutrition, will be watching for good behavior for the next three months -- 90 days of gift cards, hoping to make the trails a more fun place to be, one good dog at a time.

“Everybody likes getting a pat on the back," says EJ Porth with the GVLT. "Everyone likes being recognized and what’s so cool about this program is it is giving us an opportunity to celebrate the people who are doing a really good job.”

Each of the cards is worth five bucks at either Dee-O-Gee in town or with Bridger Animal Nutrition.

So not only is keeping your pal on a leash in leash zones and making sure they mind in an off-leash area good for them, this program wants to help make it good for you, too.

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