7 essential things for anchorage dog owners large

Essential Things Every Anchorage Dog Owner Should Know

Living in Alaska offers unique challenges to dog owners. Not only do we need to contend with below-zero temperatures in the winter, hordes of mosquitos in the summer, but also run-ins with moose and maybe even a bear. But did you know that we have come up with seven essential things that every dog owner needs to know about dog training?

Dog training is an essential aspect of responsible pet ownership. For dog owners in Anchorage, Alaska, ensuring their furry friends are well-trained is even more crucial due to the unique environment and challenges presented by the region. From proper socialization to obedience commands, there are seven key things that every Anchorage dog owner needs to know about dog training. In this podcast episode, we will explore these essential elements to help you raise a well-behaved and happy canine companion.


One of the most critical aspects of dog training is socialization. Anchorage dogs should be exposed to various people, animals, and environments from an early age. This helps them develop good manners and confidence while preventing behavioral issues such as fear or aggression. Regular visits to dog parks, attending obedience classes, and supervised interactions with other dogs and people can aid in their socialization process.

Basic Obedience Commands

Teaching your dog basic obedience commands is vital to their safety and well-being. Anchorage’s rugged terrain and diverse wildlife present potential hazards, so commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “leave it” are invaluable. Consistent and positive reinforcement training methods work best to ensure your dog understands and follows these commands reliably.

Recall Training

Anchorage offers breathtaking outdoor opportunities, making recall training a must for dogs in the area. The ability to call your dog back to you is essential for their safety during off-leash activities. Start recall training in a controlled environment, gradually increasing distractions. Use high-value treats or toys as rewards to reinforce their positive association with returning when called.

Leash Manners

With Anchorage’s diverse landscapes, proper leash manners are vital for both your dog’s safety and the enjoyment of your outdoor adventures together. Teaching your dog to walk calmly on a leash, without pulling or lunging, is crucial. Consistent training, using positive reinforcement techniques, will help your dog understand that pulling is not acceptable behavior.

Environmental Adaptability

Anchorage experiences extreme weather conditions, including snow, cold temperatures, and long daylight hours in summer. It’s crucial to prepare your dog for these environmental challenges. Gradually expose them to different weather conditions and provide appropriate gear such as booties or jackets when necessary. This will ensure their comfort and well-being in various outdoor settings.

Proper Behavior Around Wildlife

Anchorage is known for its diverse wildlife, including moose, bears, and other animals. Teaching your dog to behave appropriately around wildlife is essential for their safety and the preservation of local ecosystems. Training your dog to avoid chasing or approaching wildlife not only protects them from potential harm but also prevents disturbances to the natural environment.

Positive Reinforcement and Patience

Finally, it’s important to remember that dog training requires patience and a positive approach. Positive reinforcement, such as treats, praise, and play, should be the foundation of your training techniques. Rewarding desired behaviors encourages your dog to repeat them, leading to faster and more successful training outcomes. Consistency, repetition, and understanding that training takes time will help you build a strong bond with your furry companion.

Dog training is crucial for every dog owner in Anchorage, Alaska, to ensure the well-being and safety of their furry friends. By focusing on socialization, basic obedience commands, recall training, leash manners, environmental adaptability, and proper behavior around wildlife, Anchorage dog owners can raise well-behaved and happy canine companions who thrive in their unique surroundings. Additionally, employing positive reinforcement and maintaining patience throughout the training process will yield the best results.

Remember, dog training is an ongoing process that requires dedication and consistency. It is never too early or too late to start training your dog. Whether you have a puppy or an adult dog, implementing these seven essential elements will contribute to their overall development and create a harmonious relationship between you and your furry friend. As you embark on your training journey, seek guidance from professional dog trainers or enroll your dog in obedience classes. These resources can provide valuable insights and support to help you navigate the training process more effectively. Remember to be patient with your dog, as every dog learns at their own pace.

Investing time and effort into dog training is an investment in your dog’s well-being and the quality of your relationship. By focusing on socialization, basic obedience, recall, leash manners, environmental adaptability, proper behavior around wildlife, and positive reinforcement, you will equip your Anchorage dog with the necessary skills to navigate its environment confidently and safely. Enjoy the process of training your dog and cherish the incredible bond that develops between you as you embark on this rewarding journey together.

Did you know that Alaska Fish and Game has some advice for Alaska Dog Owners too?

Much as many of us love pets, we need to be aware of the problems our pets can cause for nearby wildlife (including fish) and work to prevent them. Pets, especially dogs and cats, can and often do revert to their natural instincts when out of the house – instincts to track, stalk, chase, attack, and kill other species. This is certainly true for pets that are allowed to periodically roam freely in an area (think neighborhood cats) or the feral offspring of pet cats that have been released to the wild. It can also apply in the case of pets that have at least temporarily escaped human control (e.g., a lost dog, or pack of neighborhood dogs). 

Stresses on Wildlife

Being flushed from a hiding place or pursued is stressful for wildlife. It is especially dangerous for species with unprotected young nearby. Often the act of a pet harrying wildlife turns ugly, with significant injuries and death of the wild animal – and its eggs or young – being the result. Even animals that may seem insignificant to us, such as the insect-eating shrews a cat delivers to our doorstep, provide important functions in the natural world. At a minimum, they serve as food sources for many of the other wild species we enjoy seeing.

Managing Pets

It is critical to always keep control of your pet. For dog owners, this means keeping your dog within sight and under voice control. Many communities have leash laws that direct where pets must be restrained with a leash or, conversely, where they can be off their leash; learn and follow the rules your community has established.

For cat owners, it’s a different story: The average number of small animals each cat kills annually has been variously estimated at between a dozen, to as many as 1,000. Multiply this by the number of households and farms with such cats, and you see the magnitude of the concern for wildlife conservation. Sadly, cat bells have been shown to be relatively ineffective at keeping cats from killing birds. The single most effective action a cat owner can take to help protect wildlife is to keep their cat indoors.

Disease & Other Indirect Effects

Domestic pets can also have other, less direct, effects on wildlife. These include introducing diseases and transporting parasites into fish and wildlife habitats.

There are several Off-Leash Dog Areas in Anchorage

Anchorage has nine areas within popular parks dedicated to off-leash dog activity. The map and descriptions below outline each location’s guidelines. Dog park enthusiasts may utilize an interactive mapping tool to locate each park or off-leash area.

Off-Leash Areas

  • Off-leash areas: Connors Bog and Russian Jack Springs Park
  • Off-leash trails: University Lake Park, Far North Bicentennial Park, and the South Anchorage Sports Park
  • Fenced, off-leash areas: Chanshtnu Muldoon Park, Whisper Faith Kovach Park, Valley of the Moon Park, South Anchorage Sports Park, and Arctic Benson Park

Please be aware that there are certain regulations to all Anchorage off-leash dog areas:

All Anchorage Off-Leash Dog Areas 

  • Dogs must be legally licensed and have a current rabies vaccination. Visit this website to learn about licensing your dog
  • Dogs must be leashed upon entering and leaving the off-leash dog areas. 
  • Classified dogs and female dogs in heat are prohibited. 
  • The owner or custodian of the dog must remain in the dog area. 
  • Dogs must be under control as defined in Title 17
  • Dog feces must be cleaned up by the dog owner or custodian. 
  • Holes dug by dogs must be filled by the dog owner or custodian. 
  • Owners or custodians are responsible for all actions of their dogs. 
  • Be respectful of the wildlife living in the park and the lakes. 
  • Be aware of lakes with posted signs prohibiting dogs from swimming. This is to protect both pets and wildlife!

Area-Specific Regulations 

  • Connor’s Bog – Off-leash activity shall be restricted to the designated area once skijoring trails are groomed. 
  • University Lake – Specific trails within this park may be closed to off-leash use on a seasonal basis. Such trails will be clearly posted. Be respectful of wildlife and other park users. Swimming by dogs and/or their people is prohibited to protect nesting birds and a very active beaver community. Beavers can be extremely aggressive during mating season and while protecting kits. NOTE: Parking lot upgrades were completed in 2021. 

Good “Petiquette

Areas designated for off-leash dog use are shared by many park users, including skiers, walkers, runners, bikers, and other members of the community. Please practice courteous behavior and good “petiquette.”

Here are some simple things that can be done to keep off-leash areas enjoyable for everyone:

  • Always keep your dog in sight and under control. 
  • Always carry a leash. 
  • Bring poop scoop bags from home to clean up after your pet.  Please help by picking up extra. 
  • Control excessive barking. 
  • Off-leash areas are shared for a variety of activities so please be respectful of other users. 
  • Keep your dog controlled and restrain it from interfering with other people and their dogs (especially leashed ones), if the behavior is unwanted.
  • Be respectful of wildlife living in parks, near lakes, and in surrounding areas. 
  • Properly dispose of all trash, including treats, toys, and pet waste. 

Remember, you are fully responsible for your dog and its actions.  

So, what do you think? Did you learn anything new about your K9 buddy?

Before we end the show, let’s press pause for a sec…maybe ask yourself, why did this resonate with me? What aspect of my relationship with my K9 buddy could I apply this to? And what am I going to do differently this week to make my dog’s training a little easier? So, take time to mull it over, talk it out with a family member or trusted friend, put some ideas down in your training journal, and then check back next week for our next episode.

And, as always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this episode. So, reach out over on X at firstpawmedia,and let’s spark a conversation. Until then, keep going! You are doing great! It is time to create the relationship with your dog that you always dreamed of.

Thanks for listening to Dog Works Radio. Find the show notes for this episode and all others at Alaska dog works (dot)com. Know someone in your life who need help with their dog’s training? Be a hero and share our podcast with them, and we will see you next time.


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