Dog Added MembershipsDog Added Memberships
Rules and RegulationsRules and Regulations
Registration ProcessRegistration Process
Health and Safety RequirementsHealth and Safety Requirements
Reporting an IncidentReporting an Incident


Dog-Added memberships can be purchased concurrent with human memberships.
They will be valid through your current membership year.


Vision: To enrich well-being and promote health for both humans and canines through a well- designed outdoor environment, quality education, rigorous research and best-practices that apply Nature-Based Therapeutics at the Dog Commons.

Mission:  The mission of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Dog Commons is to be an international resource in Nature-Based Therapeutics and specifically in Animal Assisted Interactions.. We will strive to offer valuable information and best practices, conduct rigorous human/canine research, deliver innovative public engagement programs, and inspire and delight humans and their canine companions in a well-designed and engaging setting.

Guiding Principles:

  • The bonds between humans and animals are critical to the well-being of all people
  • Animals are a critical part of learning responsibility, nurturing and empathic behaviors
  • People of all ages benefit by understanding the value of animals in the human experience
  • Education and dissemination of human/canine interaction information is an essential activity and includes: model landscapes, demonstration displays, written, visual and verbal formats 
  •  To advance the field of Animal Assisted Interactions as part of Nature-Based Therapeutics, it is our commitment to provide exemplary, innovative, rigorous and cutting-edge human/canine research, programs, events, information, interpretation and resources
  • Obtaining regular feedback from users and stakeholders will improve the visitor experience and the overall success of the program
  • Research is essential to discovering new knowledge about the human/canine experience

A “Bill of Rights for Dogs”:

  • Dogs have feelings – it is the responsibility of the human guardian to recognize and practice kindness and empathy towards dogs
  • Dogs have needs - it is the responsibility of the human guardian to recognize the needs of a dog to be happy, healthy and comfortable
  • Dogs require safety - it is the responsibility of the human guardian to keep dogs safe at all times – wearing a 6-8-foot leash, identifying the dog and keeping updated vaccinations

On-Leash Dog Trail Distinctive Features:

  • 65 acre on-leash dog trail including two main arteries with connecting access
  • Portable outhouse
  • Easy access and convenient parking
  • Water fountains for both dogs and people
  • Dog waste receptacles situated along the trails with individual dog-waste bags
  • Collar identification tags for registered members 

Dog Commons Hours are as follows:

Open April 15th through November 15th from 8:00am-7:00pm

Closed official dates November 16th through April 14th

During this time the dog commons is closed until the overflow parking lot snow is melted and the gravel has dried out enough to support vehicle traffic.

Already purchased a Dog-Added Membership and need a waiver? Click Here


All dogs visiting the Arboretum MUST have a current Dog Added Membership.

Step One - Entering the Arboretum
Upon entering the Arboretum grounds the gatehouse staff will ask to see your dog-added membership identification tag.  After inspection is made, you will be directed to the Dog Commons.

Step Two - Entering the Dog Commons On-Leash Area
Before leaving your car, make sure your dog is securely attached to leash.

Step Three – Enjoy the On-Leash Dog Trail!

Step Four - Exiting the Arboretum
Provide your dog water (if thirsty) at the water pump.  Be sure to check and make sure your dog is safely in the car before removing the leash.


To ensure safety and enjoyment for all, on-leash dog trail users must strictly observe the following regulations.

Those found in violation will lose dog trail privileges without refund.

1. On-Leash Dog Area hours: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. or sunset (whichever comes first)

2. Use of the dog trail is at your own risk. Each owner is solely responsible for their and their dog's actions and assumes all liability for damages suffered by any person or dog injured by the member's dog(s) while utilizing the dog trail.

3. No smoking, alcohol, food, or glass containers are permitted on the Dog Commons.

4. Dogs are to remain leashed at all times when entering and exiting the dog trail.

5. Members are required to clean up after their dog(s). All waste must be bagged and disposed of properly in the marked receptacles.

6. Members must accompany and monitor dogs closely. Dogs must be on-leash, in view of and under voice command of their handlers at all times.

7. Members are responsible to ensure their dog(s) do not dig holes or cause damage to trail plants or property.

8. Prong, pinch, choke or spike collars and retractable leashes are not permitted in the on-leash Dog Area. They pose a safety risk to dogs and people.

9. All dogs entering the dog trail must be healthy and must wear a collar displaying their current member tag, rabies tag and dog license if required by your city’s ordinance. Dogs with contagious health conditions are not permitted in the park.

10. There will be regular maintenance of the dog trail and during those times, the trail will be closed; we will try to give advance notice when possible.

11. For all emergencies, call 911. For non-emergencies, during normal business hours, call the Arboretum reception desk at: (952) 443-1400 and state your name, how you can be reached and reason for the call.  The receptionist will pass the message on to the most appropriate person.  Any serious injury should be reported promptly to the police.

12. All or any rules are subject to change without notice as deemed necessary for the safety and well-being of both humans and dogs.

Failure to comply with the above regulations will result in revocation of your dog-added membership.


Step One – Ensure that you have current dog license and vaccinations.

It is the sole responsibility of the owner to ensure that license and veterinary records are kept current for all registered dogs. Failure to comply will result in deactivation of your membership (without refund) until current information is received. All members must sign a waiver stating that all required documents are in possession at the time of purchase. The waiver must be submitted via mail, email or fax before member cards and ID tags will be mailed. You may also obtain a copy of the waiver at the Membership Desk in the Oswald Visitor Center. Once signed, the membership associate will give you an ID tag and temporary card.


Step Two – Obtain “Dog-Added” Membership Members may register online, over the phone or by mail.
Membership cards will be printed with the membership level + Dog-Added.
Payment for either on-line or on-site may be made by check, cash, credit card.

Membership (up to two dogs), includes a one-time issued dog tag(s) $50.00
Replacement of lost dog tag $5.00

With required paperwork, Dog-Added Memberships are included for all Donor-Level Members (Friend, Supporting, Sustaining and Associate level members). 
Learn more about Dog-Added benefits and download the required paperwork.

Step Three – Dog Collar Identification. Once membership is obtained, you will be issued a dog tag that will allow you and your dog access to the Dog Commons on the Arboretum grounds.  You may use the on-leash dog trail immediately upon receiving the dog tag.

Step Four – Have a great experience on the Arboretum’s on-leash dog trail!


Download an application form by Clicking Here

Download waiver by Clicking Here



Veterinary Records

All dogs must have current veterinary vaccinations and licenses at time of membership and must remain current through the membership. A waiver must be signed stating that all dog added members have current vaccinations and licenses.

Rabies: Best practices require rabies vaccine on record every three years (after initial shot) or records of titer indicating rabies levels in blood-stream (MN. 1721.0540).

Health: All dogs must be in good health. Owners will declare on dog membership their dog(s) is (are) in good health and have not been ill with a communicable condition which could potentially jeopardize other dogs/persons.

License:  A license is required according to your city's ordinances.

Heat Exhaustion/Stroke

Heat stroke is a common occurrence during the hot months of the year. Dogs are prone to overheating because they do not sweat. Other factors such as obesity, advanced age or infancy can also make a dog more vulnerable to heat.

Symptoms (some or all may be present):

  • Panting
  • Weakness or collapse
  • Gums getting very dark or very pale
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Seizures


  • Cool the dog down immediately by soaking with water (use a piece of clothing at the dog watering station to wet the dog down if nothing else is available). If showing signs of distress, contact your veterinarian and/or transport to emergency hospital immediately.


  • Wet your dog down periodically. Offer water frequently. Dogs at risk should not use the park during the heat of the day.

Bug/Bee Bites/Stings:

  • If a dog suddenly starts clawing at their face or drooling excessively they may have been bitten or stung.
  • If your dog exhibits such signs of distress contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • The Arboretum follows the intergrated Management Techniques as state in this handbook HERE.
  • Please see information HERE from the Center for Disease Control on preventing ticks on your dog, and HERE for preventing ticks on yourself.





The Arboretum takes safety and the enjoyment for our on-leash dog trail members very seriously so if a problem situation arises an incident report form should be completed.

Report Forms can be obtained as follows:

Click Here to download an Incident Report Form

Report forms can be returned as follows:

Mail: 3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska, MN 55318 ATTN: Dr. Jean Larson

Fax: 612-624-8274


Procedure for Review:

1. When a formal complaint is received it will be distributed and reviewed by the Dog Commons Advisory Board at the next scheduled meeting.

2. If the incident resulted in serious harm to a person(s) or dog(s), the offending dog will be temporarily

suspended pending outcome of formal review and final determination.

3.  The Dog Commons Advisory Board will discuss the incident and recommend a course of action, if any, to take. Actions may include but are not limited to: restricted use of the on-leash dog trail, permanent bans on using the on-leash dog trail, dog training, or testing requirements (e.g., Canine Good Citizen Test).

4. Any incidents where a person is bitten will be reported to the Chaska Police and Dog Warden in accordance with the MN. Dog Law. The MN. Dog Laws shall supersede all other rules, regulations and guidelines.

Please note that any incident involving bodily injury to persons or dogs requiring medical attention should be immediately reported to the Chaska Police by calling 911. This form should be completed for all incidents of aggressive dog behavior /or related harmful dog events.


Chaska Police 2 City Hall Plz, Chaska, MN 55318
Emergency: 911
Non-Emergency: (952) 448-4200

Emergency Telephone Numbers:

Veterinary Hospital

Available 24 hours daily, weekends & holidays

Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Service

7717 Flying Cloud Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
Main: 952-942-8272