Nearly one out of every three families in Wilton has a dog. With much love in town for man (and woman and child’s) best friend, there’s a lot to know about owning a dog here.

Thinking about adding a new four-legged member of the family? First consider possibly adopting. There are several trusted sources nearby for adopting a dog.

ROAR (Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue)
45 South Street
Ridgefield
203.438.0158
www.roar-ridgefield.org

NY Pet Rescue
P.O. Box 393
Larchmont, NY
914.834.6955
www.ny-petrescue.org

Little Pink Shelter
Westport-based
adopt@pinkshelter.com
www.pinkshelter.com

What to Look for When Picking a New Dog

If you are considering getting a dog for your family, here are some helpful tips, suggested by Dr. Ralph Hunt of Wilton Hospital for Animals:

Personality:  What is the puppy like? Especially if one has young children, an aggressive puppy will likely not be appropriate. Try to find a personality appropriate for your lifestyle; perhaps if your family is active, you may wish to find a more playful dog, or if your family is less so, a calmer puppy.

Physical Characteristics:  How big, or small, will the puppy be when it gets older? Do you have the space to accommodate a large dog? If not, perhaps you should opt for a smaller dog.

Hair Coat and Length:  Hair coat and length varies widely from breed to breed, and can determine how often the dog needs to be groomed at home or have its coat trimmed. Some dogs also shed more than others, and thus require more work. If you have family members who are allergic to dogs, a dog that sheds less may be a good option.

Anticipated Lifestyle:  How much exercise a dog requires also varies from breed to breed. If you live in an apartment, for example, it would not be best to get a dog that requires a lot of space to run.

Recommended/Required Vaccinations for Dogs and Puppies

When getting a new dog there are numerous vaccinations also recommended. Dr. Hunt also gave us some information on those:

  1. Canine Distemper: this is a required vaccine because the distemper virus, once contracted, is highly contagious and often fatal.
  2. Rabies: required because the disease is nearly always fatal
  3. Canine Parvovirus: required as it is highly contagious and can be fatal
  4. Lyme Disease: this is a recommended vaccine in Wilton due to the high risk of exposure to Lyme disease-carrying ticks.
  5. Canine Influenza: this is recommended, especially for dogs in day care or boarding situations.
  6. Bordetella Bronchiseptica: This vaccine is only required by day care and boarding locations.

Wilton Veterinarians

Cannondale Animal Clinic
481 Danbury Rd.
Wilton
203.834.8855

Craw and Di Marco, PC
114 Westport Rd.
Wilton
203.762.8361

Georgetown Veterinary Hospital
53 Redding Rd.
Georgetown
203.544.9098

South Wilton Veterinary Group
51 Danbury Rd.
Wilton
203.762.2002

Wilton Hospital for Animals
215 Danbury Rd.
Wilton
203. 762.8321

Animal Wellness Veterinary Center
Dr. Jeanette Alvarez (Wilton resident)
570 Main Ave.
Norwalk
203.295.8080

Licensing Your Dog

All towns in the Connecticut require dog owners to register and license their dog. If your dog is “caught” unsupervised and off your property by Animal Control, you may be subject to a $75 fine.

What is the history of dog licensing? According to Wilton’s Animal Control officer Robert Napoleon, it comes from colonial times when all farmers had to pay a tax on livestock. These days, it serves to help dog owners locate lost pets.

There are approximately 1,300 licensed dogs in Wilton. To register your dog, bring a rabies certificate and neutering/spaying certificate if any, to the Wilton Town Clerk’s Office.

Wilton Dog Groomers

Passage East Boarding Kennels
499 Danbury Rd.
Wilton
203.529.6777

Meadowood Grooming
2 Maple St.
Wilton
203.762.0714

Paw-radise Grooming Salon and Spa
26 Cannon Road
Wilton
203.557.0558

Local Dog Parks and Dog Friendly Areas

Wilton has no dog parks, but dogs are allowed in most town parks on leash. The one location where dogs are prohibited by ordinance is the track and football field at Wilton High School.

Here’s a list of dog parks in nearby towns:

Cranbury Park, 300 Grumman Ave., Norwalk: There is an area behind the estate where dogs can run off leash. Most other areas of the park are on leash only or dogs are not permitted, and there is an attendant that checks that people and pets are compliant.

Spencer’s Run Dog Park at Waveny Park, 677 South Ave., New Canaan:  This park requires a permit and a fee. See www.spencersrunwaveny.info

Bark Park, Prospect Ridge Rd. and Governor St., Ridgefield:  This dog park has a separate small dog area and is supported by Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue (ROAR)

Rowayton Dog Park, Highland Ave. and McKinley St., Rowayton: This park is fenced in and great for off-leash play.

Taylor Farm Park, 30 Canfield Avenue, Norwalk:  This park has a large amount open space for off-leash play and a pond for dogs to take a dip.

Winslow Dog Park, 319 Post Road East, Westport: this park has a large off leash area for dogs to run.

Dog Training

If you are looking to train your new puppy, or practice with an older dog, Wilton resident Mary-Jo Duffy of Paws Up has some advice.

  1. Start day one with puppy training. At 8 weeks of age, puppies are fully capable of learning different behaviors, such as come, sit and down. They don’t have a very long attention span, however, so you need to work with them just a few minutes at a time, several times a day.
  2. Puppies crave boundaries and thrive when they know what to expect. Schedules are very important, so going outside for bathroom breaks on a schedule, along with mealtimes being at the same time every day helps to make a puppy feel at ease.
  3. Consistent positive reinforcement, with food treats, helps to create effective communication between the dog and the trainer. Catch them doing something right and reward them for it.

Duffy recommends the following books and websites on dog training:

  • Before and After Getting Your Puppy — The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy and Well Behaved Dog, Dr. Ian Dunbar
  • Power of Positive Training, Pat Miller
  • Puppy Primer, Patricia McConnell
  • www.dogwise.com  for puppy/dog behavior and general care books
  • www.dogbehavioranswers.com  Dr. Michele Wan
  • www.intheleaddogtraining.com, Heather Trocola

Dog Trainers

Paws Up Positive Dog Training
Wilton
One-on-one training with Mary-Jo Duffy
203.984.5593
www.pawsuppdt.com.

Canine Manners
Wilton
Part of the Canine Companies
866.208.7441
www.caninecompany.com