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Harpoon Dogtoberfest

Sun October 6, 2024 Boston, MA 02210 US Directions

Rules Attending with a Dog

We want to make sure you have the best experience you can while at Harpoon Dogtoberfest! To do that, we need to have some rules around attending with your dog, as well as participating in the Fast & Furriest fun run. 



If you are attending Harpoon Dogtoberfest with a dog, you agree to abide by these terms.

Only bring dogs that are well-behaved around other dogs and people. Please note that the event will be full of pint-sized and full-sized humans and canines, loud noises, and many distractions. Please ensure that your dog has the ability to remain well-behaved in a festival environment.
  • Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
  • Leashes should be no longer than 6 feet; please keep it short at the start to avoid entanglement.
  • No retractable leashes, which may be hazardous in a crowd.
  • No dogs in heat.
  • Dogs must be up to date on vaccinations.
  • All participants must clean up after your dog. Owners are expected to bring their own dog waste bags to clean up waste.
  • This event may be cancelled should the weather become dangerous to animals or humans. In the case of cancellation, no refunds will be granted. But please rest assured that the price of your entry is going to two great causes- The Kenary Brain Tumor Research Fund at Dana Farber Cancer Center and the MSPCA.


Rules for participating in the Fun Run/Walk with a dog – and tips for getting him or her ready!

  • Limit one dog per person.
  • Dogs must be at least 6 months old and up to date on vaccinations. 
  • We recommend that dogs run with a harness rather than a neck leash to prevent strain or injury to your dog's trachea.
  • MSPCA staff or race volunteers reserve the right to stop any runner and his/her dog if a dog appears to be in danger or, in the opinion of staff or volunteers, is being pushed beyond his or her safe limits.
  • Be prepared with the right equipment: We recommend fitting your dog for a front clip harness or a head halter. These tools allow you to have the most control of the front of your dog’s body, which can make it much easier to navigate through large crowds and tight spaces. It is important that the equipment fits properly on your dog’s body, and that you introduce your dog to wearing it slowly and positively. Your dog should practice wearing the equipment in the weeks leading up to the run so that he is completely comfortable with it when he’s on the starting line. You can purchase harnesses and head halters at MSPCA adoption centers – and their staff is more than happy to help make sure you’ve got the right size and know how to use them!
  • Basic training: We recommend teaching any dog to walk nicely on a loose leash, but it’s even more important for a dog that you plan to bring to a run. There will be lots of distractions on the day of the event, and your dog should be prepared to handle them with grace. If you have a dog that becomes nervous or stressed in a hectic environment, he would probably be more comfortable taking a nap on your couch while you’re out running and/or enjoying some cold Harpoon beer. Even for the most friendly or social dog, it is important that he responds to some basic cues so that you’re able to help him be a politely participate in the festivities.
  • Practice getting your dog’s attention in a distracting environment: On event day, there will be lots of things your dog might be more interested in paying attention to than boring mom or dad. It is important that you’re able to quickly and positively get your dog’s attention in such a crazy environment. Start practicing in your home, and once your dog will consistently look at you when asked (for a treat, of course!), try making it a little bit harder. The next step would be asking for his attention outside when there are no other dogs or people around. Once he masters that step, try on a walk when there is another dog up ahead. Slowly add in more distractions until your dog looks at you at the park, on a dog-friendly patio, during a playdate with his friend, etc. This is great practice for helping your dog through a potentially sticky situation, and it’s an excuse to take your dog with you to lots of fun places! Once you have a dog that give you his attention even though there’s something really fun over there, you know you have a great relationship with your pup!
  • Build your dog’s endurance: It is important that you practice running with your dog before attempting a fun walk/run. Just like people, dogs need to build up the right muscles to be able to comfortable complete the run. We recommend starting small and slowly building up to the full distance. Make sure you always have water available for your dog, and that you’re paying attention to signs that your dog is telling you they are too tired.

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