Cleveland Dog Park Tour: Lakewood Dog Park

Next up in our Dog Park Tour series – the Lakewood Dog Park! This post was submitted by Karen Karp, President of Friends of Lakewood Dog Park, the group that keeps the park running smoothly (and clean!).

Where: The park is located on Valley Parkway, just south of the Emerald Necklace Marina in the Rocky River Reservation of the Cleveland MetroParks.

The details: The fenced-in park is approximately two thirds of an acre including a separate small dog area. The park is not self-cleaning. The volunteers perform this task, as well as providing poop bags, scoop-up tools, bowls, toys, and all other amenities. This past spring, FLDP purchased 5 additional benches, bringing the total to fifteen. The drinking fountain in the park has a spigot at human height and another closer to the ground for filling water bowls. The City of Lakewood turns off the fountain once the weather starts to get cold and turns it back on again in the spring. There are numerous bowls throughout the park.



There are always tennis balls for playing fetch. FLDP puts out Frisbees and tug toys which are routinely destroyed due to vigorous play. FLDP provides bio-degradable poop bags and trash can liners and scoopers which we encourage people to use in an effort to keep the park clean.

The park has two shelters where humans can huddle in case of rain. No agility equipment, but we do have 15 benches which the dogs jump on and dive under.

In 2014 the dog park received the Best Dog Park/Play Area award from Yelp. This year the park was chosen Best Dog Park by Scene Magazine.

The Busy Times: The park is open every day from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM. The park is almost always in use regardless of the season or time of day. During the week there is less activity in the morning and early afternoon. More people and dogs begin to arrive around 5:00 PM and the park stays busy until closing time at 9:00 PM.



On weekends the park is busy from open to close. If bringing a pooch for a first time visit to a dog park, I’d suggest avoiding Saturday and Sunday until the dog has acclimated and feels comfortable. As I suspect is the case at every dog park, our park goers are congenial and try to be helpful when they spot a newbie.

The Crowd: Usually, there is a mix of big and small dogs. No one size predominates. There is a small dog area, but it is not used frequently. When playing, the small dogs tend to gravitate to other small dogs and the same is true for the larger dogs.


About Friends of the Lakewood Dog Park

Friends of the Lakewood Dog Park (FLDP) is a group of volunteers that keep the park running from day to day. The City of Lakewood does not clean the park!

We hold several fundraising events every year. The annual dog swim is the most highly anticipated event for most park goers. It is always the day after Labor Day at Foster Pool, in Lakewood Park. This year more than 250 dogs and their humans attended. Every spring we host pictures with the Easter Bunny and pictures with Santa Paws during the holidays. Santa Paws is expected to make an appearance on December 6, 2015 at Pet’s General Store, 16821 Madison Avenue, in Lakewood.


Other upcoming events:

Bob Evans fundraiser:
World Animal Day:

Planning a visit to the park? Check out The Dog Friendly Neighborhood Guide for Lakewood:



Cleveland Dog Park Tour: South Euclid Dog Park

The latest installment in the Cleveland Dog Park Tour series takes us inside the South Euclid Dog Park. This post was contributed by Ana Maria Martinez and her dog, Bugsly, frequent visitors to the east side dog park.

Read on more details on what to expect at the park. Bugsly is so excited to share his favorite dog park with you!


South Euclid Dog Park

Where: This park is located on the north corner of Quarry Park on the intersection of Belvoir and Monticello. This also happens to be where Cleveland Heights and South Euclid meet, which means easy access for residents of both cities.


The details: It is fenced with 3 ft fencing, and based on my estimates from counting the fencing sections it is about 7,776 square-feet, which to me is a very comfortable size for a large number of dogs. There’s a double gate for entering, and clear posting of the rules. It has a water spigot and various water bowls that you can fill and move around the park. There is a designated bag dispenser as well as jugs hung all around the park with grocery bags for easy clean up. It has a little obstacle course and various structures for climbing and playing around, including lots of water hydrants which I’m guessing are more for show than actual fires. The ground is primarily gravel, which makes for easy cleaning and liquid drainage, though grass seems to have taken over around the perimeters. Lastly, there’s usually lots of tennis balls and occasionally other toys laying around, and they seem to be replaced occasionally so that’s nice as well.

The Busy Times: If the weather is good you’re bound to find a decent amount of dogs around any time between 4 and 8 pm, any day of the week. It’s a bit more unpredictable on weekends or earlier in the day, but even then we’ve usually found people coming in and out. Can’t say what it’s like in the colder months, but it seems like there’s a dedicated bunch that come rain or shine during rush hour times.


The Crowd: It is a park for dogs of all sizes, though I do generally see more medium and large dogs. However, my 20 lb Pug mix gets along fine, and you do see the occasional Yorkie or Chihuahua running around. Even though I’ve only been coming to the park for a few months, you can tell there’s a feeling of community with the people that remember your dogs names, and ask how they’ve been doing. People offer tips on places to go and products to try, and are keen to see how dogs’ behaviors tend to improve the more they come to the park.


On a recent weekend trip we made, there was a dog who used to be very anxious and wouldn’t come near anyone when he started going three months ago, but who fetched a ball for the first time that day and everyone cheered. I’ve even seen my dog become more assertive and active since he’s been going so it’s been a great experience and I would recommend it.

Thanks Ana Maria! If you’re interested in reviewing your local park, drop me a line at

A Dog Day Out in Downtown Cleveland

UPDATE: this has been rescheduled to July 19 (original date was cancelled due to the rain). See revised date and time below:

Have you checked out the Downtown Dog Park yet? This Sunday is your chance to stop by to see one of Cleveland’s newest dog parks, and have a fun day out with your dog!

Starting at 11am, you can bring your dog to the park for fun activities, including a 50/50 raffle,  giveaways and dog treats from Frazier’s Cakes. Chomps from the Cleveland Browns will also be making an appearance!


Eventgoers can also get a free professional photo taken with their dog courtesy of Regina Strauss Photography. The event is a great chance to check out the dog park and meet other local dog owners!

After you’ve checked out the dog park, you can hit up Merwin’s Wharf, the Cleveland Metroparks’ new restaurant that has a large dog friendly patio.

The dog park, about 3,500 square-feet in size, opened last October and is located at Settlers Park, an open area near the RTA station on the eastern bank of the Cuyahoga River. Check out our recent “Dog Park Tour” for more details about the park here:

Check out the Downtown Dog Park on Facebook and Twitter!


Cleveland Dog Park Tour: The Downtown Dog Park

This is the first post in the new Cleveland Dog Park Tour series! The posts will give the low down on local dogs parks, providing details on special features, the typical crowd and whatever else is interesting about the park and the surrounding area. And, best of all – the posts are submitted by you! Dogs in the CLE readers will be contributing each Dog Park Tour post.

First up – the newly opened Downtown Dog Park.  The dog park, about 3,500 square-feet in size, opened last October and is located at Settlers Park, an open area near the RTA station on the eastern bank of the Cuyahoga River. This post is submitted by Clair Labutta, and features photos of her dog Tucker.

Downtown Dog Park

The details: There are double gates and poop bag stations but no water dishes. Rules are posted in a pretty obvious place at the entrance. (The park also features a ramp play structure for extra dog fun!)


Busy times: Outside of the after work hour it’s pretty quiet – I think groups are sporadically there on the weekends too especially if the weather is good.

The crowd: Probably best for smaller dogs or calmer large dogs as it’s a small park so if you have more than one or two energetic large pups they might run out of space to play!


What’s nearby: There is also a path along the river to walk before/after going. Merwin’s Wharf is nearby and their patio is dog friendly.

Thanks Clair! If you’re interested in reviewing your local park, drop me a line at

New Cleveland-Area Dog Parks

Did you know Cleveland has two new dog parks – one in Kirtland and one in Medina? These new parks join a growing dog park scene in the Cleveland area. In addition to the park that opened last fall in Downtown, Parma just got approval to build a park as well.

Read on for more info on each park, as well as details on how you can help me expand my dog park coverage!

Canine Meadow Dog Park
9010 Euclid Chardon Rd.

Canine Meadow Dog Park is located in the Lake Metroparks. The park has a 2.5 acre large dog area and a 1 acre small dog area. The large dog space also includes a dog swimming area.

The park includes benches, water fountains and a restroom.

Directions: Take I-90 to the Rt. 306 exit. Head south on Route 306 five miles to Chardon Road (Route 6), turn left on Route 6, and head east 1.3 miles. Entrance to Canine Meadow is on the right.

Image source:

Carolyn Ludwig Mugrage Dog Park
4985 Windfall Rd.

Not exactly new, this dog park opened late last year in Medina County. The dog park is located in the Carolyn Ludwig Mugrage Park and features a 1 acre small dog area and 6 acre large dog area. Like the Lake Metropark dog park, the large dog area has a pond for dogs to swim in.

Right now you have to bring you own water, but there are plans to build water fountains as well as provide an area to wash off your pets (Love that idea – I don’t understand why all dog parks don’t have that!)

Photo courtesy of Medina County Parks.
Photo courtesy of Medina County Parks.

Directions: Park entrance is located about 1/4 mile north of State Rt. 18

Image source:

Parma Dog Park

A group advocating for a dog park in Parma just got approval to build a park. Check out their Facebook page to keep up to date on the progress.

They will be holding a fundraiser on June 20 at Flyer’s Bar and Grill. Tickets cost $25, and includes pizza, wings, salad, beer, wine and liquor. 

Now Accepting Dog Park Reviews

The dog park scene is growing in Cleveland and I can’t get to all of them, although I will try! I would like to add some dog park reviews to the Dog Park page and will be accepting guest submissions for all area parks. I already have the downtown park covered (stay tuned for that  next week), but if you want to cover your favorite local dog park – drop me a line at

Guest submissions should include photos as well as some details on park size, busy times, amenities (water fountains, etc.), if there is a small and large dog area and any other details you think people should know before visiting. The more details and photos the better!

There’s a new dog park downtown!

The Downtown Dog Park officially opened yesterday thanks to the generous donations of Cleveland residents. The 4,500 acre dog park is located at Settlers Park, an open area near the RTA station on the eastern bank of the Cuyahoga River.

The Downtown Cleveland Alliance started a campaign over the summer to raise funds for the dog park with a goal of raising $10,000, which the Alliance would match dollar-for-dollar. They met their goal last month, with the majority of donations coming from downtown residents. Surprisingly, donations also came from as far as New York City, Orlando and Raleigh, North Carolina. Probably because people are starting to catch on to what a great city Cleveland is for dog lovers!

According to the DCA, this is the three year temporary home for the park. There are plans in the work to develop a mixed-used park called Canal Basin Park, which, if the dog park is successful, would house the park permanently. Read more about that project here:

Hunter and I weren’t able to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony, but I received some photos courtesy of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance. Looks like a fun dog park, Hunter and I will definitely be checking it out soon!

downtowndogpark2dog park dog park1Check out our Dog Parks page for a listing of dog parks in Cleveland.

All photos courtesy of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

Help Needed for a Downtown Dog Park!

Although Cleveland is a very dog friendly city, we somehow don’t yet have a dog park downtown. With all of the great things happening downtown – new apartments, restaurants, the towpath trail connection – I think it’s about time downtown dogs, and people who can bring their dog to work downtown (jealous), get their own park.

dog park
Photo rendering courtesy of Downtown Cleveland Alliance

The plan is to build a 4,500 acre park on W. Superior, across the river from Jacobs Pavilion at Settler’s Landing Park. The Downtown Cleveland Alliance is partnering with the Warehouse District Development Corporation, Flats Forward and the GCRTA to bring the dog park downtown. They are currently seeking donations, which they will match dollar for dollar, to make this happen. They need to raise $10,000 by Sept. 5, so if you want to help make this happen you have a week left to donate.Downtown Cleveland Dog Park

You can donate here: and different donation amounts come with rewards:

$10 – sticker

$25 – sticker and a retractable leash

$50 – sticker and dog park t-shirt

$100 – sticker, leash and t-shirt

All contributions will be recognized by name at once the fundraising campaign is closed.

If nothing else, do it for Swagger! He needs to place to play on off days.

swagger cleveland browns mascot
Photo courtesy of



Dog day at the beach

I recently took my dog to check out two local doggie beaches. The two dog friendly beaches that I know of, Columbia Rd. Beach in Bay Village and Bow Wow Doggie Beach in Stow, offer very different experiences for dogs, but my dog had a blast at both.

Columbia Rd. Beach
I didn’t know about this beach until a Dogs in the CLE reader informed me of its existence (I LOVE reader tips, hint hint). It seemed to be one of those hidden spots that no one really talks about much. Located where Columbia Rd. dead ends into Lake Rd., this dog-friendly area is a great place to take your dog on a casual stroll on the beach or play a little catch. I took my dog on a Monday in the early afternoon and it wasn’t too crowded. Considering that it’s not a very large stretch of the beach, I imagine it could get crowded during peak times though.

The sign out front requests that dogs stay on leash, but most of the dogs that I saw there were off leash. It is kinda hard to play catch with a dog on a leash, so it’s understandable most weren’t. However, as always, use caution if you want to take your dog off leash. Especially if it’s his or her first time at a beach since many dogs tend to run when scared. The beach is not fenced in and if you have a runner she could pretty easily take off. All in all, I would say Columbia Rd. is a great place to introduce your dog to the beach, since you can leisurely take a stroll and let him test out the waters in a fairly contained area.

Bow Wow Beach

Once you’ve introduced your dog to the beach at Columbia Rd., the next step is to take him to Bow Wow Beach. This is the ultimate in doggie beaches. Located in Silver Springs Park off of Stow Rd., the 7.5 acre beach offers several different fenced in areas for small or large dogs, a dog agility course, a dock jumping area and doggie wash area. I have to admit I was a little overwhelmed when I took my dog. The park is huge and there are dogs running free everywhere. I was glad to see that there was a fenced in small dog area that was actually fairly big and contained actual small dogs. This area is fenced in away from the lake, but it’s a good spot to go if your small dog needs a break or doesn’t love the water. I also learned later that main area surrounding the lake is the large dog area, and that there is a small dog area with lake access as well right by the other small dog area.

Besides the lake, there is a dog agility course (that no one used when I was there) and lots of open space for your dog to roam around. The beach is all fenced in, but there is A LOT of space, so you might want to make sure you’ve practiced your “come” command before letting your dog off leash here.

Swimming tips

I’ve been told that all dogs instinctively know how to “doggie paddle” but I took it slow and let my dog test out the waters. He wasn’t too into it at first, but was definitely curious. He was much more into it the next time, splashing around and chasing dogs in the water. I kept him on leash for our visits, but next time I will try off leash with these tips* from the AKC about how to make sure your dog can swim. Or, maybe I’ll get him a stylish life vest. Just don’t judge me if you see us out at the beach.

  • Never throw your dog into the water.
  • Start in shallow water, and call your dog’s name. You can also try to coax him in with a treat or toy – but always keep your dog within reach.
  • Another way to introduce your dog to the water is with a dog that already swims and is friendly with your dog. Let your dog follow his friend.
  • If your dog begins to doggy-paddle with his front legs only, lift his hind legs and help him float. He should quickly catch on and will then keep his back end up.
  • Swimming is a great form of exercise, but don’t let your dog overdo it. He will be using new muscles and may tire quickly.
  • Be careful of strong tides that are hazardous for even the best swimmers.
  • Never leave your dog unattended! You should always be in a position to help him get out of the water


Are there any other beach areas you take your dog? I’ve also heard of dogs at Edgewater, and seen a few at Rocky River Park, but I don’t think those are officially dog friendly. Email me at if you know of any others!

How I learned to stop worrying and enjoy the dog park

One of my dog’s favorite activities is going to the dog park. The dog park encompasses everything he loves – attention from humans, attention from dogs and the space to run free. Oh, and dirt to roll around in. I can’t forget the dirt, that might be his favorite.

It wasn’t always a walk in the park (pardon the pun) though, at least for me. Being the owner of a small dog can make the dog park a nerve wracking place. Before getting my dog I had never been to a dog park. I had no idea what to expect; no idea what normal dog play was. The first time a dog began playing with my dog, I was terrified he’d get hurt. And I didn’t know how to tell if my dog liked it or not. I didn’t want my fearfulness to rub off on my dog, making him cowardly. So I did my best to keep a close eye, while also giving him some space.


Over time through trial and error I learned a few things that have helped make the experience less stressful for me, and hopefully also my dog.


1) Try to go to the park at the same time. I don’t know what it is – the fluffiness, the darting around running in circles – but my dog attracts a lot of attention when he comes into a new group of dogs. At the dog park that I go to, the Lakewood Dog Park, there are a lot of regulars at the time I arrive. My dog is pretty well known by this particular group, so the dogs are used to him and he doesn’t have to “introduce” himself each time.


2) Keep your dog away from the gate. The most stressful time for a dog is entering the park. Some dogs want to establish their dominance right away, so if your dog is all up in another dog’s grill, the potential for a fight to start is high.


3) Dogs don’t play like humans. Dogs like to bite at each other, roll around and sometimes even growl. I found this article to be helpful to determine what is normal play:


4) Keep an eye on your dog! This one is more for others, than something I’ve learned to do. I love watching my dog at the park (and I’m a worrier by nature, so I have to be able to see what he’d doing) so I pretty much never take my eyes off of him. But a lot of times I see owners buried in their phones, oblivious to what their dog is doing. Or, even worse, someone who has just dropped their dog off and left. Problems can erupt quickly, it’s important for your dog’s safety and the safety of other dogs that you are aware of what he or she up to.


5) And lastly, have fun! The dog park is also a great place for you to bond with your dog through play.