Who is Cleveland’s Cutest Dog?

The crowd was packed in tight yesterday for the crowning of Cleveland’s Cutest Dog at the Warehouse District Festival. Over 40 dogs entered the contest, which judged the cutest dogs based on the creativity of their costumes.
The top three:

The creative dog costumes at the festival included a devil, a wizard, a sheriff, and my favorite, a piñata dog. The top three cutest dogs received gift baskets from Pet-Tique, the sponsor of the contest, and all participating dogs walked away with a consolation prize.

Here are some of the best pictures from the contest:

Who’s your favorite cutest dog?

Dog friendly hiking in the CLE

One of the great things about being a dog owner in Cleveland is the parks. Northeast Ohio parks are not only beautiful, but most are also very dog friendly. Since I’m always looking for something active for my dog to do other than the dog park, I love finding new dog friendly hiking trails.

In my search I came across this book – “Doggin’ Cleveland: The 50 Best Places to Hike with Dog in Northeast Ohio.”  Published in 2008, the book lists the 50 best places to take your dog for a hike and ranks them by hikes available, dog swimming opportunities, and how enjoyable the walk is. Although the book is unfortunately sold out on Amazon, the web site has some great info on dog-friendly parks and hikes throughout the region, including a “Best of the Best” list for the Cleveland area.

According to Doggin’ Cleveland, here some of the best parks/trails in NE Ohio:

Towner’s Woods

Lakeshore Reservation

Sand Run Metro Park

Adam Run Trail – Hampton Hills Metro Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Blue Hen Falls/Buttermilk Falls

Fort Hill Trail – Rocky River Reservation

Hudson Springs Park

Grand River/Paine Creek – Indian Point Park

Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Hinckley Reservation

Hemlock Trail/Castle Valley Trail/Squire’s Lane Trail – North Chagrin Reservation

Holden Arboretum

Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park

Squaw Rock Loop – South Chagrin Reservation

Virginia Kendall Unit- Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Seiberling Nature Realm

I’ve been to a few of these spots and have made it my goal to check out all of the others. I will report back my experiences, so stay tuned!

What places would you add to the list?

Hunter at his favorite park

What to do with your dog in August

Even though it’s been a *couple*of years since August meant back to school for me, the dread of August rolling around and the end of summer still hits me every year. The summer is almost over, people! Lucky for us there are some fun dog events this month to get us outside and enjoying the summer a little longer.


Here’s a rundown of some of the best dog events this month:

Aug. 4 – Cleveland’s Cutest Dog Competition

The month kicks off with Cleveland’s Cutest Dog competition at the Warehouse District Festival on August 4. Dogs will be judged not on their looks, but on their costumes – specifically cuteness, creativity, unique, and use of color.  To enter your dog, fill out the registration form during the Warehouse District Street Festival from 1-3 p.m. All entries must be made before the event, which starts at 4 p.m. The cost to enter your dog is $10.


Aug. 10 – Mutt Strut

Lake Humane Society’s annual Mutt Strut will be held on Sat. Aug. 10 at the Mentor Municipal Center starting at 9 a.m. After raising pledges for the Lake Humane’s homeless animals, supporters take part in a variety of activities – a one-mile walk, canine games and contests, prize raffles, an agility course and a “Project Ruffway” a runway show of adoptable dogs at LHS. You can create a fundraising page to support this event here.All fundraisers who raise $25 or more in pledges may attend the event free of charge and will receive a complimentary Mutt Strut t-shirt.


Aug. 11 – Summer Scoop

Known as the “Old Dog Party of the Year,” the Summer Scoop held at the Oak Grove Pavilion on Valley Parkway in the Brecksville Reservation, will feature prizes, contests, raffles, treats, food, and the “Old Dog Olympics.” Dog contests include best summer attire, best in shades, coolest canine couple, coolest dude, coolest gal, human/canine look-alikes, oldest dog, farthest travel, and goofiest dog. The party goes from 12-3 p.m.For dogs 7 and up.


Aug. 17 and 18 – Canine Fun Days and Greyhound Reunion

Organized by Greyhound Adoption of Ohio, the 20th Annual Canine Fun Days & Greyhound Reunion will be held at the Cleveland Metroparks Polo Field in Moreland Hills. The event will be held Saturday and Sunday, with games, a dog show, an agility course and a special appearance by the Olate Dogs, winner of America’s Got Talent. Dogs of all breeds are welcome.


Aug. 25 – Dog Paddle and Pet-a-Palooza

Take your dog for a swim and enjoy a dog fair, hike and K-9 demonstrations at the Dog Paddle and Pet-a-Palooza at the Ledge Pool in the Hinckley Reservation. The event, held from 1-5 p.m., costs $5 per dog and the proceeds will go to the Medina SPCA. A liability waiver, which can be found here, must be completed for every person entering the event. Make sure to bring the waiver with you the day of the event.





See the complete list of dog events at http://www.dogsinthecle.com/#!what-to-do/cwvn. Anything to add? Email me at dogsinthecle@gmail.com

Dog Friendly Road Trip: Columbus

I recently read an article about a bucket list a woman devised for her and her dog. One of the things on her list was taking trips with her dog. Although I think this is a great idea, the logistics of flying or taking a long drive with a dog seem difficult. This bucket list did get me thinking though what a fun idea it would be to take short weekend trips with my dog.

Just a short drive from Cleveland, Columbus is an easy road trip you can take with your dog. Since I make it back there frequently to see family, I’ve done some research recently on what Columbus has to offer in the way of dog friendly places and activities. Like Cleveland, Columbus has a lot of great parks as well as bars and restaurants with dog friendly patios.

Photo Credit: http://consumer.discoverohio.com/pressroom/freeohioimages.aspx

Here are some of the tops spots to hit up with your pup:

Best Parks:

Highbanks Metro Park, Lewis Center. Although I usually hit up Blacklick Park, since its closest to my family, I’m always disappointed that the park’s pet friendly trail is so short. Dogs are not allowed on most trails through the park (the Cleveland parks system seems much more welcoming of dogs, but let me know if I have the wrong impression Columbusites). I’ve been doing research to find a more pet-friendly park and recently came across Highbanks Metro Park in northern Columbus. This park has a 3.5 mile pet trail, the longest pet trail in the Columbus area. Great for a stop if you want to take your dog on a long walk to wear him out before hitting up a dog-friendly patio for dinner.

Scioto Audobon, Downtown. Located in the heart of downtown, this is a great place to take your dog while making a weekend visit of the city. The park has hiking and biking trails, a climbing wall, fishing and a dog park. The 2-acre dog park features separate areas for small dogs and large dogs, each with its own agility course.

Alum Creek Dog Park – this large park has a lot of space for dogs to run around, including a spacious small dog area as well.

For a complete list of what Columbus parks offer pet trails visit:

Dog Friendly Dining

Once you’ve worn out your dog on the trails or at the dog park, it’s time for dinner! The best area for dog lovers is in the Short North, the area just north of downtown and just south of the Ohio State campus. The Short North is chock full of galleries, bars and really good restaurants. Some good ones to check out on your visit with your dog:

Bodega, corner of High St. and Third Ave. Bodega offers an impressive beer menu along with burgers, sandwiches, salads and appetizers. The usual array of menu items you can find at most gastropubs. The patio isn’t very large, but it does welcome dogs.

Northstar Café, 951 North High Street. The restaurant specializes in healthy, locally-grown cuisine. Dogs are allowed at the outside tables.

La Chatelaine French Bakery 1550 West Lane Avenue, Dublin. In the true spirit of France, this delicious French bakery allows dogs at the outside tables. Although not in the Shorth North, the bakery is located in a really cute area of Dublin that is definitely worth a visit.

One other thing I just found out about that I’d love to take my dog to is Dog’s Night Out at Graeters. Since it falls on the first Thursday of the month, I haven’t been able to make it yet but I love the idea of taking my dog to my favorite ice cream place!


Since I always stay with family, I don’t have any firsthand experience with pet-friendly hotels in Columbus. However, the site BringFido.com has a great list of pet-friendly hotels to help you find a place to stay with your dog: http://www.bringfido.com/lodging/city/columbus_oh_us/

Upcoming Events:
Lazy Danes Luau, Jul 27, Three Dog Bakery, Columbus
Dog Jog, Aug 18 Genoa Park
WAG! Dog Festival, August 24, Hilliard
Woof Stock, Aug. 24, Columbus Commons Downtown
Fido Fest, Oct. 6, Worthington Village Green
Canine Companions DogFest! October 12, Dublin

Don’t forget to send me pics of your doggie road trip!


Road Tripping

My dog is a big fan of road trips, which is lucky for me since we take a lot. Whether it’s just a couple of blocks to the pet store or a longer trip down to Columbus or Akron to see family, my dog is always excited to get in the car and go somewhere new.

This past weekend we took a drive to Columbus. Although it’s only a two hour drive, I take a few precautions ahead of time to make sure that the ride goes smoothly for the both of us.

1. Harness
Within a couple of months of getting Hunter I got a harness for him to wear in the car which hooks into the seat belt. This has been a great help on road trips. It gives him a little space so that he doesn’t feel totally confined, but keeps him out of the front seat and off of my lap, which would be his seat of choice. I have to admit the harness isn’t his favorite thing, since like all dogs he likes to stick his head out the window. So from time to time on shorter drives, I do let my dog have free rein in the back seat so he can stick his head out the window and enjoy a little more freedom.

2. Toys
Before a road trip I always give him a special toy. I like it to be something like a bully stick or a stuffed Kong that will keep him busy for a while. I usually throw in a few of his other toys as well, just so he has a mix of things to play with.

3. Water
Especially on summer trips, it’s important to keep your dog well hydrated during the drive. I’ve usually just put a bowl of water back there, but that can get messy. Lately I’ve been looking into a better way of having water for him in the backseat. I’ve been thinking about getting one of those no-spill bowls, or water dispensers with tray, that would also be good for the dog park.

4. Seat covers
My car is covered in fur, even shortly after vacuuming. I have a seat cover that works pretty well, but I would love to hear from you all what, if anything, works to keep the fur from taking over your car. Anyone have success with any particular seat covers? This is definitely something I’d like to invest in considering how much time my dog spends in the car.

Stay Tuned for Part 2 later this week – Dog Friendly Road Trip: Columbus

Dog Friendly Spotlight: Nano Brew

The water bowls placed around the patio at Nano Brew tell you immediately that this is a place where your dog will be welcomed. Although a lot of places say that they are dog friendly, few are as open about it as this Ohio City brewpub. In addition to the consideration for your dog’s hydration needs, the patio is perfectly set up to be a comfortable place to hang out with your dog and enjoy a few drinks and a bite to eat. With long picnic-style tables along the side of the building and more tables in back, the bar offers a lot of space for you and your dog.

We stuck mainly to the picnic tables on our visit but due to the sudden outpouring of rain had to move over to the covered patio area in back. The staff was very welcoming and excited to see my dog, offering treats which was enough to win him over. There was only one other dog when we got there so my dog got a lot of attention. It seemed that the bar-goers and the staff were both happy to have a dog there- always a key factor in whether a place truly is dog friendly or not. Add in the delicious food and great selection of beer, and this a place that my dog and I will definitely be back to soon.

The details
1859 W. 25th St.
Ohio City

Open at 4:30 weekdays and noon Saturday and Sunday.
Open until 2:30 am 364 days a year and serving food until 2am every day.

Dogs are allowed every day on the patio.


CLE Canines of the Week

Who doesn’t love to share pictures of their dog? I know I do, a little excessively some would say. But I also love looking at pictures of other people’s dogs, hence the  slideshow of local dogs on the main page.

Want to know how your dog can be featured there? It’s simple – send a photo to dogsinthecle@gmail.com along with a bio, including full name, age, breed, gender, city and hobbies. Every week a dog from here will be spotlighted as the CLE Canine of the Week. Just like Buford, our 1st ever CLE Canine of the Week!


Full Name: Colonel Buford Bixenstine
Breed: Tri-Color Basset Hound
Gender: Male

Age: 7.5
Hobbies: Being a rescue dog, hounding anyone with food, demanding to be addressed by his full military title, taking majestic skyline-backdrop photos

Dog Sitting Dilemma – Dealing with a Dog That Doesn’t Like Other Dogs

This past weekend I had the pleasure of dog sitting my sister’s dog Riley. Riley is a 6-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and one of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet. She loves to lie around and generally do nothing, but she also likes a lot of petting and attention.

This is Riley. She wants to sit with you.
One of Riley’s quirks is that she doesn’t think she is a dog. She’s not really interested in toys or playing, or anything a lot of dogs like to do. I don’t think she was introduced to dogs when she was younger, so she has never really been socialized in the dog world. She is also older, so she is used to a more sedentary lifestyle. My dog Hunter, as you may have gathered from past posts, is the exact opposite. He loves dogs, activity and people. The only thing the dogs have in common is that they like attention, and they like to follow me around everywhere. So Hunter does his best to get Riley to play, while Riley does her best to ignore him.
Riley trying to ignore Hunter


I decided to spend the first couple of days staying at my sister’s house with the two dogs. At least that way Riley wouldn’t have the double stress of being in an unfamiliar setting and having to deal with being around a dog she doesn’t like. Luckily Riley has a very laid back temperament, so things have gone fairly well between the two dogs. They’ve pretty much been ignoring each other with just a few minor scuffles when Hunter remembers Riley is there and tries to get her to play.

Not all dogs are so easy going though. Dealing with socializing a dog can be a challenging endeavor. The Animal Humane Society provides tips on their site for introducing a new dog to a resident dog*. Good advice to follow the next time you have a new dog in your family, or will have a dog staying with you:

1. Have the dogs meet on-leash on neutral territory first:  this can be a neighbor’s yard, a training center, tennis court, etc.  Have both dogs on-leash.  Allow them to look at and sniff one another through a barrier, such as a fence, for up to 30 minutes.  By then, the novelty of seeing a new dog has worn off, paving the way for a more positive introduction.  Another option is to take the dogs for a walk together, keeping ten feet between them so that they cannot greet one another or stare.  The idea is simply to acclimate them to each other’s presence without causing tension.

2. Next, have the dogs meet off-leash on neutral territory.  Avoid problem areas like gates, doorways or closely confined space:  the more room they have to move, the less tension there will be.  Wait 2 minutes while they sniff each other, then call them away and move around.  If they start to play and it seems to be going well, let them play for a few minutes and then end the session.  We want each initial interaction to end on a good note!

3. Finally, have the dogs meet at home:  first in the yard, then inside the house.  Before the in-house introduction, take the resident dog out to the yard, then bring new dog inside (bringing the new dog inside to meet resident dog can create a negative reaction).  Keep each interaction short and pleasant: if signs of tension arise, separate the dogs immediately and try again later.  Remember that the introduction will set the tone for their relationship, so it’s important to set everyone up for success!

4. Keep the dogs separate while you are away, either in separate rooms or crates.  This is both to prevent injurious fights and the development of inappropriate behavior in your new dog (such as chewing and housesoiling).

5. While the dogs can settle minor disputes with each other (such as growling the other off of a toy or their own food bowl), they aren’t allowed to limit each other’s access to you, your family and common areas of the home.  In many multi-dog households, contrary to popular belief, there is neither a “dominant” nor a “submissive” dog, but individuals whose roles change depending on the context involved (ex: a dog that claims access to a favorite toy may let another dog claim the couch).  Instead of “supporting the dominance” of any one dog, establish yourself as a benevolent leader, rewarding polite behavior and managing the environment to prevent conflicts from developing.

Hey! You’re a dog – let’s play!

What about you? Do you have a dog that doesn’t like other dogs and have you tried to socialize him or her? Hit me up on twitter (twitter.com/dogsinthecle) or email dogsinthecle@gmail.com with what has worked (or not worked) for you!

*Source: http://www.animalhumanesociety.org/training/library/introducing-new-dog-resident-dog

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 dogsinthecle@gmail.com if you know of any others!

The 4th of July is Probably Not Your Dog’s Favorite Holiday

Sorry to break it to you, but it’s true. A holiday focused on loud noises, crowds and sitting outside in the heat is probably not your dog’s favorite day. Chances are your dog does something like this once the fireworks start:

(check out these photos from The Huffington Post for more dogs not happy about fireworks: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/02/dogs-not-excited-for-fire_n_3534240.html)

The 4th of July can be a very scary time for a dog. To help make the day a little less stressful for your dog, here are some of Cesar Milan’s* (I’ve been watching a lot of The Dog Whisperer lately, sorry) top tips for dealing with dogs and fireworks:

1) Take your dog on a long walk before the fireworks start. Plan at least a 2 mile walk or whatever would be a significant jump up from what you normally do. If you can wear him out before the fireworks start, chances are high that he will be too tired to focus on the fireworks.

2) Distract your dog during the fireworks. Work on obedience training or give him a toy to keep him busy. Basically get him focused on something other than the fireworks.

3) Use your dog’s nose. Scents like lavender and pine help a dog to feel relaxed.

4) Maintain a calm and assertive energy. Although no one does this as well as Cesar, this is always good advice. Don’t get stressed out or angry with the dog for being upset. The negative emotions will just encourage the dog’s anxiety.

5) Use canine-safe earplugs. Dogs have good reason to not love fireworks, they are extremely loud and disturbing to their very sensitive ears. If you can mitigate the noise, you should be able to minimize your dog’s anxiety.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe 4th of July! If you take any fun 4th of July-themed dog pictures, make sure to send them to dogsinthecle@gmail.com.

*See all of Cesar’s tips here: http://www.cesarsway.com/tips/seasonal/fireworks