Unleashed Dog Parks are Fun for both Dog and Owner

A big part of having fun with your dog can be taking him or her to an off-leashed park.  We tend to go to the ones in Lake County (even though I live in Cook County) because they are abundant in variety and in terrain.  You can join dog parks that are out of your county for a fairly modest fee that covers 12 months per year.  And we use it 12 months per year, weather permitting.

It's my little piece of heaven, and my dogs' as well.  We spend at least 2 hours there on our visits, meeting up with other people who are passionate about their dogs and, of course, their dogs as well.  The benefits of these experiences speak for themselves.  Other than getting exercise for myself, dogs play with other dogs if they want; dogs walk with owners if they want; dogs get very dirty if they want; dogs come home exhausted (at least for a short while).  OK, enough of the pros.  There is one big, huge, even mammoth CON.  The series of pictures below will speak better of the con than I ever could.  But if you look at the last photo, there is ONE BIG GRIN ON WIGGLEBUTT DUNCAN!

But all said, it makes for a great bonding experience and is tremendous fun other than the cleanup.  These photos were taken at the Lake Forest Dog Park, located on Waukegan Road, north of Route 22 and south of Old Elm Road on the east side of the street.  Maybe you'll join us there someday.  Enjoy.


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  • sue your dog is adorable! I sooo enjoyed reading this! We don't have nice places in Michigan such as that park to take our dog to. This looks like a blast!

  • In reply to careng:

    Thanks so much! I have fun writing about my crazy TTs and the things we do. I hope you continue to enjoy.

  • I go to the same dog park even though my pup and I live in the city. It is much bigger than most off lease dog areas such as in Lakeshore East. It doesn't matter if it is warm and sunny or snowing my dog has a great time every time!

  • In reply to Ace27:

    Isn't it the best? You should also check out the one near Mundelein. Not as dirty and tons of open area and trails in the woods. We go there too. One pass is good for ALL the Lake County off leash dog areas. What kind of pup do you have?

  • Sue great pictures! That's one happy puppy! As a pet sitter I have pros & cons about the dog parks. The pros are exactly as you stated! Great exercise, and socialization. It gives me a chance to market myself as well.
    Unfortunately, though as a pet sitter there are cons more than just a dirty dog & me not being a groomer. LOL I have liability issues since I am not the dogs owner. As we all know not every dog sees eye to eye. If the dog I have with me gets into a scuffle I'm the one who has to call that pet owner & tell them what happened at the dog park. And possible a trip tot he vet. I know a lot of pet sitters love taking their clients pets to the park but I tend to stay away. Maybe its just me being the "Special Needs" pet sitter who is used to dealing with pets that have behavioral problems, medical needs, and senior pets. Just food for thought for pet owners who allow their sitters to take their dog to the parks.

    Shannon Cole
    Shannon's Pet-Sitting
    "Quality Pet Care in the Comfort of Their Own Home"

  • In reply to ShannonsPetSitting:

    Hi Shannon, thanks for your comments. I know that the dog park I go to most often is very dirty, but the dogs seem to get along well with other dogs (for the most part) there because there are so many places to avoid dogs that might be reactive to yours or those you care for.

    If dirt is an issue (and believe me, it is for my two Tibetans), I also belong (had to pay to belong there, too) to a dog park in Glenview where the dogs don't get dirty. It's located in West Glenview south of ABT and has 2 sections, a larger one for the large dogs and a smaller one for dogs under 25#s. The only issue for me is that if there are two many young large dogs, the excitability factor ratchets up unpredictably and smaller dogs can become 'prey' to the larger dogs. So I have to be really vigilant to both my dogs and others to ward off over-reactivity at either end.

    It's nice to know that people like you care and can manage in the best way possible for each pets' unique needs.

    Thanks for posting your thoughts.


  • We go to Wiggly Feild on Sheffield as many times a week as possible, Chaco would love if we could stay two hours, but 1/2 hour gives him the exercise he needs & I usually enjoy chatting with owners. The city parks might not have the varied terrain, but they are convenient.

  • Hi Amy, I know that it's difficult for urban dwellers to get to the bigger locations, and it's great that you get to Wiggly Field as often as you do. I don't know how old your dog(s) is, but ongoing socialization is so very important for your dog and it gives you a chance to chat with other people who really care about their dogs. In both large and small parks, it is critical to keep an eye on your dog to keep him or her safe and happy. I'm sure you already know and do this; I need to keep an eye on my older (LOL, he's only 3.5 years old) Tibetan Terrier because he has the "small person syndrome," believes he is the 'hall monitor' and will ward off any 'disrespect' in a preemptive manner.

    It doesn't really matter where you go as much as the fact that you DO go. Dogs who have fun with their owners are happy dogs, no matter where the happiness occurs.

    All the best,

  • Speaking of dog parks, or in the city of Chicago, known as dog friendly areas - and specifically Wiggley Filed....The founder needs some help. Hope to see you all tonight;

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