Best Dog Parks


By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Why not let you dog do a little networking at an area dog park? According to our latest veterinarian telemedicine software, the region offers several places for pooches to play and socialize. Here are some nearby places:

• Wegmans Good Dog Park (2500 Cold Springs Road, Liverpool).

It boasts two fenced areas designated for large and small dogs. They enclose what amounts to a doggy playground with ramps, tunnels, bridges and other obstacles to explore. The park provides a water fountain and plenty of benches. Dogged walkers can also take their pooches on-leash along the five miles of walking paths along Onondaga Lake.

• Jamesville Beach Off-leash Dog Park (4110 Westshore Manor Road, Syracuse).

It isn’t fenced, so bring only animals that obey on command. Labrador retrievers and other water-loving dogs will enjoy the chance to swim. It doesn’t provide any obstacles or equipment, so bring along a flying disc or other favorite toy.

• Lakeside Dog Park at Emerson Park (6914 E. Lake Road, Auburn).

It provides an acre of fenced-in play for pups for off-leash time. The park divides the area into two zones, one for large dogs and one for small pooches.

• The Dog Park at Happy Tails Daycare and Pet Resort (11929 E. Corning Road, E. Corning).

It gives dogs the VIP treatment as a members-only park. While it lacks the doggy playground equipment of Wegmans Good Dog Park, Happy Tails provides an acre and a half of fenced open space. Access for a day is $5; monthly is $14.99 and annually is $150. Membership includes three dogs of the same household. Animals must be screened for membership, including vaccination and an assessment of socialization.

• Greece Canal Dog Park (241 Elmgrove Road, Rochester, 585-753-7275).

It requires registration before using the park. Unlimited access to this park, as well as Ellison Park (395 Rich’s Dugway, Rochester), is $24 annually, so it’s not a great deal if you’re just passing through and want your dog to stretch his legs.

If You Go

To make your outing at the dog park fun and safe, keep in mind the following tips:

• Make sure you bring your dog on a leash with a collar or harness. Although dog parks feature off-leash play areas, you’ll still need to walk your excited dog from the car to the fenced-in area.

• Do not open both gates at the same time.

• Only bring registered, well-behaved, well-socialized dogs that are up-to-date on their vaccination and flea and tick prevention.

• Make sure your dog wears his registration and vaccination tags on his collar.

• Keep your dog in the areas designated for its size if the dog park has “large dog” and “small dog” areas for the animals’ safety.

• Don’t offer food or treats to your dog in the presence of other dogs.

• Leave dog toys at home, since they can cause conflict with other dogs.

• Bring along a water bowl, especially on hot days.

• Supervise your dog.

• Do not forget to bring bags to pick up your dog’s waste and do so promptly (which is part of supervising your dog).

• Watch for dog aggression signs, such as raised hackles, closed-mouth biting (as opposed to open mouthed “play biting”), deep growling and walking with stiff legs and raised tails. Happy, relaxed dogs wag, sniff each other and bark with a higher pitch.

• Intact males are more likely to cause fights, so watch out for them.