Seattle’s Best Offleash Areas

Seattle may be a fairly dog friendly city, but sometimes a dog just needs room to run! This can be difficult in a major metropolis, and not all of us (or our pets) have the good fortune of owning a backyard. Obedience trainers say that the first step towards a well behaved dog is plenty of exercise to release some of that excess energy. The city of Seattle stepped up to the plate, and allowed for public dog runs to be set up for public use. They are all over; there’s likely to be one in your neighborhood. The question is: do you know about it? Here are a few of the more popular offleash areas, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you’ll see one that isn’t too far from your home:

Woodlawn Park Offleash Area: This is one of the more popular Seattle dog runs. I like to take my dog there and let her race around, before taking her down to nearby Greenlake for my own exercise. She gets it out of her system, and expresses less interest in other dogs when I am walking her on the leash. This area is great because it is built on an incline, allowing the dogs to get a more strenuous workout. The dog owners are friendly, and will let your dog join in on their game of fetch. A central watering hole is a nice addition, but can make for a muddy mess- a very muddy mess. (Woodlawn Park’s south entrance is located at 750 N. 50th St, Seattle WA 98103. Call (206) 684-4075 for more park information.)

Ballard Offleash Area: Located in Golden Gardens, this offleash area discourages people from breaking the law, and taking their dogs down by the water. The nearby woods have great trails to walk around in, and the dog run itself is nice and large. Depending on the time of day, this dog run will be pretty crowded. This can be a positive or a negative, but your dog will get a lot of exposure to other animals, which is important. (Golden Gardens Park is located at 8498 Seaview Pl. NW, Seattle, WA, 98107. Call (206)684-4075 for more park information.)

Marymoor Park: The crown gem of all dog runs, but not actually located within the city. Instead, you have to head out towards Redmond. It’s worth the trip, however. This isn’t a tiny pen: it is a huge area, devoted to dogs. There are little ponds to swim in, bushes to hunt through, and fields for your dog to run around in. There are lots of open spaces where you can concentrate on training. The downside is, if your dog is young or just not well-trained, they will surely be distracted by the countless other canines running around. I brought my dog there when she was an older puppy, and had to chase her around for what felt like miles before I could finally head for home. Patrons of Marymoor sometimes organize activities in the park. I noticed that one night is reserved for Dobermans, which is something to look out for – whether you have a Doberman, or trying to avoid a whole pack of them. (Marymoor Park is located at 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy NE, Redmond, WA, 98052. Call (206)296-2966 for more park information.)

Magnuson Park: I rarely go to the Magnuson Park offleash area, but I should probably go more often. The space is nice and large, and on a weekday, there aren’t many people there. You can play a nice game of fetch with your dog, and not have it interrupted. On the weekends, it gets a lot more crowded. The Park itself is also a great place to walk the dog. The artwalk is interesting, and you’re right down by Lake Washington. (Magnuson Park is located at 7400 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA, 98115. Call (206)684-4946 for more park information.)

In my opinion, it would be nice if major parks like Discovery Park and Carkeek Park had dog runs. But since they are wildlife refuges and are carefully maintained, I suppose that this is impossible. Remember that if something isn’t specifically designated as on offleash area, it probably isn’t. Seattle charges heavy fines for violation of this rule. Besides, there are plenty of offleash areas throughout the city. Check your local park listings to see if there’s one near you, and remember that scoop bags aren’t provided anymore, so bring your own! It’s the law!

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