Dog park alternatives in/near Oakland
March 25, 2012 10:47 PM   Subscribe

Looking for enclosed area for dogs to run around in/near Oakland that isn't a dog park.

My friend has two dogs. One is well-behaved, the other wants to escape every waking second of its life. He lives in Oakland, and I've only noticed one dog park in the area, a drab affair underneath a freeway. It would be nice if he could take the dogs somewhere where there aren't a lot of people/other dogs for them to run around and be crazy.
posted by user92371 to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley is pretty nice for this sort of thing, and it's not too far from Oakland & easy to get to from the 80/880 freeway.

While I've never been there, your friend probably should check out Joaquin Miller Dog Park too. There are some dog parks/parks in Alameda that look like they'd be worth checking out, but, again, I'm not too familiar with that area.
posted by un petit cadeau at 11:06 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

(Oops. I'm not sure how I missed the 'not a dog park' part.)
posted by un petit cadeau at 11:13 PM on March 25, 2012

Could your friend go to one of the suggested dog parks at non-peak times? I used to walk by a few of the dog parks in North Berkeley, and they were only full at particular times. If your friend found out when the parks were empty/near to empty, he could go then.
posted by nat at 12:01 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Well, it is a dog park, but the dog park at Mosswood is usually pretty quiet. It's fairly small, but it's got enough running room to tire my dog out pretty well.
posted by tau_ceti at 12:06 AM on March 26, 2012

The Berkeley marina has a huge off-leash section for dogs.
posted by ambulatorybird at 12:55 AM on March 26, 2012

Your friend might consider swinging by an elementary school on the weekend. Most have fenced but unlocked playgrounds/fields, and while it might not be strictly permitted, the worst that might happen is someone wandering by who cares and telling them to clear out. Just make sure they know to be careful picking up after the dogs, children and poo are a bad combination.
posted by internet!Hannah at 2:09 AM on March 26, 2012

Please don't go to an elementary school. No matter how careful you are, poo gets missed. And poo on kids' clothing while they are at school is terrible for the kids, classmates, teachers, etc. Not to mention a potential health hazard because kids touch their hands to the dirt and then touch their hands to their mouths.
posted by LittleMy at 5:02 AM on March 26, 2012 [5 favorites]

There is a big empty lot fenced in (used now as a storage yard for sewer or water pipes) in West Oakland, bounded by Pine, 8th, 9th and the 880 frontage road. There is a break in the fence at the end of 8th, where it turns into Storey briefly, and dog owners (and skateboarders, and grafitti artists) access the area from there. Enjoy.
posted by gubenuj at 7:16 AM on March 26, 2012

I should add that the lot I described is rarely frequented by more than one or two dog families at a time, and usually when I go by it is devoid of activity.
posted by gubenuj at 9:18 AM on March 26, 2012

Alas, Oakland is highly lacking in enclosed dog areas and terribly un-dog friendly all around. If the "Drab" park you are talking about is the asphalt-only Hardy Park on Claremont, you are right, it's horrible.

I don't recommend Joaquin Miller at all - it's small, mostly dirt & wood chips -- and totally boring.

I think you might try the Grove-Shafter Dog Park Park in the morning hours when there's hardly anyone there. Sorry, the link button isn't working on my browser today:
Grove-Shafter Dog Park:

It's slightly drab but not near as bad as Hardy. It's at the back of the park & difficult to see from the street. Park directly across the Street from Eli's Mile High @ 3629 Martin Luther King Jr Way and walk to the back of the park. I think most people go there after work so morning is a safe bet. It IS partially under the freeway, but there's lots of area open to the sky, plus grass.

Alternative to enclosed spaces for the Houdini-Dog: Has your friend considered getting a harness and 30 foot lead? They can be controlled/taken on trails that way while still have a bit of lead room to run and romp. Let the dog pull the lead on the ground, this slows them down a bit, reminds them they are ON a lead, and gives you the ability to step on it to stop them. Bonus: You get to practice recall! I had an escape artist too and this worked wonders. [Hint: Tie knots in it at regular intervals so your hands have something to snag if they are bolting so you don't get the leash burn.]

Another alternative to the lead is an electronic collar (I use sport dog on my escape artist) which is a completely awesome tool when used correctly.

I know some really nice trails that are close by (5-7 minutes from Lake Merritt area) that aren't "officially" off leash, but most people I've seen there let their dogs off leash. They never crowded, I've never had any troubles and you feel so far away though you are still below highway 13. If you (or anyone) wants info on these trails, please PM me.

BTW, you friend might like the O-Dog mailing list which they can sign up for at the O-Dog site.
posted by crayon at 9:28 AM on March 26, 2012

Take a look at the Easy Bay Regional Park District. We have TONS of open space in Oakland, especially around the Leona Canyon area. There is also a huge off-leash park in Richmond, with beaches.
posted by waitangi at 10:16 AM on March 26, 2012

Sorry, I meant to add that these places are not heavily populated in many areas, which might help with the escapist.
posted by waitangi at 10:19 AM on March 26, 2012

Best answer: As someone with a husky-malamute mix who could not exercise off-leash without fences (because he would run away and end up in Canada before he realized I had tried to get him to come back), please note the OPs point that one of her dogs is an escape artist. Merely being in a location where you can get away with letting your dog off-leash is not enough.
posted by RedEmma at 10:21 AM on March 26, 2012

I take my dogs to a trail near Leona Canyon. I also walk them on the bike trail in Alameda near the Chick Corea Golf Course/Harbor Bay.

I know you said no dog parks, but there is a *huge* enclosed dog run in Alameda at Washington Park.
posted by duckus at 7:10 PM on March 29, 2012

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