Our community is blessed with many places in and around Oakland where dogs can hike or run with their owners off-leash or where they can play with other dogs in fenced areas under their owners’ supervision.
We believe that fun dog play is healthy for dogs. At the shelter, specially-trained volunteers supervise playgroups for the shelter’s big dogs nearly every day, and the dogs love it.
You can explore Oakland’s dog-friendly parks here. Be sure to read the rules first.
While dog parks provide an opportunity for dogs to exercise and to socialize with other dogs, they are not a good solution for every dog. Just as with people, some dogs are not “party animals,” are uncomfortable with the approaches or play styles of other dogs, or lack the self-restraint necessary to keep play from escalating into unwanted behavior. For these dogs, being taken to a dog park can be scary or dangerous. All it takes is one bad incident to turn a friendly, confident dog into a fearful, timid dog; or, conversely, into an aggressive dog who strikes first as a defensive measure.
Before going to a dog park, consider whether doing so will be fun for your dog. The first few times, you might want to go when you know the park will not be very crowded. Walk around with your leashed dog outside the park, closely observe your dog’s behaviors and reactions to the dogs in the park, and go inside only if you’re confident that your dog will be comfortable there. If your dog isn’t relaxed inside the park, visit other off-leash areas instead (see below) where you and your dog can enjoy each other.
Other nearby dog-friendly areas
You and your dog can walk or jog for miles on beautiful trails in the East Bay Regional Parks. If your dog reliably comes when you call, go off-leash!
Other popular nearby areas where dogs are allowed off-leash are listed here.
Be sure to carry water for your dog as well as for yourself, because water often is not available. You can find easy-to-pack water containers for dogs at Pet Food Express or other local pet supply stores.