Who Let the Dogs Out? Best Off-Leash Areas for Pooches & Kids

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“Big dogs, little dogs, red dogs, blue dogs….“ Dog parks aren’t quite as happening as P.D. Eastman’s Go, Dog. Go!, but they’re still quite a Dog Party. If you’ve got a pooch and a kid (or multiples of either), we’ve rounded up the best places around the city to spend the day with the fam, tails ‘n’ all. Flip through the gallery to get the poop, er scoop.

Westcrest Park

West Seattle’s 4-acre doggy adventure playground - Westcrest Park - is a great destination for furry and non-furry family members. There’s a kids’ play area right by the parking lot and a brand new play area on the north side of the park (but we’d recommend letting the pooches play first). You can take the easy footpath in or one of the wooded trails through the Duwamish greenbelt. There are two doggy drinking fountains, picnic tables (as is true for every dog park, dogs can and will stand, sit, and lounge on picnic tables). There's a nice loop with treed areas for the pooch and intrepid kids to explore.

Good to Know: Nowhere in Westcrest is off limits to non-canines but the humans do tend to stick to the trails, while the dogs climb the hills and chase each other through the trees, kicking up dust as they go. There are plenty of spots to throw a ball, and a nice shy dog area.

Westcrest Park
9000 8th Ave. S.W.
Seattle, Wa 98106
Online: seattle.gov/parks/offleash

photo: Helen Walker Green

Dog Park Etiquette for Kids
Kids and dogs can have a very special relationship, but please use caution in the dog park. Remember that this is the pooches’ park and little ones need to know how to behave around dogs. Here are some tips to keep everyone in your brood safe and happy:

1. Never bring food or toys to the park (dog toys are fine, or course).

2. Keep a close eye on your kids, especially tots.

3. Discourage your kids from running, dogs may think they want to play chase.

4. Teach your tyke to always ask the dog’s human if it’s OK to pet their dog.

5. Dog parks are not the place to help your little one get over their fear of dogs – there’s too many dogs, and most are in that rambunctious,”Hey, wanna play?” mood. Setting up a quiet meeting with a friend or family member’s mellow dog is a much better place to start.

Where is your favorite off-leash area? Tell us about it in a comment below.

— Helen Walker Green

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