I thought I'd put together a list of my favorite spots to take my dogs in Austin! I moved here from Connecticut where, surprisingly, we had many more fenced in dog parks than Austin has. Since my dogs are greyhounds, I don't let them off leash outside of a fenced in area (despite their rock-solid emergency recall), so we need places we can go that are either fenced or where they can hike with me on a leash. I tend to avoid the most popular Austin dog park down at Riverside because it is a little (actually, a lot!) too crowded for my taste. As a dog trainer, I often find that a crowded dog park can lead to behavior problems rather than the beneficial socialization we're all looking for.
Here are a few of my favorite places to take my dogs in Austin:
Our private dog park! Many more Austin apartment complexes are beginning to build fenced in dog parks for their residents. This can be wonderful because the number of dogs that have access to the park is limited and you can get to know which dogs can play safely with your dogs and which you need to politely avoid. I believe that Hardrock Canyon, Mesa Verde, The Ranch, Sycamore Springs, and Summit Creek have dog parks, but please double check with them for details!
Walnut Creek Park - While there isn't a fenced in dog park, there are some great spots where Chance and Buddy can take a quick dip in the stream along our hike. We take a long line for them to wear so they can go in without taking me with them! It's a great spot for a quick walk on a hot summer day.
Town Lake - What Austin dog owner doesn't love Town Lake? Well, I guess if you have a fearful, aggressive, or reactive dog, you should avoid Town Lake because it is generally very crowded. If, however, your dog is comfortable and well-mannered in a crowd, this is a fun place to spend a morning. It's not as easy for them to take a dip in the water here, but with a little persistence, which Chance and Buddy do have when it comes to their swimming, they can find a spot to jump in and get wet.
My last spot is a dog park that doesn't seem to be well-known. In fact, that's one of the wonderful things about it because it is never too crowded. It is in Wells Branch so if you live in South Austin, it may be too far to the North for you. It is near Feathercrest and Bratton Lane in Wells Branch. But please, if you go to a dog park, exercise good dog park etiquette so everyone can have a good time!
Cara, Austin Dog Trainer