Tips for Taking your Dog to the Park

Story by By for E Metro News

Photo: Kathryn Colohan

Now that it is a new year, you might be thinking of exercising. Walking is a great form of exercise and having a companion helps you to stick to your walking routine. That companion can easily be your dog! After all, he probably likes the car ride, wants to go with you, and can benefit from the exercise, too.

Throughout the year, I like to take my dog and head to a nearby park for a walk. There are many various levels of trails in Georgia with most state parks having trails that accept dogs. And although the state parks do have fees of around $5 to enter, you can purchase an annual park pass for an affordable option since you will be going to the parks regularly with your dog.

State parks in East Atlanta Metro include Panola Mountain in Stockbridge, Fort Yargo in Winder, Hard Labor Creek in Rutledge, and High Falls in Jackson. All of these have wooded trails that are short and easy. There are stairs at High Falls State Park, so this trail is not recommended if you or your dog have disabilities. If you are in shape and are ready to spend more time enjoying the outdoors, Fort Yargo has a longer lake trail that is beautiful any time of the year. You can even bring your rod to fish at several of the state parks as long as you remember your fishing license.

Locally, there are a number of parks with trails that accept pets. Some of my favorites are Davidson-Arabia Mountain Preserve in Lithonia, South Rockdale River Park in Conyers, Lenora Park in Snellville, Alexander Park in Snellville, and Sandy Creek Park in Athens.  All of these parks have paved trails. If you prefer an enclosed dog park instead of walking a trail with your dog, both Lenora Park and Sandy Creek Park have these. There is a fee to enter Sandy Creek Park and use the dog park.

When taking your dog for a walk, remember to be courteous of other people on the trail. Your dog must be on a leash and not everyone likes dogs. If your dog has not been trained or socialized, you may need to move him off the trail or to the side to let others pass. And be especially careful with your dog around bicyclists, runners, and others zooming past you. You should also be prepared to manage your dog around wildlife.

In addition, before heading off on a trail, remember to bring plenty of water and a snack for both you and your pet. Plan to pack out anything you pack in. Don’t forget to bring baggies to clean up after your dog. And have fun!