Here in the Seattle area we are very fortunate to have so many off-leash dog parks. Over at YouDidWhatWithYourWeiner, I talk to people all over the country. I have found that most places that have dog parks have only one and many places don't have any at all.
However, some of the local parks are not as suitable for small dogs. Some parks don't have specific areas for small dogs to play. Some of the parks, including the wildly popular Marymoor Park, have areas of dense brush. Your dog can dart into the brush and get stuck or get on a good scent and just refuse to come out. Some parks have such varied elevation that your dog can easily run away and out of your sight.
There are several local dog parks that do have a high chance of creating a positive experience for you and your small dog though. Below are my top picks for the parks that will delight your small dog:
Although the large-dog area of Golden Gardens has a reputation for being wet in the winter, the small dog area at the top of the hill is sandy so it stays dry pretty much year round. The two areas are attached but separated by a fence. Larger dogs often come to the fence which allows the dogs to sniff each other but keeps a protection barrier between them. It can be a good place for your dog to practice the socialization skills they have learned. Other highlights of this park include trails to hike with your leashed dog, plenty of shade, a water source inside the fence, a picnic bench and a restroom nearby.
The small dog area at Magnuson Park is immediately inside the gate at the south end of the park. This location reduces the risk of being approached by rambunctious, larger dogs. The play area is part grass and little doggies love to sniff around in there. If your dog is comfortable, you can venture out of the small dog area and walk the trail to the beach. There is a great area for your dog to swim if they like the water. If you can, avoid evenings and weekends to avoid the crowds and your dog potentially getting trampled. Other highlights of the small dog area include a bench and lawn chairs, a nearby lost and found board, portable restrooms and a water source.
Luther Burbank Dog Park boasts one of the largest small-dog play areas. This park also has the best dog wash station. You probably won't need it unless you visit the swimming beach in the main area but it is a great, free self-wash station for your dog if they need a bath. It's adjacent to the small dog area so it is also a close source of water if your dog needs a drink too. Other highlights include park trails you can wander with your leashed dog, a great view from the main park and restrooms nearby.
Jasper's Dog Park is one of the newest off-leash dog parks in the Seattle Metro area. Because interest in this park is still fresh in people's minds, it is maintained very well. There is a separate small dog area with a bench and trees. The trees are widely spaced so they allow shade without hampering you from keeping a close eye on your pup. The area is covered in bark and on a slope so it stays pretty dry all year round. Although this park does not have many amenities, it's a great little park to visit.
This West Seattle Dog Park is a little gem. This 4-acre park features open spaces and paths to hike. The small dog area is large, well-drained, features a "small forest" that is still open enough to keep an eye on your dog and has plenty of places to sit. Despite its popularity, it is not overcrowded. If you care to venture into the large dog area there is a space you can use the agility equipment they have set up. Restrooms are located nearby and trash cans are provided.
Published in: around town