Spanning the distance of Hearst Avenue between Sacramento Street and Martin Luther King Jr Way is one of Berkeley’s most treasured public spaces: Ohlone Park. Long and narrow, the park offers a variety of simple features: basketball courts, multiple children’s play areas, open fields for soccer matches, yoga classes or just catching some sun. Towards the northeast corner of the park lies one of it’s biggest draws: Ohlone Dog Park. Having made several “Top Ten Lists” over the years, Ohlone continues to build on its reputation of providing a clean, open space for dogs to run and race highlighted by a sense of community that is both experienced and encouraged by the many regulars who frequent the park. If pet ownership is comparable to “parenthood,” then Ohlone is the playground. Let the kids run while you swap stories with the other parents.
On the last Friday of each month, the Ohlone regulars get together for an informal celebration (accompanied by snacks and drinks) to further this notion of togetherness. You are never alone at Ohlone. The park is conservative, yet beautiful. Simple, with depth. An air of accountability resigns over the park. Commonality & respect are nearly tangible. The evidence of which can be seen in the animal behavior: humans who strive to live in harmony often raise animals who adopt the same sensibilities. One of the more common misconceptions regarding animal socialization is that the need for it ends with puppyhood. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the foundation for good behavior is laid during the first few months, good owners encourage and reinforce social skills and responsiveness to commands throughout the dog’s life. When it comes to dog parties in Berkeley, Ohlone is the place to be!
As you make your descent through the trails in Redwood Regional Park one of the first things you’ll notice is the temperature cooling. The dry brush at the higher points of the park begin to give way to darker green vegetation. Before you notice it, you’re under a redwood canopy. Fern grows rampant and the cold ground is soft, damp and easy on the paws. Not every trail in the park is off-leash; some are shared with horses and bicyclists. Most trails, though, are perfect for practicing off-leash commands.
An hour long hike can satisfy two of your dog’s most basic needs: exercise and exploration. A dog perceives the world through his nose. His brain is specialized for identifying scents. For comparison’s sake, the average human employs about 5 million “scent receptors,” while the typical beagle uses 225 million! Hiking in Redwood affords much more than a quality physical workout for your pup; it provides him with mental conditioning by giving him the stimuli he needs to keep his senses sharp. Make sure you’re current with all your pet’s vaccinations, and while you’re on your hike be mindful of wild mushrooms, the transference of poison oak, and foxtail (especially during the summer months).
Redwood Regional Park is located just a few miles over the ridge from downtown Oakland. It’s a hidden redwood forest whose peaceful groves give little evidence of its bustling past. In the mid-1800s, what is now Redwood Regional Park was the scene of extensive logging to supply building materials for the Bay Area. If you enjoy the solidarity that nature can afford, combined with convenience and accessibility, then spend an afternoon with your pup at Redwood Regional Park, you’ll both be happy you did.
Visit http://www.ebparks.org/parks/redwood#trailmap for a downloadable park map, park events calendar and park hours.
Muddy Paws, Happy Dogs
Bring a sweater because the coastal bluster can give you a chill! Bring a friend and pick up a cup of coffee from The Sit and Stay Café. Bring your “chuck-it” and play fetch on the grassy fields. Walk and talk while your dog romps in the mud or in the brush circling the delta. Life is not where you go—it’s who you travel with. If you have a “water dog” at home, bring him out and be prepared for muddy paws.
There are beautiful views of the Golden Gate and Marin County from this landscaped 23-acre park at the west end of Central Avenue in Richmond. This is one of the largest public off-leash dog parks in the nation with over 500,000 dog visits per year. The park is open from 5AM to 10PM and has two FREE parking lots.
A favorite with park visitors is Mudpuppy’s Tub & Scrub, a dog washing and dog-specific retail shop facility. There are full service and do-it-yourself dog baths, plus great toys, treats, and supplies. Call (510) 559-8899 or for more information on these facilities, or see www.mudpuppys.com. Also visit pido.org, a website created by the Point Isabel Dog Owners & Friends for dog park events including social hours, clean-up campaigns, and dog training sessions.