Fitness, Pets, Running

Dog Park Exploration

Recently I’ve discovered the beauty of the off-leash dog park. I’m so glad to live in DuPage County with its six off-leash parks. Millie’s finally had all of her required shots, and now that we have our dog park permit we’re free to roam the trails.

We’ve visited the Blackwell Forest Preserve twice now, which is good for a quick walk with pup but isn’t my favorite for a long stay. The fenced-in facility is well maintained but isn’t very large, so there’s a lot of interaction with other dogs and people. It’s great social interaction for Millie, but sometimes it’s nice to walk and hike without playing doggy referee.

This led Hubs and I to visit the East Branch Forest Preserve. This park isn’t fenced, but the doggy area is very large so I don’t worry about Millie running away. There are trails that lead around the property and to the many swimming holes for dogs.

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Millie’s great off leash. She almost always stays within 10 feet of us, and when we call her she comes running into our arms.
A beautiful day for a hike and swim.
A beautiful day for a hike and swim.

This is where we learned that Millie is a total water dog. She just LOVES swimming. She has so much fun in the water, and then she sleeps for hours when we get home. This is a win in my book!

IMG_2688
She will chase the ball into the water over and over again.
Who else loves the Chuck It dog toy?
Who else loves the Chuck It dog toy?
Victorious!
Victorious!
We all came home a little muddy and in need of showers!
We all came home a little muddy and in need of showers!

After some swimming we started our hike. Our hope was that this would allow Millie time to dry before driving home, but the trails were really muddy…so we just accepted defeat and had fun in the dirt!

Millie patiently waits for her ball
Millie patiently waits for her ball. We’re teaching her to sit before each release.
This forest preserve is very beautiful. We even ran into our neighbors at the park with their dog too!
This forest preserve is very beautiful. We even ran into our neighbors at the park with their dog too!

After getting more muddy we opted for one more swim for Millie. I think a wet/cleanish dog is better than a dry/muddy dog in the backseat. One day we’ll own an SUV and this will be much easier!

Swim time
Swim time #2
Look what I found, 'Ma!
Look what I found, ‘Ma!

We finished up our hike with some sunshine and a game of fetch.

Go fetch!
Go fetch!
Incoming!
Incoming!

Have you taken your dog to an off-leash dog park? What was your experience like?

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10 thoughts on “Dog Park Exploration”

  1. I’d love to take my dog to a place like that! My dog runs around our yard and goes for the occasional walk, so I’m sure that a park like that would be his Disneyland. However, my dog is a tick magnet. Thank goodness for frontline.

  2. Millie must have felt like she died and went to doggie heaven to get to have TWO swims on the same day! This looks like a TOTAL blast for her! So fun!!!

    1. Thanks, Glenn! She just loooooves to swim. And it’s so great for us, because we come home and she sleeps for a while. We usually plan to be productive after the dog park because we know Millie will be catching some Zzzz’s all afternoon. Love it!

  3. My dog’s been to the Lakeview beach a couple of times and LOVED it. It was a little crowded, but he loved swimming in the water and chasing the other dogs. It looks like you have some great options for your puppy to explore!

    1. Lakeview Beach sounds great! Millie is just like your dog. I can’t tell if she has more fun swimming after her ball, or racing other dogs into the water. I swear it’s like she’s smiling when we’re there playing. Too cute!

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