(This post has been updated for 2015, see it here: http://dogsinthecle.com/55-things-to-do-with-your-dog-in-northeast-ohio-2015-edition/)
It’s not always easy to find time for your dog. We all lead busy lives and, unfortunately, you can’t take your dog everywhere. That is one of the reasons I started this web site. I wanted to find places that I could hang out with my dog and still do the things I enjoy. Since it’s a new year, I thought I’d compile a list of things you can do with your dog in NE Ohio to get some things on your radar for the year. Of course not all dogs will want to do some of these things, but hopefully there’s a few things on here that you and your dog would enjoy!
1. Go to the ultimate dog park – Bow Wow Beach in Stow is more than just a beach, more than just a dog park – it’s pretty much a dog’s dream. With a lake for swimming, an agility course and a large area surrounding the lake to explore, this is probably your dog’s favorite place. I especially love that it has a small dog area that is not just a tiny gated area and actually has space for dogs to run around.
2. Work out with your dog – Looking for something to wear out an active dog? Thank Dog Boot Camp is your answer. The fun dog- friendly workout focuses on exercise for you and your dog as well dog behavior training. Visit http://thankdogneo.com for more information.
3. Have a beer with your dog – I don’t encourage giving your dog beer of course, but for you to enjoy a beer alongside your dog, one of my favorite patios is Nano Brew in Ohio City. The bar has a large outdoor seating area, and the bartenders are very welcoming of their dog patrons. Check out the Where to Go page for more Cleveland dog-friendly patios.
4. Join a pack with your dog – You know your dog dreams of being in a pack like his ancestors. Lucky for you, you can give him that experience! Cleveland Metroparks as well as many rescue groups hold regular pack walks. There are also many local hiking groups to get your dog out and enjoying the company of other dogs. Keep an eye on the calendar for dates.
5. Take your dog to brunch – On Sundays in the summer both Luxe and Rocky River Wine Bar hold a dog friendly brunch.
6. Take your dog to a baseball game – Puppypalooza is the Cleveland Indians’ annual event where you can bring your dog with you to cheer on the Indians. Last year’s events were in June and September, so keep your eye on their schedule for this year’s dates.
7. Take a road trip with your dog – There are lots of great places within a short drive to take your dog. Columbus is a very dog friendly city, and, if you want to drive a little further, Hocking Hills has many great trails as well as cabins that are dog friendly.
8. Take a scenic dog hike – Cleveland has a ton of great parks and trails that are dog friendly, so there’s bound to be a good scenic hike no matter where you live in NE Ohio. One of my favorite trails is the Fort Hill Trail at the Rocky River Reservation. Located behind the Nature Center, the trail includes a long stairway leading up to one of the best views in Cleveland.
9. Help out a local rescue group – There are many different fundraising events you can do with your dog. One of my favorites is Woofstock, Rescue Village’s annual fundraiser held in September where you raise funds and participate in a one mile walk with your dog. Mutt Strut is another annual walk that benefits the Lake Humane Society.
10. Go on an Easter egg hunt with your dog – On Saturday, March 29, the Cleveland APL will be holding a “Doggone Easter Egg Hunt.” The dog walk will take place from 7:30 to 9:30 am and admission is a donation to the Cleveland APL. There will be refreshments for the humans and treats for dogs along the route.
11. Visit a botanical garden – Since dogs are no longer allowed at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, a trip to the Holden Arboretum is your best way to take a scenic walk through gardens with your dog.
12. Send your dog, and kid, to camp – Adventures Unleashed is a camp for teenagers aged 13-18 and their dogs. Campers and their dogs stay in cabins and participate in a variety of activities both with and without their dogs. Visit www.adventureunleashed.org for more info.
13. Make a thanksgiving tradition with your dog – The annual Turkey Trot downtown is dog friendly. So get your dog, and you, some exercise before spending your day eating.
14. Enter your dog in a contest – Each summer at the Warehouse District Festival there’s a Cleveland’s Cutest Dog Competition, where owners dress up their dogs to compete for a prize basket. A variety of other Cleveland dog events hold contests, so check back for more info on those as they are announced.
15. Go Skijoring/Sledding with your dog – You have to have the right dog for either of these activities (skijoring is where your dog pulls you on skis), but if you do this is a great way to get your dog out in the wintertime. There’s a Siberan Husky Club in Cleveland that holds an annual Sled Dog Race (unfortunately it was last weekend, sorry for the late notice!), and hosts other activities for Husky owners.
16. Have a glass of wine with your dog – Some of my favorite dog-friendly wine bar patios are Clifton Wine Bar in Cleveland outside of downtown, and Market Ave. Wine Bar in Ohio City.
17. Dress your dog up and go for a run – The Berea Animal Rescue Fund holds a Monster Mutt Dash in October where you can dress your dog up in a Halloween costume and run a 5K or participate in a 1 mile walk. The event also includes a fun Halloween after party.
18. Take your dog to the ultimate dog party – Every August The Greyhound Adoption of Ohio hosts Canine Fun Days – a two day party for dogs and their people. The event includes swimming, dock diving, contests and more.
19. Find or plan a dog meet up – There are a few dog meet ups currently: http://dog-events.meetup.com/cities/us/oh/cleveland, but it seems like there’s an opportunity for more. I know my dog Hunter would love to meet some Pom friends…
20. Take your dog swimming – A few different dogs swims are held annually, including one hosted by the Lakewood Dog Park that is held at the end of pool season in September. Dog Paddle and Pet-a-Palooza is another fun event that was held last summer for dogs to go swimming.
21. Get your pet’s photo taken with Santa – Santa Paws events will be over the place in December, so don’t miss your chance to get that adorable photo taken of your dog and Santa!
22. Certify your dog as a good canine citizen – This is especially good if you like to take your dog out with you to patios and stores. The course focuses on teaching your dog good manners and how to handle dogs and other distractions gracefully. At the end of the training your dog takes a test to be certified as a “Canine Good Citizen.”
23. Go to an old dog party - If you have an older dog, this event may be more his pace. Every year the Sanctuary for Senior Dogs holds “Summer Scoop” also known as the “Old Dog Party.” A popular activity at the event is the Old Dog Olympics, an agility course paced for old dogs. This year it will be held Aug. 14.
24. Go to happy hour with your dog –Several bars host “Yappy Hours,” where you can bring your dog with you to a bar in support of local rescue groups throughout the summer. Stay tuned to the site for more info on these events!
25. Go pumpkin picking with your dog – A few pumpkin patches around the NE Ohio area are dog friendly, in particular, Patterson Fruit Farm and Pick n’ Save Orchard, so don’t forget your dog when you go in search of a pumpkin this year!
26. Take your dog to the beach - Fairport Harbor on the East side, Columbia Rd. Beach in Bay Village and Edgewater in Cleveland all have designated dog beach areas.
27. Go to a winter dog festival – It’s hard to find things to do for your dog in the winter. Lucky for you this year Squad 51 organized a winter festival for dogs, Woof in the City. Get tickets here.
28. Take a walk in one the best parks in the nation – We are very lucky to live close to one of the best parks in the country (in my opinion), the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. There are lots of great trails to take your dog on, so this is a must do for all area dog owners.
29. Take your dog shopping – Although you can’t bring your dog into most stores (unless he can fit in a carrier) Crocker Park and Legacy Village are both dog friendly, so it’s a fun place to take a walk with your dog and do some window shopping. Also, several restaurants at Crocker are dog friendly, so you can stop for a bite to eat on a patio. I’ve also heard that many of the stores on Chagrin Falls’ Main Street area are dog friendly as well.
30. Take a Nature Hike – Cleveland Metroparks hosts a number of nature walks at different parks, including one that will be held the last weekend in January at the Brecksville Reservation. Check their site for details on upcoming walks: http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/EventsProgramsCalendar.aspx
31. Take your dog to work day – Hopefully you are lucky enough to work at a place that participates in this. I really wish my work did. I think my dog would love it. Of course I would get no work done, but it’d be worth it! This year it will be held on Friday, June 20.
32. Schedule a Spa Day for your dog – If your dog loves being pampered and getting attention like mine does, schedule him or her a facial or pawdicure. Cleveland has a few luxury dog spas including Fetch in Rocky River and the Barkley Pet Hotel in Orange that offer these type of luxury services.
33. Put those jumping skills to use – Does your dog love to jump? You may want to sign him up for Dock Dogs. Find out more here: http://www.buckeyedockdogs.com
34. Get up to date on the latest in dog trends – Pet Expos are a great way to check out the very latest in dog gear, and, you can bring your dog along! In addition, they are packed with other fun activities and educational sessions. Akron will be hosting one in April at Summit Mall and Cleveland’s will be in September.
35. Run a 5K with your dog – Most of the 5k races organized by Hermes Cleveland are dog friendly, but there are a few specific to dogs every year, including the Love A Stray race which will be in April and the Monster Mutt Dash in October. Stay tuned for more info on these races!
36. Take your dog to a farmer’s market – Many farmer’s markets, including Tremont and Gordon Square are dog friendly, so these are a great way to get some shopping done and take your dog on a walk!
37. Go to a summer festival with your dog – I think most outdoor summer festivals are dog friendly, but in particular I know the Clifton Arts Festival, The Taste of Tremont and The Warehouse District Festival are all popular festivals to take your dog to during the summer. If you have a dog that is good with crowds and laid back, this is a great way to spend time together during the summer.
38. Get a cup of coffee with your dog – Most coffee shops allow dogs on their patios, in particular Lucky’s (which is so much more than a coffee shop, really) and Civilization, both in Tremont. So bring your dog along next time you want to sit outside with a cup of coffee.
39. Put your dog through an obstacle course – Agility is great for active dogs and several area groups have training classes to help your dog get started. Check out Canine University of Ohio and Cleveland All Breed Training Club for classes.
40. Go to a hockey game with your dog – The 6th Annual Pucks & Paws event to support the Cleveland APL will be Sunday, April 13. The Monsters will be playing the Rochester Americans, and the games starts at 5 p.m.
41. Take your dog to a movie – You definitely have to have the right dog for this (I think my dog would do way too much barking for this to be enjoyable) but there are, surprisingly, a few drive in theatres left in NE Ohio, including the Elm Road Drive In Theatre in Warren and the Mayfield Rd. Drive In in Chardon – and they are both dog friendly. So take a step back in time, and bring your dog along!
42. Road trip for the Malabark in the Park – Located about an hour and a half from Cleveland, the historic Malabar Farm will host Malabar in the Park on July 12 & 13. The event will feature dog activities, demonstrations, competitions, a parade and vendors.
43. Hang out on an island with your dog – One of the best views on the west side, Whiskey Island, is also a fun place to hang with your dog. Sunset Grill, the bar/restaurant on Whiskey Island, is dog friendly as well, so bring your pup to enjoy the great views.
44. Go to a wine tasting with your dog – Lake Humane Society’s 5th annual Woof, Wag & Wine will be June 14th from 12:00 – 6:00 p.m. at Grand River Cellars in Madison. Bring your dog to take a tour of the vineyards and enjoy a wine tasting and live music.
45. Dress up with your dog and join a parade- Lakewood’s annual Spooky Pooch Parade is the ultimate in dog Halloween costume parades. People get very creative with the costumes, dressing up along with their dogs, so it’s a definite must see even if you don’t want to participate in the parade.
46. Go camping with your dog – I think camping is the perfect type of trip to bring your dog along for. Check the rules before bringing your pet, but many area campgrounds are pet friendly. Country Acres Campground in Ravenna is one, and they don’t charge an additional pet fee.
47. Schedule a stay at a swanky hotel – Just like it may be your dream to stay at the Ritz, it’s your dog’s dream to stay at The Barkley Pet Hotel. Located in Orange, the Barkley is a luxury hotel for your dog, offering “pool-side” and “serenity” suites. I have a feeling if I dropped my dog off here, he wouldn’t want to come home with me.
48. Throw your dog a birthday party - Grateful Dog Bakery and One Lucky Dog Bakery specialize in serving up special treats for dogs, including cookies, cupcakes and birthday cakes. You can also rent a room at Grateful Dog to throw your dog a birthday party.
49. Teach your dog a new trick – Your dog is never too old to learn something new! Contact a local trainer and get started. Many of them have fun classes such as teaching your dog new tricks or dog sports classes.
50. Visit a castle with your dog – If you live on the east side, you’ve probably taken your dog to Squires Castle. Located in the heart of the North Chagrin Reservation in Willoughby Hills, this is a really beautiful destination walk you can take with your dog.
What would you add? Let me know your favorite activity to do with your dog in the comments!
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