As we all know, Cleveland is full of more bad weather days than good ones, which can make it hard for those who like to keep their dog active. Since I got a dog I have wished Cleveland had an indoor play option. Thankfully, my prayers were finally answered in July with the opening of The Canine Country Club in North Olmsted.
The Canine Country Club offers an indoor activity room for your dog to play in, as well as an indoor swimming pool. In addition to those services, the Club also offers massage (with Hunter’s favorite masseuse Diane Pekarek) and reiki services and hosts various training classes and seminars. In order to use the facilities, you have to show vet approval (they have a form on their site), so any dog entering the facility has to be up to date on shots — making it a much more appealing option than a dog park.
The Club is not to be confused with an indoor dog park as the activity room is really designed for you to play with your dog one-on-one. You can sign up with a friend though, to give your dog some play time with another buddy. You can also drop off your dog for a half hour of play time with one of the Club’s staff members. A great option if you are running errands but want to get your dog out for some fun.
You can register on their site to sign up for a half hour of swimming or to have your dog play in the activity room. Hunter and I went last week to try out the swimming and check out the facility. We signed up for the swim orientation, which all dogs must compete first. Although Hunter has been to various dog swim events over the years and loves a good kiddie pool romp, he hasn’t really done a lot of swimming. I was excited to see how he would do.
At the swim orientation, they help you determine your dog’s life jacket size and will assess their swim ability and decide what the next steps for future swim sessions are. Your dog can continue with full assisted swimming after the first lesson, or if they are very comfortable, they could move on to independent swim. The key lesson they focus on in the orientation and future assisted swim sessions will be getting the dog to use the ramp in and out. Once a dog is comfortable with that, it’s likely they’d be good with an independent swim.
Multiple dogs can also use the pool, as long as the owners all agree, and they’ve completed the swim orientation and are good independent swimmers.
It took Hunter a little while to warm up to it, but once they broke out the hot dog, he was all in. The staff was so kind and patient, really focusing on making it fun and low stress for him. It was really fun to see Hunter get comfortable enough to doggie paddle around the pool.
We also checked out the activity room, which has lots of balls to play with and some agility equipment. Hunter loved having a big open space to run around and he got lots of attention from the staff, which is his favorite thing.
Your official list of what to do with your dog is back! Sorry it’s a little late. I was hoping to get more updates on exact dates for events by doing it later. This year you’ll see many of the same events, but most updated with info for 2017. A few fun CLE events have dropped off, but we have some new things to do added to the list this year to make up for it.
This year there is something for every dog – from the active, social pup to the lazy, lounging pup. Take a look and mark off your favorites!
Run a 5K with your dog – Many races organized by Hermes Cleveland are dog friendly, including the Siberian Husky 5k/1 Mile “Idid-a-Run” sponsored by the Siberian Husky Club of Greater Cleveland on April 2 and the Love-A-Stray Fur Fun 5K on April 30. Check out their website for more info on races: http://www.hermescleveland.com
Go to a hockey game with your dog – The Cleveland APL’s Annual Pucks & Paws event will be Sunday, April 9. The Monsters will be playing the Grand Rapids Griffins at 5 p.m. Find out more info here: groups.theqarena.com/apl
Visit a botanical garden – If you are looking to take a fun walk with your dog, the Holden Arboretum is a great choice. And there’s no better time to visit than in the spring!
Sign your dog up for a flyball class – Flyball is a competitive sport for dogs that involves jumping hurdles and retrieving balls. The Cleveland All Breed Training Club offers flyball classes, contact them for more details: http://www.cabtc.org/specialty/flyball-class
Visit a dog park in a State Park – The Northern Ohio area has three state parks that also have dog parks with lake access – Mosquito Lake, Portage Lake and Wingfoot Lake. For more info, visit: http://parks.ohiodnr.gov/petfriendly
Go to the ultimate dog park – Bow Wow Beach is basically a dog’s dream. With a lake right in the middle and tons of ground to explore, your dog could spend hours here (if you let him).
Go to boot camp with your dog – Hunter, Roscoe and I love Thank Dog NEO Bootcamp so much that we make a 40 minute trek over to the east side to work out! But it’s worth it! It’s a fun way to get your dog out and get some exercise in our beautiful parks. And, it goes all year round (moving indoors during the winter). There is also a boot camp on the far west side, Thank Dog Fit. The classes are held in Amherst. Find out more here: http://www.thankdogfit.com/
Take your dog to a baseball game – I think Puppypalooza at Progressive Field is gone for good, so to catch an Indians game with your pup you’ll have to stay at home or visit a dog-friendly bar. However, you can still catch a minor league game with your dog! Last year, the Lake Erie Captains, Akron Rubber Ducks and Lake Erie Crushers all hosted dog-friendly game nights. Stay tuned for more details as they are announced.
Enter your dog in a contest– A variety of Cleveland dog events hold cutest dog contests throughout the year. The annual Warehouse District Festival holds a Cutest Dog Contest in the summer and last year the Plain Dealer held a contest as well. Stay tuned for more details as these are announced!
Take yourdog to work day – This year’s “Take Your Dog to Work Day” will be held on Friday, June 23. Start petitioning at your work for this now!
Visit a vineyard with your dog – Some area wineries that hold yappy hours during the summer include Debonne Cellars, The Winery at Wolf Creek and Thorncreek Winery. Other events to look out for: Woof, Wag and Wine, Lake Humane’s annual dog-friendly winery event, will be held on June 17th this year and Rose’s Rescue will hold a Wine and Dogs event at Barrel Run Crossing Winery in Rootstown on June 24th.
Go to an old dog party – The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs holds “Summer Scoop” also known as the “Old Dog Party” every summer offering activities for senior dogs, including the Old Dog Olympics, an agility course for older dogs. Date for 2017 TBA (it’s usually held in August).
Visit a dog park – The Cleveland area has a lot of great dog parks, so no matter where you live one should be close by. The Downtown Dog Park, Canine Meadows Dog Park and Carolyn Ludgate in Medina are a few of the newer dog parks opened in the last couple of years. Read more about them here: https://dogsinthecle.com/new-cleveland-area-dog-parks/
Take your dog swimming – Lakewood Dog Park’s annual dog swim and Dog Paddle and Pet-a-Palooza are two fun annual events to take your dog swimming. The Lakewood one is always held the Tuesday after Labor Day, so Sept. 5th this year. Stay tuned for more dog swim dates this summer. Also, Paws by the Lake, a doggie daycare facility in Avon, also offers pool passes for guests to come and take advantage of their lazy river. Contact them at (440) 933-5297 for more details.
Take your dog to brunch – Luxe in the Detroit Shoreway area is a popular place for dog lovers who also love brunch. The restaurant hosts a Bow Wow Brunch on Sundays in the summer, choosing a Dog of the Week each week to feature on their Facebook page. Other good brunch choices are Rocky River Wine Bar, Nighttown in Cleveland Heights and Lucky’s in Tremont. https://dogsinthecle.com/dog-friendly-brunches/
Have a drink on a patio with your dog – There are so many great patios to hang out and get a beer with your dog in the Cleveland area. My favorites are Clifton Wine Bar, Nanobrew, Platform and Barrio in Tremont (the Lakewood location is not dog friendly). Check out the Where to Go page, to find one near you. Tip – please call ahead and verify you can bring your dog. Policies are always changing.
And if you enjoy having a drink with your dog, mark your calendar for one of the first Yappy Hours of the season on May 22. R.E.A.L Rottweiler Rescue will be hosting an event on Hofbrauhaus’ dog-friendly patio to raise funds for the rescue.
Go to a dog fashion show – One of my favorite events every summer is the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter’s Pawject Runway dog fashion show. You can enter your dog to be a part of the show and dress him or her up in a costume or bathing suit, or just go to watch cute dogs strut their stuff. I don’t see any dates for this yet, but it is usually held in August. Here are some photos from the event to tide you over: https://dogsinthecle.com/dogs-on-the-runway/
Takeyour dog to the beach – We are so lucky in the Cleveland area to have a lake nearby! Spending a day at the lake with your pup is a great summer activity. You can bring your dog along for a swim or to lay in the sand at Columbia Rd. Beach, Edgewater and Fairport Harbor. All of these beach areas have designated spots for dogs to enjoy the lake.
Take your dog shopping – Crocker Park and Legacy Village and many shops on Main St. in Chagrin Falls are all dog friendly. Crocker and Legacy are mainly just for window shopping, but several stores at Crocker and on Main St. do allow dogs inside. Always ask before bringing your dog inside.
Get ice cream with your dog – One of the best things to happen last summer was a Graeter’s opening at Crocker Park. I am so excited they are in Cleveland now! And, as if I needed a reason to love them more, they do a special dog night the first Thursday of every month (date may change). Other good spots to have ice cream with your dog are any Mitchell’s location with outdoor seating and Mason’s Creamery in Ohio City (which often lets dogs inside, just ask first!).
Put those jumping skills to use – Buckeye Dock Dogs offers dock diving classes for active dogs who love the water. Check them out at: http://www.buckeyedockdogs.com. You can learn more about dock diving at the Dog Fest of Zoar this summer. Held on June 9 in Historic Zoar Village about an hour and a half south of Cleveland, this fun festival will feature a number of dog-friendly activities, including dock diving.
Take your dog to a farmer’s market – Tremont and Gordon Square Farmer’s Markets are dog friendly, so you can get your grocery shopping done and take your dog on a walk!
Go Paddleboading and/or boating with your dog – At Hinckley Reservation, dogs are allowed on row boats. You could also borrow a paddleboard and take your dog paddleboarding. Portage Lakes near Akron is another good spot for water activities with your dog. Read about our paddleboarding adventure here: https://dogsinthecle.com/paddleboarding-pup
Last summer Lake Metroparks hosted a few canoe/paddleboard with your dog nights at Fairport Harbor. Hopefully the event will be brought back this summer!
Go to a summer festival with your dog – Clifton Arts Festival, The Taste of Tremont and The Warehouse District Festival are common dog-friendly festivals. If you have a calm dog that is good with crowds, this is a fun summer activity.
Get a cup of coffee with your dog – Lucky’s and Civilization, both in Tremont, and Gypsy Bean are all good dog friendly spots for coffee lovers. So bring your dog along next time you want to sit outside with a cup of coffee.
Go camping with your dog – Many area campgrounds are pet friendly including Country Acres Campground in Ravenna, so you can bring your dog along for some hiking and star gazing.
Go to a drive in movie – Aut-o-Rama Drive In in North Ridgeville is always dog friendly, but for the last few summers they’ve hosted pet nights to raise money for local rescue groups.
Fundraise for a local rescue group – Rescue groups hold numerous events every year where you can help them raise money for their group and participate in a fun activity. Woofstock, Rescue Village’s annual fundraiser held in September and the Lake Humane Society’s Mutt Strut (Aug. 27th this year) are two good ones to keep your eye out for this year.
Join a pack with your dog – Cleveland Metroparks as well as many training groups hold regular pack walks. There are also many local hiking groups to get your dog out and enjoying the company of other dogs. Visit the Cleveland Metroparks website to find out dates. NEO Dobes hosts pack walks, find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NEOdobes/
Also follow Elite K911 and The Doggie Inn to find out about other pack events.
Dress your dog up and go to a Halloween party – Berea Animal Rescue Fund’s Monster Mutt Dash is your chance to dress up your dog up in a Halloween costume and run a 5K or participate in a 1 mile walk. Monster Mutt Dash also includes a fun Halloween after party. Here are some photos from the Monster Mutt Dash Hunter and I went to: https://dogsinthecle.com/monster-mutt-dash/
Get up to date on the latest in dog trends – The Cleveland Pet Expo will be Oct. 14th and 15th this year at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds. The event is dog friendly, so bring along your pup to see training demonstrations, try out new products and learn about local pet businesses.
Dress up your dog and join a parade – If you like to dress your dog up for Halloween, mark your calendar for the Spooky Pooch Parade in Lakewood in early October. People get very creative with the dog costumes, so it’s always an entertaining activity for you and your dog. Oberlin Doggie Doo and Pooch Parade is another fun Halloween event to check out this October.
Take a walk in one the best National Parks in the nation– GoPetFriendly.com ranks the Cuyahoga Valley National Park as one of the best dog friendly parks in the nation and I agree! Make sure you and your dog take advantage of this NE Ohio treasure, especially during the fall when it is at its prettiest.
Visit a castle with your dog – Not only is the North Chagrin Reservation in Willoughby Hills a really beautiful park, but you can take a trail that leads to a castle! It’s definitely worth a trip to enjoy the scenery with your dog. The trails around the reservation also have dog water fountains, which is always great for long walks!
Go see Santa Paws! Don’t miss your chance at the end of November and early December to get your dog’s photo taken with Santa. Here’s my favorite picture of Hunter and Roscoe with Santa Paws: https://dogsinthecle.com/category/santa-paws/
Go to a brewery with your dog – The Cleveland brewery scene is growing, and even better than the amount of new breweries opening is the amount of new dog-friendly breweries opening! One you definitely have to hit up with your dog is Sibling Revelry Brewery in Westlake. Dogs are always welcome there, so it’s a great spot to visit during the winter months when you want to get your dog out to socialize. Another brewery opening up this spring near Edgewater Park, Terrestrial Brewing Co., is expected to be dog-friendly as well.
Roadtrip with your dog to check out an indoor dog park – I would love a place where I could go play with my dog indoors when the weather is crappy, but unfortunately Cleveland doesn’t really have any options (only day care drop off options at Double Dog Day Care in Stow or Dog Stop Plus just outside of downtown). For now, you’ll just have to make a weekend trip of it and road trip down to Columbus with your dog to visit Tail Wags Playground. Hunter, Roscoe and I visited recently and it was a lot of fun. The staff is very friendly. Because they require every dog to be up to date on vaccinations and monitor interactions between dogs closely, this is a great alternative to the “anything goes” dog park atmosphere. Columbus also has lots of great dog friendly places too, read up on them here: https://www.bringfido.com/restaurant/city/columbus_oh_us/
Put your dog through an obstacle course – If you have an active, energetic dog, you may want to check out Agility. Canine University of Ohio and Cleveland All Breed Training Club are two area training facilities that offer classes.
Teach yourdog a new trick – Teaching your dog new tricks is a great winter time activity, and it’s even better when you can do it in a group setting with a trainer. Fortunate Fido, Canine Affair and North Coast Dogs offer a variety of classes to work on everything from puppy socialization and behavior issues to new tricks. Here are some fun trick ideas to try at home: https://dogsinthecle.com/category/trick-of-the-month/
Go swimming at an indoor pool – At the Barkley Pet Hotel you can reserve time in their pool to take your dog swimming! Another option for those who are further south is Healing Waters Canine Experience, which does water therapy for dogs but you can also schedule time to just have your dog swim in their indoor pool. Find out more at http://www.healingwaterscanineexperience.com
Certify your dog as a good canine citizen – If you are looking to teach your dog some manners, or maybe even want to find out if your dog has what it takes to be a therapy dog, sign him up for a Canine Good Citizen course. Most area training places offer classes to earn the certification. Hunter recently got his certificate through Fortunate Fido in Columbia Station!
Teach your dog to use his nose – Roscoe and I did a nose work class and it was so much fun! This is a great activity for fearful or aggressive dogs, since although it’s often done as a group class, dogs do the work on their own so they don’t have to interact with other people or dogs. All Dogs Go to Kevin in the Akron and Kent area has nose work classes as well as Canine Affair on the east side. You can read about Roscoe and I’s experience with nose work here: https://dogsinthecle.com/doing-work-nose-work/
Visit a nature center with your dog- Most Cleveland Metroparks that have nature centers allow dogs inside. Hunter and I like to make a stop at the Rocky River Reservation Nature Center on really cold days to get out from the cold for a little bit. Brecksville Nature Center also allows dogs inside to check out their nature center.
What is your favorite things to do with your dog?
Please note that some cities have Breed Specific Legislation in place. As wrong-headed as this law is, I would advise you not to bring a Pitbull into any of these cities. Lakewood, Warrensville Heights, Parma and Brook Park all currently have BSL laws in place.
I recently attended a Mind Games class at Fortunate Fido with Hunter to learn some new activities we could do at home. Although some of the activities were things that we already do, I learned a few fun new things to do at home on rainy days like today where we’ll be stuck inside for most of the day.
Since we are approaching the time of year where we’ll be stuck inside a lot on rainy days I thought I would share some of the activities that I learned as well as some other activities that are good ways to keep your dog busy indoors.
For this game you place treats in muffin holes and cover a few with tennis balls. You can make it easy to start them out and put the treats in the holes that don’t have tennis balls covering them. This allows them to build confidence as they get the treats out of the holes. You can gradually make it harder for your dog by adding balls to cover the treats so that they have to move the balls to get to the treat.
This activity teaches your dog to go around an object on cue. You can use cones or some other small object that they would have to walk around to get by. Set up the cone and lead your dog around the cone. Repeat this a few times, adding treats if you need to, and eventually add a verbal cue and move further away from the cone so that they are moving around it on their own. This is a great way to have your dog get some exercise and burn off energy in a small space.
Musical Sit and Downs
You’ll need someone else at home to play this activity. This is a great activity if you need to practice loose leash walking and get your dog to focus on you more on walks. Turn on some music and begin with your dog heeling. When the music stops, ask your dog for a sit or down. If you have more dogs at home to play this with, it can be a competition to see who can get in sit or down faster.
There are a lot of agility activities you can do at home by using furniture and other objects you have around the house. A few chairs and a blanket can create a tunnel, a broomstick on top of paint cans or buckets can make a pole to jump over, an old (small) ladder laid on the ground can be used to have your dog run through (just make sure all these things are secure and won’t fall over or hurt your dog). The Bark has some good ideas on how to create an indoor agility course for your dog: http://thebark.com/content/agility-training-exercises-your-dog-can-do-indoors
Every winter I search for fun things to do with my dogs indoors. You can only spend so much time teaching new tricks and hiding treats around the house. When you have an active, social dog like my dog Hunter you have to get out sometimes!
This winter Hunter and I are going to try some new indoor activities, and go back to some old favorites, to stay busy and stop ourselves from hibernating all winter long. Did you know your dog can still swim, visit a dog park and go to bootcamp even on the coldest winter days? Here are some things to check out to keep you and your dog busy this winter:
This past summer I discovered that Hunter loves swimming so I started looking into any indoor places he could swim during the winter. I finally found one! At the Barkley Pet Hotel on the east side you can bring your dog for a 20-minute swim session at their doggie pool for $25. Call the Barkley at 440-248-2275 for more info.
Indoor Dog Parks
I recently discovered a day care in the Cleveland area that is also an indoor dog park. At Double Dog Day Care in Stow you can pay $5 and bring your dog for an hour of play at their indoor facilities. Find out more here: http://www.doubledogdaycare.com/indoorrecreation.html
Grateful Dog Bakery and PetPeople host play groups, separate ones for small and big dogs, at their stores on various weekend dates. The next small dog play group at Grateful Dog Bakery in North Ridgeville is Jan. 17. Find out more info, here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1069585239741739/
I always have to put in a plug for Thank Dog NEO Bootcamp because Hunter, Roscoe and I love it so much. We only do it during the summer, only because it’s so far for us to get to, but it goes all year round, so you really should check it out: http://thankdogneo.com/Winter.htm
What do you and your dog do during the winter months to stay busy?
I call this “The Stare.” Hunter will do this when I’m home for a little bit and he decides it’s time for me to entertain him. Once he turns this on, I know I have to find something fun for him to do (yes, he has trained me).
In my continuous search for things to entertain him, I recently came across a couple of indoor playgroups (one thanks to a tip from a Facebook follower). Playgroups are the perfect activity if you have a dog like Hunter who craves social interactions. Since the groups I’ve come across are organized by size, this is also a great activity if you have a small dog you’re not comfortable taking to a dog park.
Mr. Social and I recently went to check out the two indoor playgroups that I know of, one at Grateful Dog Bakery and one at PetPeople. Here’s the low down on these groups:
Grateful Dog Bakery, North Ridgeville
This playgroup is for small dogs under 25 lbs only. Dogs play in the bakery’s back room, which isn’t a large space, but good enough for a group of small dogs to play with toys and sniff each other. On the day Hunter and I went he was the biggest dog (he’s 16 lbs), but it was a fun group and he made a friend in a Maltese-Pom-mix named Sandy. Sandy has the exact same play style as Hunter so they really hit it off.
There is a $5 fee for the playgroup and vaccination records are required on the first visit. The group is held most Sundays from 1-2, but check the calendar to confirm since they sometimes have other events: http://gratefuldogbakery.com/pages/calendar You will also need to call ahead to make a reservation for your dog.
Hunter and I just went to the PetPeople playgroup this past Sunday. The Strongsville Pet People hosts this free playgroup Sundays from 1-3 for small dogs (under 30 lbs) and large dogs from 3-5. There was only one other dog there on our visit, a super cute Maltese puppy named Lexy. Since it’s a larger space, it would be great for a few small dogs to run around in.
Have a bigger dog? See the comment below from Kelley. Double Dog Daycare in Stow offers an hour of playtime for $5. This is a popular playgroup for medium-to-large sized dogs.
According to their site, it looks like they also offer a 2 hour session where you can drop the dog off, which is great since I don’t usually see that option at a lot of daycares. Usually it’s just a full or half day for daycare. http://www.doubledogdaycare.com/services.html
Have you taken your dog to any other playgroups? Let me know! Hunter will want to check it out.
It’s time for the Trick of the Month from Robin at Fortunate Fido!
This is a trick that both dogs and people think is super-fun.
Roll out the Carpet!
Place a line of treats down the center of a yoga mat or throw rug or thick towel. Roll it up and ask your dog to “roll it.” Be sure there are enough treats at first that he sees them right away. That way, he is pushing the rug with his nose. When he has unrolled the whole thing and eaten all the treats, tell him “good boy” and give him another treat. Repeat this procedure, gradually putting the treats further apart until there is just one treat at the end. Be sure to continue to praise and treat at the end from your hand as well.
If he starts pawing instead of pushing with his nose, just prevent the mat from unrolling, and only let him be successful if he pushes with his nose. Put the treats closer together on the next attempt.
When this trick is perfected, you can ask for a sit or a down on the unrolled mat to create a chained behavior.
Have fun with this one. My dogs LOVE doing this trick. I hope yours do, too.
Robin Murray is a Certified Trick Dog Instructor. She enjoys teaching tricks classes and competing with her three dogs in agility, rally, obedience and nosework. Check out Fortunate Fido at www.fortunatefido.com
This month’s Trick of the Month from Robin at Fortunate Fido is a great winter activity to do with the whole family when you are stuck indoors.
Read on to teach your dog a new trick!
Here is a super fun trick to help you beat the winter blahs. Teach your dog his family members’ names!
This is a fun activity that you can do on family game, TV, or movie night.
Position family members apart from each other, each with a pocket full of yummy treats. A circle would be great if you have the space. One person has the dog with them to start, and then says “go see Bobby!” Bobby then (AFTER the original cue is given—this part is important), calls the dog to him and gives him a yummy treat.
Then Bobby says “Go see Suzie!” Suzy then calls the dog to her and gives him a yummy treat. Repeat with each family member multiple times. This will take a while to click, but dogs are good at anticipating what will come next, so after a while, he will connect that “Go see Bobby” means that Bobby has a treat for him. If he goes to the wrong person, that person will simply ignore him and not dispense a treat.
This game takes time, but it is loads of fun after the dog catches on. When he is really good at it, you can have family members farther away or in other rooms.
Have fun beating cabin fever and spending time with your dog!
Robin Murray is a Certified Trick Dog Instructor. She enjoys teaching tricks classes and competing with her three dogs in agility, rally, obedience and nosework. Check out Fortunate Fido at http://www.fortunatefido.com