By Darren Nelson feature writer for My Local Utah
As the summer heat begins to subside, your four-legged friends will be looking to stretch their legs outdoors more often. I’m speaking, of course, about man’s perennial best friend: the dog. Dogs can be a lot like kids, they need to get their energy out, and a good walk is a perfect way to do this. There are rules and a certain societal etiquette to follow when walking your dog. For instance, you can’t simply let your dog out the front door and let the pooch wander unsupervised around town. Everyone, including your dog, would prefer you join them on their walk about the neighborhood. Short or long, your dog wants your companionship. The following is a brief overview of the do’s-and-don’ts, the where-to-go’s, and, most importantly, the reasons why we walk our dogs.
There a plenty of good reasons to take your dog on a walk. Top reason is it is good your dog’s health. Your dog will live longer, eat better, and sleep better. Your pet will also develop better social skills in how he or she interacts with other people and dogs they are bound to meet along the way. By the way, both those reasons apply to dog owners too. Your own health will improve, and you might also make some new friends.
The best reason to walk your dog is to build your emotional and social bond together. We’ve been told all our lives that a dog will be your best friend. Any friendship should be a two-way street that takes effort and time from both parties. Dogs love attention, but most of all, they love your attention.
Think of every walk with your pet as an opportunity to build. Do this by interacting with your dog, taking time to practice different obedience commands, setting different paces to walk at, or changing sides your dog walks beside you. Talk to your dog and keep doing things that make your walk together interesting. Don’t waste your time together by only looking at your phone. I promise you; your dog thinks your phone is boring.
As you walk read your dog’s body language, gauge his energy level, and make sure he doesn’t need extra exercise. Use enough time focused on each other during these walks, and you’ll increase the connection you two share. You and your dog will learn each other’s cues more quickly and your walks together will constantly improve.
That brings us to the rules. Controlling your dog is not just a preference, it is a law in most places. Using a leash to control your dog is required for most cities and parks in Utah. Controlling is the important part. Not all people like dogs—hard to believe, but yes, they exist—and even dog lovers may not want to deal with your pet at any given moment. Not to mention when dogs come across other dogs, they might not interact well together. At those times, you’ll be glad you had a leash. So, be respectful of others and leash up.
Another rule is cleaning up after your dog. Dogs will be dogs and will instinctually mark their territory as they walk around. Not too big of a deal unless your dog chooses a flower bed owned by one of the aforementioned non-likers of dogs. No, the real concern is other calling cards your pet may leave behind. Always carry bags with you just in case you need them.
If your dog is aggressive or “nippy” be sure to tell people, the ones that love dogs, who approach and want to greet your dog. Otherwise, let your dog say hi too, dogs usually love attention and like to interact with other people and dogs. Just be cognizant of your own dog’s behavior and limits.
As a pet owner, you should also be aware that there are places you can and cannot go with a dog. (For the purposes of this writing, I am excluding service animals.) Watch for posted signs that either prohibit or welcome dogs in an area. Most trails and hiking areas in state forests and parks welcome dogs if said dog is leashed. However, National Parks, commonly have a “no dogs” policy.
Where to Walk
Sure, there are places where dogs are not welcome, but there are places you can go with your pet—including places specially set apart for dogs and their owners (we’ll get to those places in a moment). The best places to walk are usually the ones close by like your own neighborhood or local parks, but maybe a longer adventure is better.
Dogs love trails, and we have a bunch of them throughout the state that welcome dogs and their owners. Most communities have provided and paved walking trails, some cover short distances, while others can be extensive. Leash laws still apply. The Jordan River Parkway in Salt Lake County is one of the longer trails you can take, stretching from West Jordan in the south to North Salt Lake in the North. This park mostly follows along the Jordan River but has offshoots eastward to other parks and towards the airport. Just north of the Jordan River Parkway is the Legacy Parkway trail stretching all through southern Davis County.
In the northern stretches of Davis County, you will find several paved trails of varying lengths, such as the Kays Creek Parkway, the Bamberger Trail, and the Weaver Lane Trail. The further north you will find the Ogden River Parkway trail, this trail is over 4 miles long and is mostly paved.
Down south, in the St. George area, you can try out the City Creek trail on the north side of St. George City. South of the city you will find the Riverside trail along the Virgin River.
Special Dog Events
Sometimes a good dog walk is not enough. If you want to go the extra mile with your pup, here are a few options to look at:
Draper Bark in the Park
When: August 26, 2022, 5 – 8 pm
What: A celebration for dogs and their owners! This is a come-and-go event where dogs will enjoy a toy & snack, paw print crafts, photo selfie stations, music, pet-related vendors, food trucks, and much more! Admission is FREE.
Where: Galena Dog Park, Draper
Dog Walk Wednesdays
When: Every Wednesday through Oct 12, 2022, 10 am–8 pm
What: Four-legged friends are welcome at Ashton Gardens (and Dinosaur Island) every Wednesday. Pups must be well-behaved and on a leash. Dog Walk Wednesdays is included with Ashton Garden admission or with Thanksgiving Point membership.
Where: Thanksgiving Point, Lehi
Dog Days of Summer
When: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, May-October
What: Enjoy dinner with your dog at Log Haven’s Amphitheater
A limited-time drink menu will be offered in honor of Dog Days and will include:
Salty Chihuahua (includes vodka, grapefruit juice, agave syrup
Melon-Collie Mojito – rum, midori, lime juice and mint ).
Call 801-272-8255 for a reservation.
Where: Log Haven, Millcreek Canyon
Doggy Heaven – Off Leash Dog Areas
Finally, places where dogs are not only allowed, but encouraged to be leash free. The following parks are either completely leash-free or have designated off-leash areas:
Salk Lake City
- Cottonwood Park, 1580 W North Star Dr, Salt Lake City
- Herman Franks Park, 750 1300 S, Salt Lake City
- Jordan Park, 1060 S 900 W, Salt Lake City
- Lindsey Gardens Dog Park, 9th Ave & M St, Salt Lake City
- Memory Grove (Freedom Trail), 375 120 E, Salt Lake City
- Parley Nature Reserve, 2700 Heritage Way, Salt Lake City
- Pioneer Park, 350 S 300 W, Salt Lake City
- Rotary Glen Dog Park, 71 Emigration Canyon Rd, Salt Lake City
- Tanner Park (Pond Area), 2740 S 2700 E, Salt Lake City
Salt Lake Valley Area
- Dayland Dog Park, 13400 S 300 E, Draper
- Draper City Dog Park, 13450 S 300 E, Draper
- Draper Galena Hills Dog Park, 12452 S Vista Station Blvd, Draper
- Magna Regional Park, 4042 S 7200 W, Magna
- Millrace Off-Leash Dog Park, 1200 W 5400 S, Taylorsville
- Sandy Dog Park, 9980 S 300 E, Sandy
- West Jordan Dog Park. 5982 New Bingham Hwy, West Jordan
Park City / Heber Area
- Heber City Dog Park, 254 W 650 N, Heber City
- Midvale Union Park, 7360 S 700 E, Midvale
- Millrace Park Dog Park, 1255 Park Ave, Park City
- Run-A-Muk Dog Park, 3399 Olympic Pkwy #1759, Park City
- Willow Creek Pond. 4460 Split Rail Ln, Park City
- Valais Dog Park, 1070 Interlaken Dr, Midway
- Barlow Dog Park, 1997 S 525 W, Syracuse, UT 84075
- Bountiful Brickyard Bark Park, 250 W 1050 S, Bountiful
- Ogden City Dog Park, 2450 A Ave, Ogden
- South Ogden Dog Park at Club Heights, 4150 S Palmer Dr, Ogden
- Rendezvous Park Off-Leash Dog Park, 1500 US-91, Logan
- The Barking Lot, 88 S 950 W, Brigham City
- Merlin Olsen Central Park (Through Tunnel), 101 E 100 S, Logan
Utah Valley Area
- American Fork Dog Park, 678 E 500 S, American Fork
- Bicentennial Dog Park, 1489 E 1440 S, Provo
Central / Southern Utah
- Dog Town Park, 450 S 200 E, Washington
- Enoch PetSafe Dog Park, 6347 N 650 E, Enoch
- Fire House Dog Park, 1800 N Dixie Downs Rd, St. George
- Goosenecks State Park, UT-316, Mexican Hat
- Hurricane Dog Park, 750 N 300 W, Hurricane
- JC Snow Dog Park, 900 S 400 E, St. George
- Love’s Travel Stop, 2645 Canyon Ranch Dr, Cedar City
- Love’s Travel Stop, 1810 Main St, Green River
- Love’s Travel Stop, 1915 South State Street, Salina
- Moab Bark Park, 300 S 100 E, Moab
- Richfield Visitor Center, 1149-1101, UT-120, Richfield