Dear PoP – Question for Dog Owners


“Dear PoP,

I recently became the proud owner of a wonderful Lab, my first dog in my adult life. She’s very well behaved and loves people but not so fond of her fellow canines. I don’t have a lot of outdoor space and would like to take her out for more than a walk on the sidewalks of Columbia Heights. She only likes the dog park a Park and 11th when she’s the only one there which isn’t too often. I was wondering if your readers could suggest some dog friendly parks, cafes and other neighborhood public places where I could take her, especially now that the weather is going to get cooler. BTW, she loves to go to Eastern Market on Sundays.”

Hmm, I’m curious what others offer but I know their is a new dog park coming to 17th and S, there is also one at 11th and R and another in Adams Morgan in the park right after the Ellington Bridge. Where do other folks like to take their dogs?

41 Comment

  • The writer would be doing a service to self and dog by investing in some professional training. A good trainer will train YOU to train your dog, since it’s an every day sort of process.

    I’m sorry I can’t recommend any dog-free spots for your dog (I don’t currently have one) but I hope you will take advantage of the eager-to-please, malleable personality of the lab and help her to get more comfortable around other animals.

  • There is dog-sh*t park in AM on Columbia Rd and Belmont, I really don

  • We really like Rock creek Church Cemetery. Dogs on leash. But occasionally he jumps off and has a bit of a run. Learn to go during non-mourning hours. Usually crappy weather days are a good bet.

  • @Dog walker: When are mourning hours at RCC? I never knew there were such designated times.

  • I don’t understand the question. Are you asking for places that are dog friendly, but also where your dog won’t have to interact with other dogs? Or for places that are dog friendly where there are other dogs so you can work to socialize her?

    Either way (and I’m happy to offer suggestions for whichever category you’re asking about), I agree that you should get some training. Olde Town School for Dogs (in Old Town) is really good (pricey, but they really are the best and offer a variety of classes suited to your and your dog’s needs) and Dog-Ma on the Hill also has a great training program.

  • Wow I was going to give the douche of the month award to Paul wolfowitz but I think anon@ 3:09 just edged him out. The key for your pup is socialization. The more he’s around other dogs at an early age the better. I don’t live in that part of town so I can’t recommend a dog park but barracks row down by Easter. Market is very dog friendly, as is old town Alexandria if you don’t mind the trip. an obedience class is a good Idea to let the dog meet some other puppies as well.

  • The more you hide your dogs from other dogs, the more it’s going to hate it’s own kind. I’m with WDC, invest in training.

    I don’t know your situation, but for starters don’t let the dog walk you…I don’t have a dog right now, but grew up with them. If you walk your dog and it is always ahead of you, it has a pack leader mentality…meaning it thinks it commands you and will almost try to dominate other dogs it runs in to. Also,bid you go to a dog park and other dogs are around, always let it off the leash. Dogs become more agressive when they can’t investigate and sniff.

    I’ve had labs in the past and they are sone of the most dog friendly and usually enjoy socializing.

  • There are none officially but you learn that there tends to be certain times.

    Weekends for one, Sunday after church is a big one. Then weekday afternoons but they usually don’t stay real late. Kinda of a pop-in mourn.

    The place closes at dusk.

    Then there are the historical mourners: adams memorial, upton sinclair, gilbert grosvenor (Nat’l G.), Gore Vidal’s partner, somewhere Tim Russert. These folks don’t seem to mind the dog walkers.

  • Some dogs just aren’t that into hanging out with other dogs. My dog (also a lab) tolerates other dogs but gets fed up after awhile. We’ve taken him to trainers/behaviorists and it’s not a big deal, some dogs just prefer to be with their people.

    Anyway, if your dog is good off-leash it is fun to run them around Cardozo high school (after school hours). If you require a fenced area, the old Meyer school at 11th and Clifton has a fenced-in area in front. Good luck!

  • The arboretum is nice and huge and green and not crowded w/people or dogs most of the time…

  • There is an unofficial dog park on Eckington Place between Florida Ave and R St NE, two blocks east of North Cap. It is a huge mostly fenced in lot that is slated to be developed, but there has been no action for ages. . .
    And it is really huge. Dogs can hang out with other dogs, if there happen to be others around, or you can move away from other dogs easily. . .

  • There is a large fenced field next to the main Fedex building in Eckington, in NE a couple blocks from North Capitol. To get to it, take Florida Ave heading east (from NW), and turn left onto Eckington Place at the corner where XM Radio and the big Fedex building are.

    I have a newly adopted dog as well and have found that to be a good place for him to run around, occasionally meet other dogs, and to also have lots of space.

    Wear bug spray.

  • I’ve had a pure-bred since she was a puppy and she’s quite well-socialized and well-behaved. Nonetheless, people sneer and judge since she was bought from a reputable dog breeder instead of rescued from a backyard-breeder via the dog pound. But folks are unbelievably sympathetic to you and your aggressive dog. It’s so hard for me to comprehend.

    Anyway, my advice would have been to make an investment in a well-bred puppy whose breed fit your personality instead of winding up with an anti-social rescue dog. But since that’s not possible, I suggest socializing your dog. It’ll take some work, but you can train your dog to behave how you want it to behave. If you don’t want to pay for a dog trainer, there are ample books available that can help you help your dog.

    Good luck.

  • I suggest a muzzle and being stern with your dog when it shows aggression. You’ll see behavioral improvements very quickly. Other dog owners are more patient than you might think — especially if your dog is wearing a muzzle. It’ll be a better world for both of you if your dog can socialize.

  • @anon 3:55: WOW. WOW. WOW. I suppose we should just put down all the rescue dogs that need homes (and are possibly so loving and sweet but have some issues with other dogs) and go to the puppy mills! My rescue dog was fine with some training, but yes, he had some issues with other dogs at first. Am so glad I didn’t take the backwards advice of someone like you and dump him for a “well bred” dog.

    I sneer in your direction. But good luck with that “well bred” dog of yours.

  • Can the dog owners at the 11th Street dog park please, please, please start cleaning up after your dogs! It smells so bad there now when I walk by I start to gag. You can even smell it across the street at the pizza place. Scoop your damn poop!

  • There’s a fenced in grassy area at Allison and Arkansas Streets, NW (part of the Upshur Park) that is currently an unofficial dog park slated to be redone into an official dog park.

    There is a good sized group of dogs there around 6-8 weeknights, but it’s pretty much empty most other times. It would be a good place to take your dog outside of the after-work hours for a place for her to play and run off-leash without other dogs.

    I don’t know why people are being so jerky here. Some dogs just prefer people. They all have different personalities just like us.

  • @voiceofreason I agree that some people slack off on cleaning up after their dogs, but I think the real problem is the waste festering in the park’s garbage cans. I have no idea how to fix that though…sorry!

    Overall, I’ve been really impressed with the people and dogs who visit the park. Friendly and people seem pretty willing to let the dogs-be-dogs. Our (mutt!) dog always enjoys himself there although he’s much more on the people/fetch side of the continuum rather than playing w/ other dogs.

  • I’m somewhere in the middle of the great anon dog debate. Not all dig breeders have to be puppy mills. My patents bred boxers for years and they were awesome dogs — never more than 2 litters/year.

    But I’ll say this: raising a puppy from 8 weeks is a lot harder than training out some dog-to-dog aggression in a rescue dog. I think it’s a personal choice. One isn’t morally superior to another. All dogs need homes.

  • Dogs not digging other dogs has nothing to do with their breed. That’s the silliest thing i’ve ever heard.

    Also, the writer never said that the dog was aggressive, just that he is “not so fond of other dogs.” All dogs don’t have to love other dogs, just like all people don’t love other people – or, shockingly, some people don’t like dogs. Why bring your dog somewhere for his/her benefit when they don’t like it!?

    I have a basset hound (purebred who i’ve had since he was 12 weeks) who is also not so fond of other dogs. He’s not aggressive, but just doesn’t like them. and can be loud about it sometimes. My advice is to check out some of the places mentioned (we love Rock Creek Church Cemetary).

    And other than that… get a house with a yard for your pup to have to himself. My dog loves his yard!

    Good luck!

  • Sure, 3:55, because “breeding” is such a terrific indicator of quality. It’s because of professional breeders that we have all these behavioral and health problems in previously sturdy, gentle dogs. Goldens are getting high-strung and snappish, 1 out of 3 german shepherds has hip displaysia, and collies are one step up from plant intelligence (because they bred all the brains out in order to get that long pointy nose). Don’t even get me started on the waste of space that is the designer purse dog.

    Dog breeders, especially those that cater to the AKC physical standards, are the problem.

  • A small crowded dog park can be intimidating to any dog. Dog parks with lots of “regulars” are especially difficult as pack order has already been established and the new guy may exhibit fear aggression.

    Try meeting up with a couple of other gentle dogs in an open neutral space. The big field at picnic area #1, across from Pierce Mill in Rock Creek park is great. (Yes, I know off-leash is illegal – be considerate and aware.)

    Annon 3:55 – no one is judging you for your pure-bred you don’t need to be nasty to those who choose differently. Plus your idea of where rescue dogs come from (“backyard-breeders”) is just wrong. Most are from stupid people failing to spay or neuter, having bad fences and then just – well, nature.

    Annon 3:09 – 95% of dog owners would never let their dogs lick, jump on, sniff crotch or otherwise bother a stranger. I don’t know which cafes you’re going to, but most in DC don’t even allow dogs on the patio. For the occaisonal unchecked animal – just use your words! “I’m allergic/I don’t like dogs – please keep your dog away. Thank you.”

    And a note in general – if you are walking your dog on a leash on the sidewalk and you see someone else approaching with a dog in the “heel” position, please don’t let your dog charge over in what you think is a friendly greeting. To the well trained, but still leash aggressive dog, that is a threat and a challange. Please heel your own dog and pass with control – thanks!

  • Has your dog been spayed yet? That makes a difference in some dogs, that they lose some pack thinking with reproduction out of the picture.

  • The fenced in dog parks generally aren’t empty, unless you go really early in the morning or late at night, or if you just happen to get lucky.

    Unfortunately, especially if you live in the city and your dog isn’t particularly dog-friendly, you will need to keep her on a leash. I am a dog owner, but I think all dogs should be leashed if they are out and walking about – I know, I know, your dog is really well-trained/old/slow/would never hurt a fly – but it can be upsetting to other leashed dogs to encounter an unleashed dog, and harder for walkers to stay in control of the situation.

    I highly recommend Rock Creek Park trails for a really fun and adventurous walk. You can get really long leashes that will give your dog a greater sense of freedom, and still allow you to remain in control if you encounter other dogs or stimulants (my dog goes crazy when a horse comes down the trail).

    While I second the training suggestion, I think its really important to be aware of your own dog’s limits. My dog is trained – but there are certain situations where that adrenaline just spurts into his brain before I am able to act. If your dog has certain issues – and most do, even when trained – its most important that you make sure you act accordingly.

  • @Anon 3:55: Wow you are making a lot of assumptions there. I don’t see anywhere in the original question where he/she says they rescued the dog. It could of been bought it from a “reputable dog breeder”. Sounds like you have some issues going on…

    For the record, living in Georgetown, I come across plenty of breeder dogs that are quite “aggressive”. Also, behavior that most people qualify as “agressive” really isn’t. Dogs playing aint a pretty sight – it can get pretty rough.

  • I love dogs, but the majority population don’t like dogs. There is a park where you can take your dogs to play every 4th friday from 10:00 p.m. to 5:am hit me on yahoo if you are interested.

  • Vick. Just- wow.

  • Now, let me attempt to answer the actual question.

    My dog is something like yours- he couldn’t give a crap about other dogs, and would rather stare at me ackwardly and sit there. So I take him to the patios of Stoneys (14th and P), Red Rocks (11th and Park), The Heights (14th and Kenyon/Park), and we often walk down the street to Big Bear for coffee (1st and R). I also take him to the mall and play frisbee (I throw the frisbee, he stares at me ackwardly and sits, I go get the frisbee, repeat). We walk around Logan a lot- there are dogs with which to “socialize” (say hello with a smell of the butt) but not to play. We visit the Shaw dog park while its raining or when it’s dark out and the pickins are slim (I sit on the bench and read, he stares at me ackwardly). I’ve also looked up the list of closed elementary schools (in the news last year some time) and gone to their fields… they keep them mowed, as it turns out. I also got him certified as a therapy dog, and on weekends we visit the Armed Forces Retirement Center and a few retirement homes and hospitals in the city (he stares at me ackwardly while the old peeps pet him). I’d say try taking your dog with you many places, see where you can take her and where you can’t, and go from there. It’s all trial and error.

  • This is an unrelated question, but since dog-smart people are here, I thought I could squeeze it in. Sometimes I see people walking their dogs and the dog has what looks like a single light strap across the top of its muzzle. It’s not tight, and it doesn’t look like it could really prevent the dog from biting if it wanted to, but I wasn’t sure if maybe it’s is indeed some kind of muzzle, or a training aid.

  • @Christina: That sounds like the “gentle leader.”

    It’s not a muzzle, but a device that pulls the dog’s nose down when s/he pulls. Basically it’s supposed to be a “gentle” way of correcting a dog that pulls while on leash, but it’s not a muzzle. I tried it on my pup when she was young, but she hated it and it didn’t work out.

    As for a place for the pup, I would also recommend Rock Creek Park. That place is amazing for dogs. They can swim in the creek and play in the field and on the trails. One of our favorite places in the city.

  • That’s it! Thanks Animal Mother. It’s one of those things I’ve always wondered.

  • What happens to the urine at the dog park at 11th & R? Does it get absorbed in the gravel without a smell?

  • Reba and voiceofreason: I suggest you contact Councilmember Grahamstander about the garbage pick up around the dog part on11th. As that’s not an official DPR dog park, I’m not sure what the arrangements are for emptying the cans in and around it, but it’s the Grahamstander’s baby, so you might want to turn to him for help.

  • I really don’t understand where the breeding talk and “dog snoberry” came from, the original post was pretty straight forward, posters went way too far on a tangent. Get a zip car and take your dog to Quiet Waters park in Annapolis, it’s a dog beach, awesome for a lab. We have a bulldog that has learned to swim there, offers great freedom. In the city, Shaw park and Adams Morgan park are great, Lincoln Park also offers a great experience. Anacostia Park is right on the water and there’s an indoor park up 16th.
    Just because a dog isn’t enormously interested in other dogs doesn’t mean they aren’t socialized, maybe the other dogs suck (especially at 11th and Park) because the owners haven’t trained them and I suspect some crazy electric current there (metro) due to all the dog fights that occur. Your dog’s probably cooler than other dogs, take it out for a drink at wonderland, and dog contest at 10:30 tomorrow for Columbia Heights Day. Dogs are awesome, relax folks.

  • This is a PSA.

    When you are at the park. Please do not scream at your dog in a shrill voice at the TOP OF YOUR LUNGS every MF morning!! I am already up at that hour and I dont need any help. If you are too lazy to train your dog that is no reason to scream it to everyone in the neighborhood.

  • The Rock Creek Church Road Cemetery is a nice place to walk your dog. It is usually pretty empty and the shade of the trees makes it a really nice place. There are tons of different paths so you can change up your route.

    Also, there is a park in College Park off of route 1. I wish I knew the address, but I think you can google search dog parks and it will come up. I don’t go to the dog park there, but right in that same park there is a running path that runs along a creek. I sometimes take Charlie down to the creek to let him swim and play frisbee.

  • Gotta agree about the training. Our pals had a dog that needed training – they were in denial about it – until he bit two kids.

  • I asked PoP the original question and appreciate all the positive responses. Despite the assumption many respondants made, my lab does not need any more training, she just doesn’t like the aggressive nature of most other dogs at the dog park. We go in, she sniffs some butts, gets accosted and wants to leave. She’s a very gentle dog that loves humans and respects those that don’t care for dogs. Thanks to everyone for the suggestion of Rock Creek Cemetery, I didn’t know it was a dog friendly place, I will take her there. Also thanks for the suggestion of Quiet Waters park in Annapolis, it sounds perfect for her since she was born and raised on a small farm along the Chesapeake. HouseInTheRear, I would love to know how you got your dog registered as a therapy dog, this is her calling and would be perfect for her. Do you take your dog to Walter Reed? Please let me know how I can contact you.

  • Nuggetz: zipcar requires pets in carriers at all times. can’t just throw the pup in the car and head out to the beach. (see “6 simple rules” in Zipcar 101)

  • if you want a wonderful experience, register your dog in the k-9 corps at the congressional cemetery on capitol hill. the dogs can run off leash over the many acres. it’s not free, and it’s members-only (your dog will get a member ID tag to wear on his collar), but you can walk on the paths and learn a lot about history while fideaux romps around with or without other doggie pals.

    the second best place is the doggie swimming hole at Rock Creek Park.

    our dog comes home well exercised and happy after visits to either place. since he’s a big hound, he needs to run every day.


    There are probably people in our news group who can answer
    questions like this.

    WRZ ……
    ccdogpark at …..

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