Take My Dog To the Park

by | Sep 19, 2023 | Articles | 0 comments

The Top 10 Parks to Practice Your Dog Training in Toronto

We are fortunate to have many Toronto dog parks in our area. Most are just a short drive away. I love to take my dog to the park for an off-leash walk in the ravine.

Have you ever asked when can i take my puppy to the dog park? As a professional dog trainer, I would advise you to consider several factors before taking your puppy to the dog park:

  1. Age: The appropriate age for taking your puppy to the park can vary depending on your puppy’s individual development, but generally, it’s safe to start introducing them to the park around 12 to 16 weeks of age. By this time, they should have received their initial vaccinations, including those for parvovirus and distemper. Consult with your veterinarian to ensure your puppy is protected against common diseases.
  2. Vaccinations: Ensure your puppy is up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations as recommended by your veterinarian. Core vaccines like parvovirus, distemper, and rabies are essential for your puppy’s protection in public spaces.
  3. Socialization: Socialization is crucial for your puppy’s mental and emotional development. Prioritize controlled socialization experiences with well-vaccinated, friendly dogs and people in safe environments before heading to a public park. Puppy socialization classes are an excellent way to start this process.
  4. Temperament: Understand your puppy’s temperament and behaviour. If your puppy is overly fearful, aggressive, or anxious, it may not be ready for the park. Consult with a professional dog trainer for guidance on addressing any behavioural concerns.
  5. Basic obedience: Ensure your puppy has a solid foundation in basic obedience commands like sit, stay, and recall (coming when called). These commands are essential for maintaining control and safety in a public park.
  6. Park environment: Before heading to the park, visit it yourself to assess its safety and cleanliness. Look for well-maintained fencing, a clean environment, and responsible dog owners.
  7. Supervision: Always supervise your puppy closely while at the park. Be prepared to intervene in any conflicts or situations that may arise.
  8. Start with off-peak hours: Consider visiting the park during off-peak hours when there are fewer dogs and distractions. This can help reduce overwhelm for your puppy.
  9. Gradual introduction: Start with short visits and gradually increase the time spent at the park as your puppy becomes more comfortable. Introduce them to new experiences and environments at a pace they can handle.
  10. Read your puppy’s cues: Pay close attention to your puppy’s body language and behaviour. If they appear stressed, fearful, or overwhelmed, it’s time to leave the park.

Ultimately, taking your puppy to the park should prioritize their safety and well-being. Consult a professional dog trainer or veterinarian for guidance specific to your puppy’s needs. Proper socialization and early positive experiences are essential for helping your puppy become a well-adjusted and confident adult dog.

Parks are fantastic places to practice dog training. You can strengthen Fido cues by adding more distractions. There are many benefits that you can’t get at home, like:

Recall: You probably have no problem with Fido coming when called when he is inside, but outside, it’s a whole other ball game. Bringing him to a park is a great way to reinforce the recall cue. Remember always to keep him on a leash until you get 100% compliance. You do not want him to learn he can run away from you at any time.

Sit/Stay: Getting Fido to focus on you while there are other things (people, dogs, birds, squirrels) can seem impossible. Going to your backyard is a great way to start small. Work on a solid sit-stay while the kids are playing in the backyard. Gradually, you can bring this cue to the park.

Watch me: This cue is great for getting your dog to focus on you right away. You do not have time to do a sit-stay, for example. Working from your backyard, you can slowly start using the cue on your walks and in the parks.

Social Skills: Your pup can practice social skills without getting too overwhelmed. You can let him play while keeping a long leash on him so he can keep him safe.

Take my dog to the park:

Baycrest Park

This park is quieter than most parks. This is not an off-leash park but offers some great space to do training. I keep a 30-foot leash on the dogs I am training at all times. This way, I can ensure the dogs are safe and can not run away. There is no fenced-in area.

Earl Bales Park

Earl Bales has a beautiful off-leash park; it has ample space with grass, but it can get very muddy during the fall and spring. If your dog is very social and loves to play, this is a great place to bring him.

You can teach him a sit/stay BEFORE he enters the park. There is also a beautiful walking path and a lot of surrounding ravine paths. Just remember dogs must be on a leash in those areas.

Ledbury Park

A small community park that is NOT an off-leash area but provides a great space for practicing your dog training. Many local dog owners hang out here, which can be a great way to find like-minded friends!

Sherwood Park

I love this park as I get to walk around the park with my dog, off-leash. There is a river that runs beside the park, so if your dog loves water, this park is for him! Great exercise for both of us!

Don Valley Golf Course

There is a small off-leash dog park on the west side of Young Street at York Mills. It has wood chips but can be a little messy during spring and fall. Many dog walkers go here: it can be a little intimidating for your puppy, but it’s great if you have a very energetic dog.

Sunnybrook Park

This large park has plenty of room for you and your dog to play in. There is also a designated smaller area just for small dogs. A  great option, as many small dogs are very fearful of big dogs. There is also fresh water available during the warming months.

G Ross Lord Park

I love this off-leash PARK. You can walk around and not feel like you are walking in a big circle—lots of space for your dog to play. The surrounding area offers some fantastic walks through stunning forests and ravines; keep in mind your dog must be on a leash.

Cedarvale Park

This park has a great open space for you and your dog. This park is very open (no trees), so you’ll be able to keep a close eye on Fido as he plays in the park. Alternatively, if you’re okay with keeping your dog on a leash, opt to explore the rest of the ravine – it’s one of Toronto’s best!

Cherry Beach

Even though my dogs come back full of sand, it is one of our favourite places. Dexter gets to run off-leash, play in the water and in the summertime, a great place to cool off. I feel like I am up north at a cottage!

This park has its own Facebook group

High Park

This park has everything! Lots of open space for you and Fido to explore. The area offers open spaces as well as a well-manicured path, which makes it easy to walk.



Taking your dog’s training on the road is a great way to refresh all of his cues, switch up the regular walk around the block, and get to see more of your City! Win-Win

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