Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The free open spaces, enclosed by a safety barrier or fence is the perfect place for dogs run around  and exercise. The dog runs and parks are a safe haven from traffic congestion and neighborhoods that may not be a friendly atmosphere for pets and their owners. The dog runs give the owners a chance to take the leash off their dogs and watch them get together with other breeds and mingle with new doggie friends. There are some great choices in the Pittsburgh region to let the dogs roam after the winter season and a better chance to stretch their legs and it doesn’t matter if its on leash or off, the dogs will have an opportunity to feel free and have some fun with their owner.

North Park
303 Pearce Mill Road
Allison Park, PA 15101
(412) 935-1766

North Park is part of the Allegheny County Park system and dogs can run free in a fenced area without worry of mingling with the bustling traffic inherent to all the recreational activities available. The park can be found by going north from downtown Pittsburgh and exiting off Rt.8 and make a left turn at the light onto Wildwood Road. There is a large area to accommodate all dog breeds and after a few runs, the socialization process for both pets and owners make for a comfortable experience. Be sure to bring doggie bags  just in case the bag dispensers aren’t readily available, or a pooper- scooper will make the area more pleasing and healthy. The beauty and natural setting of the park may be just what the owners and pets will need to stretch out and get some much needed exercise from the snow and cold temperatures of the winter season. As an alternative, owners may choose to use the paved area or trails, but must be on leash and what a great way to jog or walk along to enjoy the scenery.

Lucky Paws Resort
2273 Lovi Road
Freedom, PA 15042
(724) 728-1484

Dogs will get the best of two worlds with an inside and outside facility. Owners can relax on benches and watch their dogs socialize in a safe environment, and then take a breather from a long run and meet at the water fountain for well deserved drink. Along the way, there are obstacles  and tunnels to traverse for a well-rounded workout. In case of inclement weather, the dogs can frolic on safe flooring in the indoor park or do some fancy tail wagging to some special doggie music. Lucky Paws is located off Rt.19 in Cranberry, then a turn to Freedom Road and a short distance to a stop light and right turn onto Lovi Road.

Point State Park
101 Commonwealth Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 471-0235

Dogs and their owners will have a special historical excursion frolicking on the grounds at Point State Park and the open area has enough space to enjoy spectacular views of the city and rivers. It is best for on-leash experiences, but once the dogs get their bearings, the owners can run or jog for some vigorous exercise. There are paths and runs along the river or on the paved regions that surround the park. Just look for the Point and the fountains and explore the river traffic and experience all that Pittsburgh and Point  State Park has to offer. There are enough trees and grassy areas and that means owners should bring a doggie bag or pooper- scooper to help make for a clean and safe area to enjoy. Don’t forget to bring the camera for a memorable photo and try out a new trail, and that will make for a perfect day for both pet and owner.

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Misty Pines Dog Park
2523 Wexford Bayne Road
Sewickley, PA 15143
(412) 364-4122

Dogs needing to find a perfect place for a unique facility to run amuck, then Misty Pines will be that park for them and their owners. A short jaunt off Rt. 79 North at the Wexford exit is the direction to take for the dogs of all shapes and sizes to get an extreme workout in a fenced- in area. There is a playground with obstacles and training facilities that looks like the next step of preparation for the next Doggie Olympics. If the dogs need a cooling off period, then a splash into the pond will feel like an exhilarating spa experience. Be sure to check all the rules regarding prices and policies to ensure proper identification and information for each dog.

Highland Park
Pittsburgh,PA 15210

Highland Park is a viable asset to the City of Pittsburgh Parks & Recreation Department and a great way for owners to take their dogs for some fresh air and exercise. The park has trails and paved areas to walk, jog or run with their pets while experiencing the fabulous vistas within the park and a glorious fountain. Highland Park is within a short distance of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and multi-faceted neighborhoods, and there is a veritable playground of activities for the owners and their furry friends. The dogs should be on leash and the plants, foliage, gardens, babbling brooks and the natural settings within the park form a bond between owner and pet. There are a host of activities to pursue after the dog run, and the opportunity to use the swimming pool, ball fields, hiking and biking trails serve as a return to the park for more adventures.

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Gerry Cernicky is a retired health and physical education teacher with 36 years of experience. He is a former teacher of the year and a sports writer for the Vandergrift News. He delivers podcasts, and maintains a website and blog. He currently resides in Pittsburgh. His work can be found at