Category Archives: Uncategorized

Save Off-Leash Space

New leaders will soon be elected for the East Bay Regional Parks including Redwood, Tilden, Point Isabel and 100+ more parks.  Come meet Board of Directors Candidate Audree Jones-Taylor, and hear what she has to say about dog owner access in the Regional Park system.

Saturday August 27  9:30-11am
Trudeau Training  Center

11500 Skyline near Redwood Road at Trudeau Training Center

text 510-417-9553 with questionsdogbeach


Where to Take Your Dog

Try visiting someplace new in Oakland with your dog. Check out our tab for dog parks and off-leash areas. If you haven’t been to Estuary Park a little south of Jack London, give it a try for un-crowded fields and a water view with plenty of free parking.  Map yourself to Jack London Aquatic Center and go to the left or south of their parking area. estuary3

Tucker Has Been Seen But Not Found

Call immediately if you see this black dog with big ears. He has been on the run since June 27 and has been seen in the hills above Montclair, near Skyline and Keller and near his home at 62 Avenue and Brann.  Melissa is desperate to reunite with her dog. Her phone is 510-381-728

2. Lost Dog tucker cropped.

Lake Merritt Dog Park Update

By Paul Vidican, ODOG Vice President

Last week, I angrily and publicly chastised Oakland Mayor Jean Quan for a lack of leadership on the Lake Merritt dog park issue. I was justifiably angry because after 13 years, thousands of hours of volunteer hours, and fundraising to create an area for dog owners who live in the densest part of Oakland—the Lake Merritt area—not one but two virtually-assured areas were abruptly made unavailable by the City. On Monday Mayor Quan,  after reading my attack on her,  graciously called me to personally discuss the issues and background information on what’s happening with finding space for people with dogs in Oakland, and what happened with the loss of Lakeview and Snow Park locations. From our conversation and her assurances, I have respect for her leadership on this issue of significant importance to such a large, diverse group of Oaklanders, and look forward to working with her. I now wish that I had spoken with her first before I wrote the letter. For that I want to apologize.



Comments Needed for Snow Park Project

Aerial Shot of Snow ParkThe Oakland Planning Department posted notice on Friday, seeking public comment on the proposed Lake Merritt area dog park at Snow Park. It’s imperative that we speak out for this project, and the need to have a safe, legal spot for people with dogs in Central Oakland. We know that most of you have written countless times — but please take 5 minutes to send an email today.

Send your email 

And, cc:

Start your letter with two important phrases:

  1. Please APPROVE the dog run at Snow Park
  2. A dog run at Snow Park adds to the livablity of the neighborhood and the city.

You can also include the following information:

  • Where you live
  • If you would walk to the dog park
  • If you would combine the visit to the dog park with other activities such a caring for kids, shopping, walk at the Lake

What Service Dog Really Means

Recently, KQED hosted a radio forum called “Is the Bay Area Too Dog Friendly.” It ended up being a bashing session for people to complain about a handful of irresponsible dog owners, and the perceived misuse of Service Dog status. ODOG invited T. Christina Jacobs, who is training Saxon, her Staffordshire Bull Terrier to help with her invisible disability, and works toward educating the public about service dogs, to write an article about service dogs, “fakers,” and what the law says about service dogs.
What a Service Dog Really Means
Saxon the Stafford service dog

Saxon practicing his leave-it skills.

By T.Christina Jacobs

There is a lot of information and misinformation out there about Service Dogs (SDs). Most people believe there is some sort of certification or license required for a dog to be a SD, many believe that SDs can only help people who are blind, many believe that dogs must be trained by an organization or program in order to be SDs, and many seem to think that SDs must be certain breeds in order to be legitimate. In reality, all of this is false. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), there is no nationally recognized license or certification required for SDs or their handlers, SDs can be trained to assist individuals with many different kinds of disabilities both physical and mental, individuals may train their own SDs and any breed (or mix breed) of dog can be a SD as long as the dog is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for his disabled handler.The ADA is written in that way in order to make it easier for individuals with disabilities to have access to SDs. Many people who need SDs may have financial troubles, which would make it hard to pay for a program trained dog (which can cost several thousand dollars out of pocket) or a licensing/certification fee. It is also more cost effective for some people to be able to use smaller breeds as SDs in order to save money on food and other expenses. The ADA specifically allows for owner trainers (OT) and doesn’t limit the breed(s) allowed to be SDs because the ADA is all about inclusion and allowing disabled individuals to have the best chance possible at a normal life.

Despite the ADA explicitly saying that an individual must be legally disabled in order to have a SD and the dog must be individually trained to do work and perform tasks in order to be a SD, there are people who take advantage of the public’s lack of knowledge about the ADA and fake SDs in order to gain access to public places with their (often untrained) pets. Despite this being illegal in most states, and morally wrong, it seems to be getting more common. “Fakers” (the term the SD community uses to describe individuals who don’t have a real need for a SD) can make life for people with legitimate SDs much more difficult. Businesses who have experienced poorly behaved dogs being passed off as SDs may be more hesitant to allow legitimate teams into their establishment, members of the public who were allowed to pet a dog being passed off as a SD may pet and distract a legitimate SD causing his disabled handler to become sick or injured, people may be frightened by a poorly behaved pet dog being passed off as a SD making them believe that all SDs are poorly behaved and something to be feared. For these reasons and more, faking a Service Dog is wrong and shouldn’t be done, no matter how well behaved a pet dog may be.

That said, we shouldn’t jump to conclusions that an individual is a “faker” because the person doesn’t “look disabled” or the dog doesn’t “look like a Service Dog.” As noted earlier, dogs of all breeds and sizes can be SDs and they can be trained to help individuals with many different disabilities. Many are not aware that SDs can successfully be trained to assist people with psychiatric and emotional disabilities as well as physical ones. There have been SDs trained for PTSD, Anxiety Disorders, Panic Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Schizophrenia and many others. As long as there is a limitation that a dog can be trained to help with, there’s a way to train a SD to help any disabling condition! It really is amazing.

If it is not apparent that the dog is a SD by looking, there are two questions that a business owner/employee may legally ask. 1. Is that a Service Animal required because of a disability; and 2. What work or tasks has the dog been trained to perform. One cannot ask for any proof of the person’s disability, the dog’s training or ask that the dog perform any of his tasks. There are countless different tasks that dogs can be trained to do to help disabled individuals. These tasks include picking up dropped items, retrieving medication, opening doors, pulling a wheelchair, interrupting compulsive behaviors, alerting to sounds, guiding a handler, and so much more. Providing comfort is no longer considered a valid task for a SD according to the ADA, though it can be a very helpful bonus. If you are not a business owner or employee, the handler is not required to answer any of your questions. If you are polite and friendly, she may be willing to talk with you, but may not have the time or capability to do so. Please understand that some disabled individuals with SDs may have a hard time communicating or may be anxious in social situations. If a SD handler does not wish to talk, please be respectful of her wishes. Also, please always ask before petting a SD and do not be offended if the handler declines. The dog is working and may not be able to properly do his job if he is distracted.

For more information about Service Dogs please visit or  For more information about the author and her Service Dog in Training, please visit

Should Oakland allow dogs in more parks?

Check out the proposal to make Oakland more dog friendly. Lots of improvements and some major gottchas…..such as assuming that dog parks should be in blighted areas, that dog owners should pay to use the parks and that current users have more rights to the parks than we do.

Contact us at odogparks at comcast dot net to receive a copy of the report and start reviewing it now.

ODOG East Bay Dog-Friendly Mapping Project

Map of Off-Leash Areas in the Oakland East Bay

Map of East Bay off-leash parks and trails, and dog-friendly bars and restaurants. Click to expand.

Last weekend at the Oakland CatVidFest, a very nice couple came up to the ODOG table. They just moved to Oakland from the East Coast, and suggested that we pull together a map of dog parks for our website. We thought that was a great idea! In addition to the few fenced dog parks in Oakland, we added in the great unfenced options. We also included a few of the dog-friendly bars and restaurants that we knew of. We’re pretty sure we missed some of each of those categories, so please let us know! Drop us a line if you know of any other off-leash parks or trails, or dog-friendly bars and restaurants.

Snow Park Supporters Needed April 10

We get a chance to tell the city what we want at the new dog park. Think about choices such as large/small dog areas or one big area; agility equipment; fence or no fence. Contact us at for meeting detailsCaleb the Corgi

Snow Park Brainstorm

The City is moving ahead with plans for a dog run at Snow Park near Lake Merritt. Join ODOG for an informal brainstorm to give them ideas for the best features for the new downtown dog park.

Saturday February 23
Snow Park at 19th & Harrison
Please contact for more information