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The Dog Days of Summer: A Dog Friendly Guide to Champaign County

July 22, 2020

Ask any dog owner, and they won’t tell you they live with a pet. Dogs are members of our family, and their presence is key to a lot of wonderful moments in our lives. Given the activity dogs crave, as well as the time with you that they value, it’s important to know the best ways to lead your dog to a happy life. Rather than offer training tips or a guide to great toys, we want to give you an overview of some dog-friendly activities and features of the greater Champaign County area so that you know all there is to enjoy with your four-legged friend. We’ll go over some places to play, food spots to which you can bring your pup along, doggie daycare options,  and training resources. 

Parks and Play Places

There are a ton of great dog parks in the greater Champaign County area, and many offer a variety of activities for any level of energy your pup might have. Dog parks are great because, when enclosed, they offer your dog the freedom they desire with the peace of mind you want for their safety.

At the Champaign Bark District, a purchase of the annual membership gets you access to nearly 7 acres of running room. A four-foot fence allows your dogs a place to move freely with their new friends. Daily membership for a test visit costs $5 if you’re trying to decide if its right for you and your dog. Luckily, if you do grab the membership, you also get access to the Urbana Dog Park at Perkins Rd. 10 acres allow your dog an insane amount of space, all fenced, and a wide variety of trees and meadow areas, as well as a spot for smaller dogs.

Many parks that aren't considered "dog parks" also allow you to bring a leashed companion. Be sure to check each park's rules and regulations before getting your little pup all excited! This includes Champaign Park District, Urbana Park District, and Champaign County Forest Preserve District locations. 


Local dog parks will only stay open if everyone follows guidelines for safe visiting. The guidelines from the CPD and UPD are great rules to follow, even when simply taking your dog for a walk at a local park or preserve. They include:

It's crucial to follow these guidelines to keep the dog parks open. Please follow these rules and practice social distancing and mask when passing others for optimum patron safety.

Doggie Daycare for Busy Days

Sometimes, a busy day is going to leave your fur baby alone and bored. In that case, doggie daycare can help keep them active and social while you are away. For a long time, boarding has been popular, but now a number of places offer day rates for your dog to go and play while you’re busy.

Angel Paws Pet Sitting and Grooming in Champaign is a great example, offering day rates for your dog, as well as overnight services. Some patrons leave their dogs a few times a week when they know work might get in the way, and grooming services are available as well. In-home care for cats is also an option for you if you have a feline at home! When entering Angel Paws, please wear a face mask and take collar and leash with you when you come for drop off and pick up.

The Pampered Pet Hotel also offers day rates, and for a particularly good boy or girl, you can get your dog a spa day! It's like going to the groomers, but with foot scrubs, teeth cleanings, and everything your dog needs to feel pampered! The Pampered Pet Hotel requires all visitors to wear a mask, and only one client is allowed inside the lobby at a time. They also ask that you please take your leashes and collars with you and bring them back for pick up.  Upon arrival, they will also take forehead temperatures. If you are feeling sick, please reschedule your appointment.

Training a New Member of the Family

A new puppy can be a handful. Not to mention, adopting an older dog with bad habits can be tough to handle. There are plenty of training options and obedience classes in the area, and a few favorites seem to be quite popular.

The Dog Training Club of Champaign-Urbana is popular all across Central Illinois, featuring everything from puppy training to agility and competition classes. The classes are currently in-person with social distancing and masks as well as online. Likewise, members of the club can train individually during scheduled times.

Another area favorite is the Mahomet based Ruff Dayz Doggie Daycare and Boarding. While also offering doggie daycare and boarding, a behavioral specialist can assist you in getting your pup ready for every adventure imaginable. They are currently not taking loose cash, so all tips must be delivered in an envelope to trainers and groomers. Check their website for specifics on when behavior training can occur. Please wear a mask when entering the building.

Treat Your dog to adventure and quality time

Your dog is more than a pet; they are family. Taking them with you on car rides is great, but these resources and parks in the greater Champaign County area allow them every bit of our #OutsideofOrdinary community that you enjoy.

Have a spot you love taking your dog we didn’t mention? Let us know on social media with a picture of your pup and the hashtag #OutsideofOrdinary so we can share! You can be featured just like the dog in our cover photo, Instagram user sirharoldmcflufferton!

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