The top 5 dog parks in the Summerville / Charleston, South Carolina Lowcountry

Written by

Chad Singer

Written by

Chad Singer

Chad’s mission is to help as many dog owners truly enhance their relationship with their dogs despite the issues that they may be experiencing.

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Dog parks are a great training opportunity for you and your dog.  Not only are there different states of energy inside of the dog park with the various canine personalities present in the park, but there is also consistent traffic moving in or out of the dog park if you are at the right location.  The best dog parks for training purposes also have plenty of room outside of the dog park for you to train around outside of the park fence line. This will help you effectively build up your dog’s focus and attention on you and what you are asking of them in the presence of the dog distraction.

Today we’re going to take a look at the top five dog parks in the Summerville and Charleston area of the South Carolina Lowcountry that provide the best environment for you to effectively train with your dog in order to build up engagement, socialization, and generalization of your behaviors.

#5: Ackerman Park – Dog Park

Located in the West Ashley area, Ackerman Park’s Dog Park is great for training due to the large amounts of open space throughout the area you can easily and effectively work on your “distance-to-distraction” (threshold) to the dog park over time and get in excellent repetitions of behavior before getting close to the fenceline of the dog park or dogs transiting to or from the park.  This park can be a little tricky for some people to find and doesn’t offer much else than open space and the dog park so we rank it number five on our list.

Get Directions to Ackerman Dog Park

#4: James Island County Park – Dog Park

Located on James Island, this county park offers a wide variety of areas for you to train, exercise, and play with your dog.  There are open spaces and walking trails in addition to the dog park.  The dog park at James Island County Park is fairly busy with dog and owner traffic into and out of the park which is great for working on walking by other dogs and engagement drills with other dogs moving around.  However, it is extremely difficult to work near the actual fenceline of the dog park itself due to vegetation growth at the fenceline.  You can easily work near the dog park entry / exit gate though.  Due to this reason, we rank it number four on our list.

Get Directions to James Island County Park – Dog Park

#3: North Charleston Wescott Park – Dog Park

Wescott Park is located on Dorchester Road near the North Charleston / Summerville line.  It offers a few walking trails and a few open areas that are great for training to include a small turf field.  The dog park is located at the back of the park complex and has a roundabout in front of the dog park entrance in addition to a large gravel lot next to the dog park.  There is also a small dog and large dog sections.  A small grassy area with trees outside of the park provides adequate training space and shade if it’s sunny outside providing a great spot to work on your down-stay. 

Most dog owners using the park transit from the gravel lot to the small or large dog section gateway. This allows you to work on passing by other dogs or having other dogs pass you while you work a down-stay.  The only downside to this park is its location for most people.  If you don’t live in the immediate area of the park it can take a little extra time getting there, so on our list, we rank it number three.

Get Directions to Wescott Park – Dog Park

#2: North Charleston Wannamaker Park – Dog Park

Located conveniently off of I-26 on University Boulevard near Trident Hospital and Charleston Southern University is Wannamaker Park.  Similar to James Island County Park, this park offers open space areas, big grassy fields, walking trails, and more.  The large fields are great places to practice your distance recalls and distance down-stays. 

The dog park itself has a walking trail in front of the park and a large grassy area running alongside the park making a perfect spot to work on Heeling, long distance recalls, and down-stay behaviors in the vicinity of the fenceline while also balancing your “distance-to-distraction” to help build up high levels of focus and engagement on you from your dog.  This is a great location to work on all of your desired behaviors with your dog and ranks number two on our list.

Get Directions to Wannamaker Park – Dog Park

#1: White Point Garden (The Battery) and Hazel Parker (East Bay) Dog Park

Number one of our list of dog parks in the Lowcountry area is located downtown Charleston and is a combination of two dog parks within close proximity to each other: White Point Garden (also known as “The Battery”) and Hazel Parker Park (also known as “East Bay Dog Park”).  White Point Garden is approximately five acres of grassy open space area with plenty of shade provided by the live oak trees present.  The entire White Point Garden is designated as an off-leash dog park and there are no fences here. 

There is limited space to balance out your “distance-to-distraction”, meaning that dogs could get too close to you and your dog based on the level of engagement and focus building you are at and the level of generalization you have done with your dog and other trained behaviors.  If your focus, engagement, and generalization levels are suitable this is the perfect location to proof intense dog distractions with your dog.  The park is usually busier around lunchtime and in the late afternoon / evening in addition to the weekend. 

Right down the road from The Battery, on the right near Waterfront Park, is the East Bay Dog Park.  This dog park does have a fenceline and there is a road running the length of the park and a parking area on another side of the park.  This provides plenty of room to train around the dog park and is especially good for working on Heeling behaviors while being able to balance “distance-to-distraction” with dogs in the dog park. 

This location is ranked as number one on our list due to the ability to walk with your dog throughout the area providing more exercise and also distraction work in addition to the dog parks themselves.  Because it is located in downtown Charleston it can be easily accessed by all surrounding areas: Mount Pleasant, Summerville, North Charleston, Goose Creek, West Ashley, Daniel Island, Johns Island, and more. 

For those who enjoy coffee or eating on patios with their dogs, there are plenty of options within walking distance for this as well.  This includes restaurants like Poogan’s Porch, Pearlz Oyster Bar, and Taco Boy (you can find more dog friendly Charleston restaurants we recomend here). Due to the intensity of distractions present in this location, it is not recommended to start your distraction work for dog distraction here, but this is a great place to proof it and ranks number one on our list.

Get Directions to White Point Garden

Get Directions to Hazel Parker Dog Park

Conclusion

Dog parks afford a great training opportunity for you to train with your dog around the actual park area and around dogs entering or exiting the park.  Be sure to follow strict training protocols in order to maximize success for you and your dog.  Once you begin your training session in these areas, don’t allow yourself to get distracted and not focus on your dog.  Prioritize your goals with your dog and as always keep your training sessions short and fun for you and your dog in order to accomplish your goals.

Check out our previous posts on How To Properly Socialize Your (Puppy) Dog to learn more about getting your dog comfortable interacting with other dogs and people. We also previously looked at Why It’s Important To Exercise Your Dog to strengthen the bond with your dog.

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