Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Barks & Recreation: Red Bud Isle

HAHA yesssss! Red Bud!!
Dog parks. They get a bad rep from behaviorists and vets, but from Leo's many, many, many experiences, dog park days are the best days! Before taking him to the park, however, there are a few things to keep in mind. After all, there has to be a reason why some experts are a little wary of the whole idea.

Dog parks are a lot like playgrounds. They're buzzing with unadulterated joy and excitement, but rife with germs, and not always bully-free. However, so long as you are informed and alert during your time there, dog parks are a wonderful, fun, and often hilarious outlet for Leo's energy. NEVER take your puppy to a dog park if he has not received all of his shots. Also, puppies under 4 months tend to have a harder time at dog parks, as they are still learning the polite social norms of dog-on-dog interaction. Adults with less tolerance for rudeness will correct your puppy, and seeing that won't be the most pleasant experience. If you do bring a young puppy, be sure to keep him on a leash so he won't get into any trouble!

RED BUD ISLE - 3401 Red Bud Trail Austin, TX 78703

Red Bud is a gorgeous off-leash dog park off of Red Bud Trail and Scenic. Seriously. It's as if a fairy dogmother swooped down to make every dog's dream come true. There's water, shade, room to run, squirrels to harass (Leo's favorite hobby), and plenty of doggie playmates to meet and befriend. Even better? It's a peninsula, so it's completely surrounded by water...and you can rest assured Fido will not be running off. The only con is parking. Weekends are really hectic, but weekday mornings are great for mellow romps around the park!

You'll know you're in the right place when you see the giant Scoop the Poop shovel.
The park itself is beautiful. There are a lot of trees that provide shade during the summer and a lot of access points to Lady Bird Lake where dogs can swim. Leo actually learned how to swim here! The best places to learn are the first few access points from the parking lot. The first opening on the west side (the right) when you enter the park is perfect. Your dog can slowly inch his way into the water, and you can walk in with him. There's also an area on the east side. It will be the first on the left from the parking lot (behind the Scoop the Poop shovel). It's a little harder to see, but there's a rocky trail leading to the water. There will be another post later discussing teaching your dog to swim! :)

Red Bud isn't too big or small in my opinion. We usually take 3 laps around (with frequent stops to meet and chase/be chased by new friends). There's a little enclave further into the park where most dogs play. I have yet to meet a dog or owner who wasn't really friendly. At any dog park, I think it's important to understand that no dog is going to be best friend with every other dog they meet. Most owners are pretty responsible about keeping an eye on their pets. Not every dog is perfectly behaved, but the point of a dog park is to let dogs be dogs! They're free spirits, and they should be allowed to be themselves for a little bit so they can be on their best behavior back at home. :)

Let's play!
Chase buddy! 
Red Bud also has numerous little trails that you can discover with your dog. Many of them are in the shaded wooded areas that are full of squirrel-chasing potential.

Must...get...that bug!!!

Toward the end of the trail are some open swimming areas. You'll find a lot of wet dogs here! These access points are for dogs who truly truly love swimming. The stairs leading down to the water are pretty steep, so if your dog's okay with jumping into the water rather than wading in, then this is the place for him!

The trail ends at a rather eroded area, where the roots of the trees holding the peninsula together are clearly visible. Be careful around here! There are usually people fishing who do NOT like to be bothered by dogs. Also, the bait and hooks lying around are tempting items for dog's to put in their mouths, and that's a huge safety issue. If you see people fishing, save yourself some trouble and turn around.

Camouflage is my middle name!

After reaching the end, you can start looping back. There are a lot of other little trails and shortcuts that offer other places to wade/swim, dig, and meet new friends as you make your way back. Or if you're not in the mood to explore, just retrace the path you originally took!

Keepin' Cool
New friend??! 

After coming back to the park area, you and Fido can chill out in the park area. Here, there are benches where you can sit and plenty of sticks for him to chew on!

Yum. Stick-y...

Oh and don't come here wearing anything too fancy...the dogs get dirty, and they take sadistic pleasure in standing next to people when they shake off water and dirt.

Parking can be a hassle, as spaces are pretty limited, but usually people are coming and going, so you won't have to wait too long!! Hopefully you'll fall as much in love with Red Bud as Leo and I have. Happy playtime!!!!! :) :)

Off to another adventure!

1 comment:

  1. FANTASTIC article!! I hope Deus heals soon, can't wait to check this place outtttt :D :D and, of course, we can't forget Leo, the BEST canine swim instructor ever :)