Community Post

The Problem with Blue Dog Park

While we have an off-leash dog park in our neighborhood, I rarely utilize it. First, it is literally a hole carved out of a hillside and therefore when it rains, it becomes a catchment system for collected rainfall and run-off. One day of rain and the park is a mud pit that doesn’t dry out for weeks.

Because of the amount of standing water and some park users refusal to pick up after their dogs, it has become a cesspool for bacteria — specifically giardia easily transmitted to dogs who simply walk through an infested puddle. I have known a number of dogs who have suffered through giardia and that alone has kept me from the park when it is the least bit wet.

Next, a number of professional dog walkers often take their dogs to the park in large packs. While 3-6 dogs in a pack is understandable, I’ve often seen vans crammed with 15-20 dogs barking excitedly off-load at the park. There are times when I’ve seen 2-3 of these vans all at once, easily filling the park with 30-40 (or more) dogs. While I understand the need to make a living, when such large packs run in the park, it’s difficult for a dog-owner to enter with one dog. That dog is often seen as a target of the larger pack and it can quickly become dangerous and deadly for the lone dog.

I realize people have worked hard to clean up (and dry up the park), but the location and size of the park limits any efforts to make it a safe, friendly, and accessible place for neighborhood users. I also realize very little will change in terms of location, but it would be wonderful if park users could follow some basic rules of courtesy.

  1. Clean up after your dog (in the park and outside of it)
  2. Limit the number of dogs you bring to the park at once realizing that the larger your pack, the more powerful their influence is on each other.
  3. Exercise your dog BEFORE you go to the park. I realize this may seem counter intuitive, but dogs who have not released their excitement through exercise, bring that excitement into the park and often unleash it in inappropriate ways.

Thank you for your efforts in this area.

0 thoughts on “The Problem with Blue Dog Park

  1. “First, it is literally a hole carved out of a hillside and therefore when it rains, it becomes a catchment system for collected rainfall and run-off”.

    That’s because it is a detention pond for collected rainfall.

  2. Can the issue of the condition of the place be addressed through the Parks Department?

  3. My two vizslas and I have used Blue Dog Park almost daily for the past six years. I have a few responses and observations:

    (1) Yes, there are muddy, yucky puddles. My dogs have never developed any health problems from the puddles. This summer should be drier in the park than last summer because the leaking hose has been fixed. The rainy season will always be wet.

    (2) Though it isn’t a perfect site for a dog park, it’s better than know park and I’d guess the site wasn’t used for anything else before it became a dog park.

    (3) I’ve met all the regular dogwalkers. They’re all nice people and they treat the park respectfully.

    (4) Some dogs entering the park will be intimidated when approached by a large number of dogs, especially if the entering dog is not well socialized to other dogs. If your dog is like that, then you shouldn’t bring your dog into the park at busy times. That said, I’ve seen only a few instances of dogs fighting and no instance that wasn’t quickly broken up the dogs’ handlers.

    (5) Exercise BEFORE the park? It’s really not necessary. And for active breeds like mine, a mere walk–even a long walk–doesn’t register as exercise.

  4. first, i don’t think you’re gonna see the changes you want by posting some rules on this site. it’s a good start, but my guess is your touching a very small fraction of users. are there rules posted at the park?

    second, it’s a pretty poor excuse for a dog park, no doubt. I think the City puts dog parks as pretty low pri and certainly seems to treat this one with little attention.

    third, if you are interested in either a) cleaning this up, b) getting another, or c) both, I might suggest talking to the Parks Dept about it and also working with the community organizations (Leschi Comm Council, Mt Baker, etc) to see if there are other citizens who might be interested in getting a new one (or drastically changing Blue Dog). I’ve heard some say, “well, we don’t need to work with x community. they can advocate on their own”. Well, the boundaries aren’t neat, people go to other neighborhoods to use their amenities, and will advocate for things they want that might not be within their neighborhood boundaries.

  5. contacting Citizens for Off-Leash Areas ( would be worthwhile as well. they do not list Blue Dog Park as an off-leash area on their website so perhaps there is some history there while working with the city in regards to this area?!? they have the experience in dealing with the city/community and managing successful off-leash areas — it’s a win-win situation.

  6. I second the comments by Pro Blue Dog and Elvis.
    Everyone knows Blue Dog is a filthy pit in the winter, but it’s not bad during the summer and whatever group has been taking care of it actually put a TON of work into improving it a few years ago. Believe me when I say that it’s a vast improvement.
    If you’re that concerned about it, get involved instead of just complaining about it.

    With one caveat: there is one dogwalking company (King’s Palace in Madrona – owned by the same people that own Fetch) in particular who has the vans that they cram 15-20 dogs in – I’m not aware of any other dogwalkers who do this. It’s true that they don’t have good control over the their dogs, they don’t pick up after them and they don’t keep an eye on them. If you see them behaving irresponsibility or breaking the laws of the park, you can report them.

  7. I had brief conversation with COLA about looking for a new offleash area in the CD. It seems like one could be added to the large playfield at the TT Minor school or added to the park at Jefferson and MLK. Right now, Blue Dog Pond is my best option for an offleash area, but I agree that its a mess in the winter. I go there pretty regularly and SO FAR, no health problems for my dog. Maybe everyone should start buying bags of woodchips to fill in the puddles. If everyone who went there too 1 bag, we could probably fix it up pretty quickly. Is there any down side to doing this?

  8. ED — I wasn’t trying to complain and I apologize if it sounded like that. I was just explaining why I’m a bit frustrated. And I am involved in many ways, I just didn’t allude to them. I simply wanted the perspective of others (which I have received by posting here) and hear other experiences (also what I’ve received).

    I do agree with you about King’s Palace as I’ve seen them numerous times unloading 20 dogs, talking on their cell phones while the dogs fought with each and not cleaning up the piles. I didn’t realize I could report them, so I thank you for that. I will do so when I see them again behaving irresponsibly.

    And thanks to everyone for useful information and suggestions.

  9. Yep, I often see them there with 15 – 20 dogs and they never pick up after them. The dogs usually end up playing with me and my dog while they talk on their cellphones. They don’t even bother bringing poop bags with them to the park.

  10. My dog and I love Blue Dog. Yeah, it can get gross during the rainy season, but I just hose the mister off before we head home. We go there pretty regularly and have met a few of the dog walkers there. Most of them have been great, friendly, have control of the dogs, and pick up after them. King’s Palace though… don’t even get me started. I wish there was a way to kick them out of there.

    My other big pet peeve with this park is when people bring their young children in to play with the dogs. I don’t bring my dog to the kid park and let him run around off-leash. Please don’t bring your young kids into the park and let them run around off-leash. Seriously. It puts your kids and our dogs in danger. I keep seeing people bring their small kids in and let them run around like crazy and unsupervised while they chat with their friends. Maybe your dog is kid-friendly, but there are plenty of big dogs who don’t live with kids and don’t realize how easily they can knock them over while chasing after a ball, frisbee, toy, etc. And with a hill that steep… c’mon people, use common sense.

  11. as a weekly patron at king’s palace, it’s kinda surprising to learn that they take the dogs there. I’ve never heard of them going and never seen any sign of my dog having been there. weird. wonder if that’s their dog walking business.

    i know the dog walkers are a problem for other dog parks, to the pt where some are asking the dog walkers to sign agreements or face fines (pick up after your dogs, etc). i think this is a smart move.

  12. There are tree companies in the city, all of whom look for places to dump woodchips, so we shouldn’t have to fill in the mud one bag of chips at a time. If someone who has any control over improving the park reads this, try calling 1-800-tree-service, you can get woodchips by the truckload.

  13. Yes its finally coming to a head, irresponsible dog owners are beginning to overload the in-place system for dog-loving owners. It is true, I too have seen King’s employees pretty much dumping their dog’s off to go crazy (don’t they have space at their facility like other such companies?) and not pick up their feces at Blue Dog. It seems to me that in order to operate a business such as theirs partially on city property some sort of fee or license should be paid. That said, perhaps a monthly work day could be organized to help clean up the parkby the local dog owners–it seems the communal thing to do without asking the city to contribute more in an already stressed time. We are lucky to have these areas in Seattle–if the ones that are currently in use are not managed properly by the users there is little likelihood for others, particularly in areas closer-in to the city core like Madrona and CHill. I think that the best thing we can do is politely correct other dog-owners” behavior and contact King’s to confirm this is a practice.

  14. We also take our dog to King’s Palace every now and then but I don’t think she’s ever been taken to the park (we wouldn’t want her to be anyway). I would encourage anyone who sees this bad behavior to call King’s Palace and let them know your concerns (206)720-1961. I’ve always had good experiences with the day care side of the business and I’m sure they would want to hear about what is going on at the park.

  15. while that seems like a good idea, i doubt much will be done about it. the owner of king’s palace IS one of the dog walkers who is always there with 15-20 dogs running wild while she chats on her cell phone the whole time.

  16. The owner of King’s Palace (doggy daycare) also has a dog walking business. The dogs at the daycare do not go to the dog park (unless it is a special situation that is set up in advance with the dog’s owner).

    My dog was a regular at King’s Palace for years. Marie, the owner, has always been responsive to my concerns. I’ve been at Blue Dog with my dog when she has been there and never noticed any bad behavior from her or the dogs. (Perhaps she was keeping things together because she knew I was watching).

    Anyway, if you have concerns, call her and let her know.

  17. Someone else is running the business.

    Marie is responsible and responsive and I don’t think she would ever not clean up after the dogs in her care, nor chatter away endlessly on a cel phone while the dogs race around. She has a dog walking and boarding business now, that I recommend highly. This new business is completely separate from Fetch/Kings Palace.

  18. Hi all-I am actually the steward in charge of taking care of Blue Dog Park. I thank you all for your input on the subject, and thanks Gretchen for opening a line of conversation. If you have any suggestions on how to improve the park, please let me know. We are a group of employees at a 24-hour Animal Specialty Center in North Seattle that volunteer our time to make the place better for both dogs and their people. Already we were able to hire a herd of goats to clear out all the overgrowth and make more space for the dogs to run, cut the grass and cleaned up the fenceline, filled in some dig holes for safety, removed a pillar that dogs were running into and injuring themselves, spread sand and gravel to help soak up some of the ground cover, planted two new trees, and are always out providing scoop bags and scooping up the park.

    I understand all of your concerns that are still there and we are working on what we can: the location can’t be helped and the fact that it is a retention pond is unfortunate, but we really can’t do anything about it other than what we already are. However, I would rather have the park instead of nothing at all.

    Some other projects we have planned: clean up the artwork and repaint it to make it brighter, trim some low-hanging branches and gain more vertical space, planting sunflowers and other indigenous plants, fixing the step from the gate at the southeastern entrance, fixing fence holes, paiting a mural, terracing the northwestern hillside to make it easier for people to get up and down, getting more benches to sit on and cleaning up the existing ones, and much more.

    In the meantime, there are some immediate things that ALL users of the park can do:
    1) Please sign up for a COLA membership. We cannot do any of the above projects without funding. Signing up for a COLA membership is very inexpensive ($10 to start), and all proceeds go directly to Blue Dog for improvements. You can find the forms at the kiosk at the Park, or visit to contribute (just make sure you say that you want the funds to go directly to Blue Dog).
    2) Dog walkers really do need to restrict the number of dogs they bring into the park at one time to no more than 6, and always be vigilant with their pack. It would also be preferred if you especially sign up and contribute to COLA, as you use the parks the most.
    3) Follow all park rules and regulations. These are clearly posted on the gated entrance to the park on the southeastern side.
    4) HELP US! We have work parties monthly throughout the summer, and the more people that contribute, the more we can get done in a short period of time. Work parties are always on Sunday beginning at 11am. Future dates are: May 17, June 14 and July 19th.
    5) Pick up after your dog, no excuses.

    Thank you all-if anyone has any comments or questions, I am available via email at [email protected].

  19. Just a note about King’s Palace-they actually have nothing to do with the pack of dogs from the dog walker nor have they ever brought their dogs there. They are a reputable DAYCARE business-not a dog-walking business. The person responsible was actually using a van with their logo that she purchased from King’s Palace and didn’t remove the logo until recently. Therefore it is understandable how the two could get mixed up. If you have concerns about this dog walker, her actual business name is called Romp and her name is Marie. She is very nice and I have found responsible with her pack. If you have issues with her use of the park, please contact her directly.