P1050883-e1347371459669One of my favorite places to walk in Bellingham is the Columbia Neighborhood, and I always start and end at Elizabeth Park.  This park was founded in 1884 by Henry Roeder, and is amazing for many reasons.  Did you know it used to have a man made lake?  Most of all, I love it for the trees.  The trees are special here!  You can find a Tree Inventory provided by the city, which lists 50 different kinds of trees spread out over the four acres of the park.  The park also boasts a gazebo, which replaced the original bandstand in 1984, and has tennis courts and a historic fountain.  Also, in the spring and summer there are bathrooms!
I park in one of the few spots available on Elizabeth St., and walk through the park and into the surrounding neighborhood via Walnut St.  So many of the houses have historical markers with years listed before the Titanic!  The trees in the neighborhood are also spectacular, as are the several little book exchange libraries.  The one on Henry and Monroe is run bylibrary children specifically for children!

I find that this neighborhood is nice for walking reactive dogs because most dogs are behind fences, and even though they may bark you can usually cross the street and get away.  Also, knowing where they are can provide a great training route.  More importantly, this neighborhood is fully sidewalked and has proper square blocks, so if you are working with a dog-reactive dog you can easily keep track of your current threshold and know when you are making progress. These nice square blocks also make for easy avoidance of, or setting yourself up for, a sighting — depending on what you are trying to do.

library2If the dog you are walking is not reactive, don’t stop training.  Play a game with your dog.  Every block, do something.  Try asking for a Watch or Look at Me at each corner.  Or try doing a close Heel and Loose Lead Walk on alternate blocks.

Even though the park is an On-Leash Area I must warn you that frequently neighborhood dogs are taken there and played with off lead.  This is endlessly frustrating, but there is not much to be done.  I rarely see off lead dogs in the surrounding neighborhood, which is nice.

The most important thing to do on this walk is to take time to stop and smell the roses, the lilacs, and all of the other fragrant flora found along the way.  I often do this simply to remind myself how my dog feels when he stops to smell the base of a tree or a piece of grass.  And please do your part to keep the park and surrounding neighborhood clean by remembering to always pick up after your dog.  Thank you!



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