Callahan-Franklin Dog Exercise Area

  • 847-360-4725
Amenities include:
  • Fenced exercise areas for large and small dogs, off leash play
  • Dog and human drinking fountain, waste disposal bags

Thank you for your interest in the Callahan-Franklin Dog Exercise Area at Larsen Nature Preserve. The Waukegan Park District recognizes the special relationship that people have with their dogs. The Callahan-Franklin Dog Exercise Area is a place that offers an an off-leash play area in a park setting. It provides a source of open space, fresh air and recreation for exercise and social interaction.

The Callahan-Franklin Dog Exercise Area located in the Larsen Nature Preserve at 1720 Western Avenue in Waukegan. Amenities include separate play areas for small and large dogs, parking, benches, picnic table, shade, fencing, waste containers and bags and a dog drinking fountain. This special park enables dogs to exercise and socialize safely. The dog park is a favorite “meet-up” spot for canine and human alike.


  • Open from sunrise to sunset.
  • Owners are responsible for controlling their dogs.
  • Please close gate when entering or leaving site.
  • Please leash pets outside exercise area..

Restrictions (prohibited)

  • Bicycles
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Horses
  • Firearms
  • Game animals


  • Always clean up after your dog. We provide a Dogi-Pot bag dispenser and waste container for your convenience.
  • Always keep your eyes on your dog. Mischief can happen quickly.
  • Never leave your dog unattended.
  • Make sure your dog is current on its shots and has a valid license.
  • Dogs younger than four months won’t have all the necessary inoculations that allow them to play safely with other animals, so please avoid bringing them to the dog exercise area.
  • Avoid bringing a female dog in season. Spayed/neutered animals are recommended.
  • Avoid bringing more than three dogs. It subjects the park to overuse, and if they’re not your dogs, you may not have full control over them.
  • Keep your dog on-leash until you get to the off-leash area. This is not just respectful and safe to other park users, it’s also safer for your dog.
  • If your dog becomes unruly or plays rough, leash it and leave immediately.
  • If you must bring children to the park, supervise them closely.
  • No smoking is allowed in any Waukegan parks including the dog exercise area.
  • Avoid eating while at the exercise area. Food wrappers are tempting and bad treats for dogs.

The Benefits

  • Provides a safe environment for dogs and owners to socialize and exercise.
  • Promotes responsible pet ownership.
  • Enables dogs to legally run off-leash in a public setting.
  • Provides a tool for realistic enforcement of dog control laws.
  • Promotes public health and safety.
  • Provides an accessible place for elderly and disabled dog owners to exercise their pets.
  • Provides a great place to meet and socialize with friends and neighbors.
Canine Programs

Obedience Classes
We are here to help you teach your dog to become a well-behaved family pet, one that is a joy to own and a pleasure to take anywhere! All teaching and training methods are based on reward, motivation, and positive reinforcement, as well as dog and handler training needs. By using these effective methods, training becomes fun for both dog and owner! There are also plenty of opportunities for your dog to practice staying calm while socializing with other people and dogs. The first night of class, please bring your dog’s vaccination/health records. Owners of aggressive dogs must be in control of their pets at all times to remain in class. One owner per dog is required. Only registered dogs and owners may attend class. Dog and owner should attend all classes. Please do not use retractable leashes.

  • Puppy – 8 weeks to 4 months
  • Basic Obedience Training  – 5 months and older
  • Advanced Obedience Training – 5 months and older and that have been through the Waukegan Park District Basic Dog Obedience class.

Fitness With Fido
Sign up for this four-session, one-hour exercise period where your dog is your best workout partner, and motivator. We combine cardio, strength, balance, and stretching, while incorporating basic commands into one hour of non-stop fun for you and your dog. There is no better outlet for your dog’s energy. Dogs should be at least six months old, able to walk on a leash and know basic commands; (sit, down, stay, and come). Please bring proof of your current vaccinations and health records. Bring a yoga mat or towel, a water bottle, leash (no retractable leashes please), and athletic shoes must be worn. One dog per owner. Please no aggressive dogs. Program takes place at Bowen Park.

Agility Classes
In this class the handler directs the leashed dog through an obstacle course. Owners may cheer, clap, and call the dogs through each obstacle as it best serves them. There are jumps of various makes, climbing obstacles, weave poles, tunnels, and a pause table. This class is always entertaining whether the dog does as you ask or not. It’s fun for everyone! Please bring your dog’s vaccination/health records to the first class. Owners of aggressive dogs must be in control of their pets at all times to remain in class. Dog and owner need to have completed an Advanced Obedience Training class prior to registering.

  • Basic
  • Advanced

Nose Work
Your dog has more options for fun and a purpose to utilize that sniffer of his. Our instructor will teach you and your K9 how to have fun by exercising his natural scenting abilities by hunting for either food or toys. The class is great for all types and sizes of dogs, and great for a dog who is bored and wants to play. Participating dogs must have completed an Advanced Obedience class prior to registering.

  • Introduction
  • Beginner

Rally Obedience
Rally combines characteristics of agility and traditional obedience for dogs and owners into a new fun and challenging sport. Rally Obedience is timed and includes 1-34 performance stations depending on the level of participation. It is critiqued by the instructor who watches for a smooth performance as well as skill in following the directions at each station. A sign at each station gives instructions to the dog-handler team, and each team must execute the station’s particular task within two-to-four feet of the sign. Rally is an opportunity for veteran dogs to remain active and a chance for shy or antisocial dogs to get experience. Many dogs enjoy this change from the usual silent heeling of traditional obedience classes as their handlers can clap hands, talk, or whistle to them throughout the entire course in a dance like flow. This class is not AKC certified.

Participating dogs must have already completed an Advanced Dog Obedience training class.

  • Novice
  • Intermediate

1720 Western Avenue
Waukegan, IL 60085