DRIFTLESS PAWS AND TAILS - Training and Exploring during Summer: A Dog-Friendly Guide to La Crosse, WI

    DRIFTLESS PAWS AND TAILS - Training and Exploring during Summer: A Dog-Friendly Guide to La Crosse, WI


    As we bask in the post-April bloom, let’s turn our attention to the charming city of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Nestled along the mighty Mississippi River, this gem is a haven for dog lovers, boasting an array of activities that cater to our furry friends. Our guide is brimming with training insights for outdoor and indoor fun with your pup, and this time, we’re highlighting twenty dog-friendly spots to dine, visit, or sip in La Crosse.


    La Crosse, WI, offers a variety of dog-friendly activities that cater to you and your furry friend’s enjoyment. Here’s a detailed look at each location:

    Riverside Park: This park is a pet-friendly community hub where your leashed pup can explore the area with you. It features water access for kayaking and fishing, hiking trails, and green space.

    La Crosse River State Trail: A beautiful trail open year-round, where dogs are welcome and may be off-leash in some areas. It’s great for birding, hiking, and mountain biking.

    Houska Dog Park: A 5-acre, fenced dog park on the east side of Houska Park. Amenities include drinking fountains, restrooms, adequate parking, and doggie bag dispensers.

    Hixon Forest :offers nearly ten miles of hiking and mountain biking trails through the wooded bluffs. Each trail within the park is dog-friendly.

    Dog Park at Myrick Park: A relatively small fenced-in area welcomes dogs of all sizes for off-leash fun. It’s a great stop after hitting the trails.

    Great River State Trail: This trail is open year-round and is a great place to walk Fido in La Crosse. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash.

    Myrick Park: Beyond the dog park area, Myrick Park offers tennis courts, trails, play areas, and open grass areas where dogs can enjoy but must be on a leash.

    Trees Today Nursery: A is a pet-friendly garden center. Your leashed pup is welcome to join you as you shop for your garden needs.

    Van Riper Dog Park (Onalaska): Features a well-kept, fenced-in area for pets to roam and run, with obstacles such as bridges and tunnels, water, clean-up bags, and various dog toys.

    Great River Bluffs State Park (Winona, MN): Dogs can join their owners at this pet-friendly state park. The trails lead to scenic overlooks of the Mississippi River Valley, and dogs must be on a leash under six feet.

    Enjoy exploring these spots with your canine companion! Remember to keep your dog leashed where required and always clean up after them to keep these areas enjoyable for everyone.


    La Crosse, WI, offers a variety of pet-friendly dining options where you and your canine companion can enjoy a meal together. Here’s a detailed look at each of the places you mentioned:

    Huck Finns on the Water: This casual, dog-friendly waterfront eatery welcomes your four-legged friend to join you at an outdoor table. Enjoy great food, incredible views, and a relaxed atmosphere with menu items like appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, seafood platters, steak, and chicken entrees.

    Rudy’s Drive-In Restaurant: You and your pooch can chow down, and they even offer a pup cup.

    Grounded Patio Cafe: delicious caffeinated brews. Your dog can join you at one of their pet-friendly outdoor tables while you enjoy your daily pick-me-up.

    Recovery Room Sports Pub & Grill: This dog-friendly pub serves lunch and dinner on its patio. Menu items include sandwiches, burgers, wings, salads, and pizzas. A full bar is available, and breakfast is served on weekends.

    Schmidty’s Bar & Restaurant: A pet-friendly local institution where Fido can join you on the outdoor patio. They offer lunch, dinner, and a weekend brunch buffet at reasonable prices. The menu includes a variety of dishes from Wisconsin Cheese Curds to Schmidty’s Special Spiced Ribeye.

    La Crosse Distilling Co: A dog-friendly pub that serves craft spirits and a food menu. Dogs are welcome at outside tables, and you can pair your meal with a cocktail made from house liquors.

    Tom Sawyer’s Bar & Grill: Offers American grub, beer, and cocktails in a casual space with a patio overlooking the water. It’s an excellent spot for a casual meal with your pet.

    Buzzard Billys: Specializes in Creole food, including po’boys, jambalaya, chicken and sausage gumbo, and blackened fish. Dogs are welcome at sidewalk tables, but alcohol is not served outside.

    Lindy’s Subs & Salads: Enjoy a delicious, made-to-order sub or salad with fresh ingredients. While there’s no specific mention of outdoor seating, they offer fast delivery and takeout options.

    Moxie’s: Located along the Black River, this neighborhood bar & grill offers American cuisine with a coastal twist. Dogs are welcome to dine with you at an outside table.

    Remember to check with each location for their pet policies and amenities before visiting, as these can change. Enjoy your dining experience with your furry friend in La Crosse!

    Embarking on an adventure with your canine companion is not just about the journey but also about ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience for both of you. Here’s an expanded look at the training tips to help you prepare:

    Clarity and Consistency: Dogs thrive on clear and consistent communication. Use the same words for commands every time, and ensure that everyone interacting with your dog uses these commands consistently. This reduces confusion and helps your dog understand what is expected of them.

    Positive Reinforcement: Always be ready to reward your dog for good behavior. This could be with treats, praise, or playtime. The key is to reward them immediately after the desired behavior so they positively associate with what they’ve done right.

    Calm and Assertive Energy: Dogs are excellent at reading body language and can sense your energy. By remaining calm and assertive, you tell your dog you are in control and can be trusted. This helps to build a strong bond and a sense of security for your dog.

    Structured Play: Playtime is an excellent opportunity to reinforce training. Use toys to teach fetch, which can help with commands like “come” and “drop it.” Hide-and-seek can reinforce “stay” and “come.” Make sure playtime ends positively, with your dog wanting more.

    Patience and Persistence: Training takes time, and every dog learns independently. Be patient with your dog and persistent with the training. If a particular session isn’t going well, it’s okay to take a break and try again later.

    Safety First: Your dog’s safety should always be the top priority. During training and outings, ensure they are in a secure environment and cannot run off or get into dangerous situations. Use a leash in public areas, and always be aware of your surroundings.

    With these detailed training tips, you and your furry friend are all set for a fantastic time exploring La Crosse. Enjoy the beautiful landscapes and the company of your loyal companion. Happy exploring! 🐾

    For more insights and canine camaraderie, visit my business page, Rising Star RK9, and connect with me on Facebook. I look forward to your suggestions, stories, and places and businesses you’d like to see featured. Let’s unravel the unexplored, create unforgettable tales, and elevate the canine experience together in this extraordinary region!

    Rick Pedersen

    Rising Starr K9



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