Best Practical Holiday Gifts for Your Dog


A message from Kelly and Christian, CragDog founders:We wish all our current customers, future customers, dog owners, and rock climbers the best for a holiday season full of fun with their dogs and their outdoor adventures.  Thanks for visiting our website and looking at our products.  We are grateful for those of you who have purchased and who have contributed used climbing gear that we recycle for our products.  In the spirit of the holidays and throughout the year, CragDog contributes 30% of sales proceeds to local and national climbing advocacy organizations.

To help with your holiday shopping, we have compiled here a few of our favorite holiday gifts for our dogs and for dog owners who love the outdoors.  These are practical gifts which will be welcomed and used.

Leashes – CragDog sells many different types of climbing rope dog leashes, some with and without carabiners, depending on your preference.  All are made with up-cycle used climbing gear; creating pet-safe, easy-use equipment.  Check out our website for the leash that works best for you!





Dog Toys – Exercise and play with humans and other dogs is essential for your dog’s health and happiness.  CragDog sells many different types of tug and toss rope dog toys and a combination pack of all.  These heavy-duty dog toys can withstand a great deal of play and can be found on our website.




Chuckit – For dogs who like to run and fetch, a long handled chuckit ball launcher increases the length you can throw providing more fun running and chasing for your dog.  With the chuckit’s hands-free pick-up you avoid wet sloppy balls.


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Dog Beds – Dogs need a comfy bed to snooze on just like you do, where they can relax in a spot that’s dedicated to them.  Although we prefer to recommend purchases from small/local businesses, in this case we recommend dog beds from Costco.  We find these are the best value.


Sleeping Bag


Dog Sleeping Bags – When you take your dog along for camping, dogs like to curl up in their own sleeping bag.  Although there are dog sleeping bags available for purchase, we recommend that you buy yourself a new bag and give your used bag to your dog.  They won’t know the difference.

Musher's Secret Paw Protection Natural Dog Wax, 60-g jar


Musher’s SecretTo protect your dog’s paws, especially in the winter from the salt and chemicals on the street, we recommend Musher’s Secret.  It is 100% natural food grade wax that is a breathable barrier for your dog’s paws. It can be used year-round for protection as needed.

The Parks Project -This final suggestion are gifts for humans from the Parks Project.  A tote bag, sweatshirt or gift box from the Parks Project will support our National Parks. There are many gifts to choose from, including ones with your favorite National Park’s logo.  National Parks are great places to explore with our pets.

Happy Holidays and Happy Trails everyone,

Favorite Free Dog Parks in the Twin Cities Area of Minneapolis and St. Paul


We have gathered here a list of our favorite free dog parks in the twin cities area of Minneapolis and St. Paul. All of the dog parks listed here are free. No seasonal passes or daily fees are required or collected.

All of these are off-leash parks! If you don’t get to walk your dogs off-leash often, make sure to check these out! You will have fun walking with your dog, or allowing them to run and socialize with other dogs. Make sure to check out each dog park’s website or Facebook page for more detailed information. (Information below is  current as of October 2020.)



Arlington/Arkwright Off-Leash Dog Area

400 Arlington Avenue East
St. Paul, MN 55130

This popular St. Paul 5 acre off-leash park is fully fenced. With a wooded walking area and some hills, this is a great place for dogs to run. An open area has benches and picnic tables.


Bald Eagle-Otter Lakes Regional Off-Leash Dog Park

5750 Otter Lake Road
White Bear Township, MN 55110

This dog park is located adjacent to the Meeker Island Historic Lock and Dam site. The park is located along the river at the bottom of the bluff and can be accessed from the entrance along the Mississippi River Blvd trail. It features a dog run and a dog beach. There is no fence surrounding the park, which is bordered by the Mississippi River and the steep river bluffs.



2350 Upper Afton Road and 2357 Lower Afton Road (Two entrances)
Maplewood, MN 55119

With 35 acres, this is considered one of the best dog parks in the metro area. The entire area is fenced and there are miles of wooded trails with play areas.  Lots of opportunities for swimming with two small ponds and one larger swimming pond that is fenced off.  


Bloomington Off-Leash Recreation Area

6202 West 111th Street
Bloomington, MN 55438

This 25-acre site has a very large grassy area with plenty of green space. There are hilly walking areas and a separate fenced area with shade and a pond for dogs to cool off and swim.  


High Bridge Dog Park

High Bridge Dog Park

59 Randolph Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55102

A seven acre park next to the river and under the High Bridge. This a great place for dogs to run as the area is completely enclosed. There is no water feature or wooded areas. It has a separated small dog and large dog area. Chairs and tables are available. Note, cannot be accessed from the High Bridge; it is accessed by taking Shepard Rd. to Randolph Ave.


Meeker Island Dog Park

486 N Mississippi River Blvd
St. Paul, MN 55104

This dog park is located adjacent to the Meeker Island Historic Lock and Dam site. The park is located along the river at the bottom of the bluff and can be accessed from the entrance along the Mississippi River Blvd trail. It features a dog run and a dog beach. There is no fence surrounding the park, which is bordered by the Mississippi River and the steep river bluffs.


Minneapolis Airport Dog Park

6096 South 28th Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55450

This is a large open space near the airport with both wooded and grassy park areas. Large open fields for running. Few amenities but a favorite park for many. Watch the planes take off and land while you run with your dog.



Rice Creek North Trail Corridor Off-Leash Area

5959 Lexington Ave N
Shoreview, MN 55126

With fencing surrounding its nearly 13 acres, there’s lots of room for dogs to run and play in an open field. A large circular walking path is a popular amenity for this neighborhood favorite.



Staring Lake Park

13800 Pioneer Trail
Eden Prairie, MN 55347
Available mid-March–December

Located next to the Staring Lake Archery Range, the 5.7 acres of fenced area offers spacious woods, an open area, and natural walking paths. This park closes after the first sufficient snow fall for Nordic skiing and reopens in the spring after snow thaw.


WAG Farms Dog Park

9475 Glendenning Road
Cottage Grove, MN 55016

WAG Farms Dog Park is a 14 acre, fully fenced park where dogs of all sizes can exercise and socialize while being off-leash. Area includes a variety of woodlands, grasslands and a pond.  There is a fenced-in small dog area.  A wonderful asset for area dog owners.



If you live in the Twin Cities, almost everywhere you go, dogs are required to be on leash. These parks allow your pup to run off leash and play with their pals. Take your pup to one of these dog parks, you won’t regret it!

Hiking with your dogJust like everything else, camping with dogs require careful planning and thought. We highlight here important preparation and planning to have a fun, stress-free, adventure.

Check the Rules of the Parks and Wildlife Areas You Plan to Explore 

You will need to understand the rules for the areas you plan to explore and where you plan to camp.  Many national, state, and local parks and forests allow dogs, but some do not, and some have specific restrictions.  Check the website for details.  Also, check the details of your campsite and trail plans.  The more you plan, the more you will avoid pitfalls and have an enjoyable time.


Dogs in the mountains

What to Pack for Your Dog – Keep It Simple

Pack plenty of food and treats – mostly just what your pet needs at home.  Lightweight eating and drinking bowls make life easier for you.

Make sure you review availability of water for you and your dog.  We usually plan a 1/2 gallon per dog each day and a gallon for each human.  Make sure to check with your vet, to ensure you have enough fresh water for your dog.  Review the website for the area you will be visiting.  Also, check the details of your campsite and trail plans.  An important consideration when camping is the proximity of water at the campsite and while you are hiking.  If your pup does not have enough water, you won’t either, you will need to share.  

For hiking, it’s best to choose trails close to streams or lakes. Keep in mind distance between water stops. If water stops are far apart, you may want to carry extra to ensure it is readily available whenever your pup is thirsty



Dog playing on beach

Leashes, Leashes, Leashes

Bringing more than one leash is important for a number of reasons.  First of all, there are parks that require your pet to be on leash at all times.  Even for parks and forests where your dog can roam free, there will still be times when a leash is needed, especially when wild animals show up. And don’t forget rattlesnakes; dogs won’t understand what they may be getting themselves into.

In a strange environment, even the most disciplined dog may get out-of-hand.  At CragDog, we, of course, are in the leash business and have many sturdy leashes for you to choose from.




Make Sure Your Dog is Prepared 

If you plan a strenuous trip, covering many miles, know what your pet is capable of.  You might want to have a training plan for your dog just as you may have for yourself. Consider scheduling a visit to your vet to make sure your dog can handle the trip, especially if you have any doubts about the health or capability of your pet.

Starting out, not all dogs do well at sleeping in a tent and may have trouble going in and out.  You may want to practice before you are on the trail.

Courtesy Counts  

If you plan to hike in popular areas, your dog will need basic obedience training to avoid trouble and to keep all pets and wildlife safe.  Know the rules for the trails you’re using, and whether there are other uses for the trails by, for example, bikes or horses.

Respect wildlife and other pets by giving them plenty of space. Do not let your dog chase other dogs or wildlife.  It pays to go out of your way to be considerate of other users to avoid confrontations (with humans, pets, or wildlife).

Enjoy Nature As You Found It.

Follow the age-old adage: leave no trace.  Allow others to enjoy nature as you found it.  Always pick up your dog’s waste and dispose of properly where indicated.

At your campsite and when taking breaks, make sure to clean up food crumbs, spilled treats, and packaging. And you don’t want to mistakenly leave behind your CragDog dog toys…





Bring Along Your Sense of Humor and Have Fun

The whole point of hiking with dogs is to enjoy their company and have an adventure.  Follow these guidelines to plan ahead, but always have Plan B in case of unforeseen events.  The best trips are the ones that have unanticipated experiences; you can’t plan for everything.  Take lots of pictures, stay safe, and enjoy the great outdoors.  Your friends and family will be waiting to hear your stories when you return. And your best friend will become your even better friend.


Minnesota Based Climbing Companies


Minnesotans are a proud people. We love the outdoors and love our communities. Here is a, ever evolving, list of Minnesota Based climbing companies. From climbing advocacy organizations to skin care companies our goal is to build a complete list of all things Minnesota Climbing. Know of a climbing related company not on this list? Send it our way and we’ll get them added!

Climbing Organizations:

Duluth Climbing Coalition: Dedicated to preserving access to Duluth’s diverse climbing resources and promoting quality climbing opportunities for enthusiasts of all disciplines.

Minnesota Climbers Association: Advocate access for climbers by encouraging responsible practices, promoting conservation and stewardship of private and publicly held lands, as well as fostering communication and awareness of the sport to the public.

Climb Duluth: Psyched Local climber, promoting climbing awareness in Duluth/Northern Minnesota.

NorthShore VertiGals: an inclusive group of women (cis and trans), trans people of all genders, and gender non-conforming climbers of all ages and levels located in Northern Minnesota and the Twin Ports.

Climbing Holds:

Escape Climbing: Climbing holds made in Minnesota

Nicros: The OG of MN climbing.

Everlast Climbing: Committed partners in the quest to improve youth fitness with climbing walls and educational climbing programs

Kumiki Climbing: A differnt approach to climbing holds: Kumiki creates all their climbing walls, volumes, hand holds and flooring with artistry and precision.

skin Care:

Hold-On Skin Care: Organic Salve for Hands and Body


Granite Creek Climbing Collective:  Apparel inspired by a love for local climbing

Climbing Gyms

Vertical Endeavors: Bouldering, Top-Rope, Sport
Locations: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Duluth

Minnesota Climbing Cooperative: Bouldering
Location: Minneapolis

Minneapolis Bouldering Project: Bouldering
Location: Minneapolis

The A: Bouldering
Location: Minneapolis

Roca: Bouldering, Top-Rope, Sport
Location: Rochester

Climbing Gear Recycling

CragDog: We recycle climbing gear to make quality collars, leashes and toys for the dog community while giving back to the climbing community.

Crag: Slang for “climbing area”; a steep rugged cliff or rock face.

Dog: Slang for “best friend”; a domesticated canid, Canis familiaris, bred in many varieties. All of them, cute.

CragDog: Slang for “best friend at a climbing area”; A cute four-legged friend hanging out while you climb.

There are many types of CragDogs: big, small, young, old, loud, quiet, sleepy, energetic The list goes on and on. Heck, there are even crag cats. Knowing when and where to bring your CragDog is important.

  1. Are dogs allowed at the climbing area? Know where you are climbing, many National Park lands have restrictions on dogs in the backcountry. Almost all climbing locations require your dog to be on a leash.
  2. Is your dog a people person? Some dogs just don’t like people. If your dog is actively aggressive towards people, it may be best to leave them at home. Other dogs only react when people bother them. Know your dog and where you are climbing. If you feel uncomfortable, leave them behind,
  3. Is your dog dog-friendly? Some dogs do not like other dogs, plain and simple. If there are a lot of dogs running around, you know the drill.
  4. Are you prepared for a dog fight? Some people don’t leash their dogs no matter the rules. Fights will happen. If your dog getting into a fight ruins your day of climbing, you may want to skip the headache.
  5. Are you willing to break your best friend’s heart by leaving them at home?

If you take anything from this article, don’t let your dog ruin climbing for others. Don’t let climbing ruin your dog’s day by leaving them behind.

Our advice, go bouldering, bring two crashpads. One for climbing, and one for cragdog naps.











It’s a fact, dogs love Covid-19 quarantine. Here are five strategies for working from home with your dogs.

  1. Designated work area: If you don’t have a home office, you may need to set one up. Make sure there is ample space for a dog bed, toys, and bones.
  2. Have a Good “Start of the Day” Routine: Wake up, play and/or cuddle with pup, bring dog to work
  3. Stick to a schedule: Plan for frequent 10-15 minute breaks to play with your dog.
  4. Dress to impress: Choose wisely, you will have dog hair everywhere.
  5. Embrace distractions:
    1. If your dog wants pets, give them pets.
    2. If your dog wants to play, play. Then give them pets.
    3. If your dog barks during a conference call, ignore it. Then give them pets.

During the corona-virus pandemic, dogs get to spend all day, everyday, with their best friends. In our house, my wife and I have makeshift offices on different floors. Each has a dog bed (or guest bed), toys, and plenty of room to play with the pups. We’re making the best of quarantine, and our dogs love it. We hope you are enjoying your time with your CragDogs as much as we are! Toys get boring, it’s time to get your pup a new toy!

Dog Playing with Ball During Coronvirus lockdownDog Sleeping On Ground

CragDog is for everyone, not just climbers.

I’ve heard a lot of comments like, “oh, well I’m not a climber” and “how does this help me?”. Whether you are a climber or not, the answer is simple, the environment is important and worth doing everything possible to save. 

How do we support the environment? 

On a national scale, in 2019, The Access Fund (A national climbing advocacy organization) spent 687 hours lobbying in Washington DC to protect 2.3 million acres of public land. 2.3 million acres of land for EVERYONE to use, not just climbers. Yes, the Access Fund focuses on climbing, but they also advocate and fight to protect public lands in general. Without the Access Fund, millions of acres of public land would still be threatened, or no longer public.

On a local level, in our home town of Duluth, MN, the Duluth Climbers Coalition (DCC) spent years working with the City, developing Quarry Park into a mixed-use city park. For years, Quarry Park had access issues, holding it back from its full potential.  With the hard work of the DCC, Quarry Park is thriving. Now, the park boasts a 1000-foot long, 100-foot high cliff within the city limits. Mountain Project shows 14+ ice and mixed routes. Additionally, the park offers a nine-hole disc golf course, mountain bike and hiking trails throughout. Quarry Park is also one of the most dog-friendly parks in Duluth.

On an environmental level, we used recycled gear to make a “new” product. Last week, I sat on a chairlift (a very high and scary chairlift), chatting with a Utah local, we spoke about the effects of consumerism on the environment. Questions such as do we need the newest thing? How much of our future are we willing to risk on the “coolest,” gear? Somethings involve safety, like climbing rope, it has a safety life span that no climber will question. After ~5 years of use, visible damage, or excessive abuse climbers retire their ropes and gear, often ending up in landfills. Yes, a new climbing rope is needed every few years. But, do you need a brand new product to take your dog on a stroll through the neighborhood? No. Now here is the question, where do the old ropes go? Landfills, basements, closets, your neighbors’ garage? Why not turn them into upcycled gear for your adventurous pup?

Climbing advocacy is outdoor advocacy and outdoor advocacy is environmental advocacy. Supporting climbing coalitions also supports general-use outdoor recreation. Whether you are a climber or not, buying through CragDog is good for the outdoors.

Shop Now and protect your outdoors!

Bears Ears National Monument-Emily Campbell

Climbing in the dessert-Patrick Hendry

We are excited to say we have officially launched to the world!

On the 4th of July Weekend 2019, I (Co-Founder Kelly) took off on an obnoxiously long (123 mile) bike ride to my In-Laws cabin in central Minnesota. Like usual, I decided last minute, with little prep, biking 123 miles would be a good idea (it wasn’t).

After a night by the fire, with friends, I woke up early in the morning to pack my stuff, and take off on the longest bike ride I’ve ever attempted. That morning, In my poorly planned, groggy, rushed exit, I forgot my headphones. If you didn’t know, 123 miles is a very long way to be stuck with yourself…

Fortunately (or unfortunately) at mile 40 I had the idea of cutting up retired climbing ropes and turning them into dog leashes and other k9 accessories people want. For the next 83 miles, I slowly pieced together the idea of CragDog. How do we get the material? How do we make the gear? How can we give back to the climbing community? Give back…How do we give back? The answer is simple. 30% of all sales are given back to local and national climbing advocacy organizations.

Immediately upon returning home from the holiday weekend, I went downstairs to cut up my old climbing rope and made my first dog leash. A few trials later,  CragDog was born! I very quickly realized that if I wanted CragDog to succeed, I needed help. From there, I reached out to my long time friend and climbing partner Christian; he was on board instantly. Christian hacked up his ropes and we’ve been hand-sewing ever since.

If you have any suggestions or comments we are all ears. We are here to advocate for the climbing community. If we’re not living up to that expectation, we want to know!

We’re excited, I hope you are too.

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