For some, dogs are the new kids. So it's no surprise that prospective home buyers value the needs of their beloved dogs, too. "Anytime a client says they have a dog, I know they'll want a nice size yard, a big fence, and they always ask where the nearest park is located," says Lisa DeTurris, an agent for Prudential Douglas Elliman in Merrick and owner of Gabby, a bichon frise.

In Huntington, it's all about getting your dog out of the yard for some tail-wagging fun and exercise. The town offers dog parks that allow pets to frolic with the four-legged set in grassy spaces designed just for them. "It's a great town all around. It's very dog-friendly in the streets, and neighbors are courteous, too," says Rick Caran, a resident for 38 years who performs tricks at events with his dog, Jilli, a Yorkshire terrier.

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In Merrick, the Norman J. Levy Park & Preserve is said to be a great spot for energetic dogs that need a bit of exercise. "They have very nice hiking trails and allow leashed dogs, so it's a good workout for you and your dog," DeTurris says. For beautiful scenery, residents also take their dogs to Merrick's Cammans Pond Park and watch the swans sail across or sit on a bench and enjoy the whispering willows.

There's a dog park for residents with permits in East Northport. But Northport is also a favorite location among dog lovers. "Northport is a great dog-friendly place to walk your dog. The nicest thing about the village is that the park at the foot of town on the harbor allows dogs on leash," says Ginny Munger Kahn, president of theLong Island Dog Owners Group and resident of Huntington.

Bay Shore has a well-equipped, indoor dog agility facility at Doggie U K9 Academy and dog-friendly walking trails at Gardiner County Park.