Getting Outdoors with Your Dog

Summer is in full swing [or winding down if you’re headed to school, but let’s just stay in denial about that]. We have at least another solid month or two of good, summery weather before fall really kicks in + cools us down. So, let’s get outside…with our dogs!

**full disclosure: I don’t own a dog. However, I’m trying really, really hard to get my boyfriend’s dog to think I’m cooler than he is. If you don’t have a dog…borrow your friend’s, significant other’s or neighbor’s dog + get yourself outside with them!**

Now, dogs come with a whole new set of responsibilities while out on the trails + a handful of extra considerations when picking your outdoor activity. Don’t let that deter you. Instead, use it as an excuse to get a bit more creative with your adventures. Here’s a few instigating ideas to get your outside with your pup before winter arrives.

Hike New Trails, or Revisit Old Trails.

At first I found planning around a dog to be a bit tiresome. When you’re taking a furry friend with you on the trails you need to consider whether they’re allowed, what sort of terrain they’re capable of + where their water will come from. Rather than looking at this as additional work, adjust your mindset to make it into an excuse to explore more trails with a new view on the world. Even when you’re out hiking without your dog, pay attention to water sources, note any aggressive terrain + be aware of how other dogs are handling the trail.

When you are headed out with your dog be sure you’re going somewhere that allows dogs [ie: NOT national parks!] + check to see what the leash laws are as well as what recent animal activity is like. Always, always, always bring along extra water for your dog along with something for them to drink from.

Once you’re out there…enjoy the trail time alongside your four-legged bestie! Slow down to take it all in when they’re meandering + run after them on the rolling descents. Get excited about chirping animals + stop to smell the flowers.

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Go Camping!

Remember the last time you packed up your backpack + car to head into the wilderness for a camping trip? Do you recall how your dog danced around you with eyes that screamed “take me with you!”? Yea, me too…so next time, he’s coming with!

If you’re already versed in the extra bits of planning needed for taking on the trails with your dog it’s really quite easy to include them in the camping trip. Especially if it’s car camping [our preferred way to take along the dog]. For us, the most useful thing to bring along is an extra leash…just in case. This is in addition to the necessities, such as food, water + a bed. Of course, pack along a frisbee or ball to entertain your dog while you’re chilling around camp in the evening.

One thing to keep in mind when headed out on a dog-friendly camping trip is how your dog may react to different situations. While he may be perfectly fine hanging out at home alone, you’ll have a hard time keeping a dog in a tent alone. A dog that enjoys chilling in front of your fireplace in the living room may really hate the campfire. Be aware of what your dog is trying to tell you while you’re out there!

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Take On a Lake!

Before it gets too cold to get on the water go find yourself a lake! Whether it’s to hike along, camp near or float across…a lake is a perfect place to spend time with your dog. Get your hands on a kayak, canoe or stand up paddle board big enough for your furry friend to tag along. There are a lot of inflatable options for kayaks + SUPs. You can quite easily back them into more remote lakes to find a bit of peace from the busier beaches.

Of course, this all depends upon your dog’s thoughts on water as well as patience + balance. This is something best to test out when you’re prepared to fall into said lake, so pack accordingly on your first trip out with the pup. It turns out not all pups are that great at balance, especially when they get stoked on life!

Be sure to pack along clean water [just in case!] + snacks for your post-lake lunch. Lakes are even more enjoyable from the shoreline after you’ve exhausted your arms.

Now, get yourself off the computer + outside! Summer is fading away, catch a few more days of sunny adventure before the temperatures drop + the leaves start falling!

About the Author

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Heidi Kumm

Heidi Kumm is a trail runner, world traveler, mountain climber, and all around adventure enthusiast. She is so stoked on adventure that she has made it her career as the owner of Adventure Feet First, a travel company that focuses on getting people outside to explore the world around them. Over the past years Heidi has spent months living abroad, volunteering around the world, living out of a van/car/truck, and finding new ways to explore on foot, by bike, or with a backpack. She has learned the ins and outs of self propelled exploration the hard way, so she's here to help us learn from her mistakes and to help us become more informed on how to make your own mistakes, safely.