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If you’ve been reading Back Road Ramblers for any length of time, you already know how I feel about dogs. I am smitten with most of the dogs that come into my life, and enjoy all aspects of living and traveling with them.
Because our family raises puppies for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, we have a rotating cast of awesome puppies in our lives that need adventures. Not just because puppies love exploring, but because getting them out and about in the world helps them on their journey to become guide dogs.
Planning some adventures for you and your favorite canine this summer? Here are some of our favorite summer excursions to share with our dogs, along with some resources to help you get started on dog-friendly adventures.
Camping with Dogs is the Best Way to Unplug
Whether you’ve been camping for years or are just starting out, you’ve probably already discovered how awesome a weekend under the stars can be. Want to make it even better? Pack up your four-legged friend for a few days of hiking, swimming, and relaxing ‘round a campfire. There’s really no better adventure companion than a dog who is up for anything.
Dogs appreciate any chance to get outside with their favorite people. They won’t complain about the rain, the mosquitoes, or sleeping on the ground. Want to hike a mountain? Your dog will be happy to accompany you. Chill in a hammock? Sounds good to your dog.
Before heading out on a camping adventure with your dog, be sure the campground is dog-friendly, and you’ve packed the right gear. This article will help you prepare for your dog-friendly camping adventure, and give you some great suggestions for gear. One of our favorite must-have accessories for camping with our dog are these awesome collapsible bowls from Kurgo. In fact, we keep several in the car and one in our daypack, just in case.
Hiking with Your Dog is a Great Motivator
Truth be told, I don’t always want to wake up and hit the trails. Sometimes I just want to nurse a cup of coffee in front of my computer. Luckily, our black lab, Flynn, has mastered the puppy-dog eyes, and he loves exploring new places. For dogs, there are no bad days — no bad weather, and even on days when I’d rather be a couch potato, I can’t resist Flynn’s persistent, hopeful stare.
Dogs are great motivators! I challenge you to leave the house grumpy and go for a hike with your dog. I guarantee that when you return, your spirits will be lifted, you’ll have more energy, and you’ll be grateful that your dog got you out of the house.
Hiking with your dog doesn’t mean you have to scale a mountain together. Start with easy trails in your city, neighborhood, or park to build up your (and your dog’s) fitness level and endurance. The more you hike, the longer and farther you’ll be able to go. If you’re just starting out hiking with your dog, I recommend reading this awesome article over at You Did What with Your Weiner.
As for gear, you don’t need much more than a leash, some poop bags, and extra water for hiking short distances with your dog. For longer trips, I’d recommend a sturdy dog backpack and some dehydrated dog food to use for treats and/or meals. We also really love this handy screw-on sprinkler by Kurgo for washing off muddy paws before getting into the car.
Need an Escape? How ‘Bout a Road Trip with Your Dog?
Summer road trips are just about the best thing ever. Just thinking about the winding back roads, the open windows, and the radio playing my favorite tunes, makes me want to plan a road-trip adventure with my dog.
Whether or not you should road trip with your dog will depend totally on you, your dog, and your lifestyle, but I can promise you that fabulous, inspiring road trips have been achieved with adventurous dogs since the invention of the automobile. For the most part, dogs love to travel, but road tripping with dogs does take a bit of advance planning. Specifically, you should ensure that the places you are visiting and staying are dog-friendly. We use Bring Fido and Go Pet-Friendly to find dog-friendly lodging, restaurants, and activities when we’re traveling.
Want to read more about road tripping with dogs? Check out: How to Road Trip with Your Dog for the Best Vacation Ever.
Paddling is More Fun with Dogs
Summer and water adventures go hand-in-hand. Throw your dog into the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for fun. It’s true that not all dogs loving spending time in and around water, but plenty adventurous dogs can be convinced to give it a shot.
Before you load up your canoe, kayak, or SUP and head to your favorite lake, you should spend some time exploring some lakes or rivers near your home to see if your dog takes to the water. Some will jump right in, while others will be more hesitant. Take it slow, and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get your dog out on the water.
What Type of Boat Should I use with My Dog?
This will depend largely on your dog’s breed and size, as well as your personal preference. Kayaks are often preferable for one person because they are lightweight and easy to maneuver. Canoes are better for family adventures and large dogs. Stand Up Paddle Boards are awesome for mini adventures on the water and will provide a good workout for you and your dog, especially if they don’t mind swimming.
The only piece of essential gear you need for canoeing or kayaking with dogs is a snug life jacket to keep them safe. Our current favorite is the Surf N Turf Life Jacket from Kurgo.
Want to read more about paddling with dogs? Read our Complete Guide to Canoeing and Kayaking with Dogs. For more information and SUPping with a dog, check out this post from Karen Pryor Clicker Training.
Find a Dog-Friendly Patio to Relax on
This post has focused mostly on active adventures that you can enjoy with your dog, but I couldn’t finish up without including one of my favorite dog-friendly pastimes — relaxing on the patio of one of the thousands of dog-friendly restaurants, wineries, breweries, or coffee shops out there.
Places without outdoor seating have become more and more dog-friendly, so no matter where we travel in the warmer months, we almost always find an awesome spot to chill with our pup. Of course, your visit will only be relaxing if your pup is well-behaved and friendly in social situations. If you are unsure if an establishment allows pets on their patio, be sure to call ahead.
Next time you’re itching for an outdoor adventure, consider including your dog in the fun. Your pup wants nothing more than to play and work beside you, and dog-friendly adventures are more fun for everyone!
Want to get serious about your outdoor adventures with your dog? Check out these resources:
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Please note: While this is not a sponsored post, I did receive complimentary gear from Kurgo to test out on some of our dog-friendly adventures. While I have included links to some of these products, all opinions are entirely my own.