6 Outdoor Activities You Can Enjoy With Your Dog
With 44% of the UK population owning a pet and the majority (24%) opting for a dog, it’s understandable that many of us are searching for pet-friendly activities to enjoy.
That’s why we’ve put together a selection of the best. Our top things to do with dogs includes everything from camping to sailing, so you’re sure to find an adventure that suits you both.
Dogs are natural companions and safe bets when it comes to choosing a partner to join in your outdoor hobby. Read on to see which pet-friendly activity you can try.
Camping with dogs
Dogs are natural outdoor enthusiasts, so camping with dogs is a perfect, pet-friendly activity. Lots of open space to explore and plenty of opportunities for playing fetch, this is a real treat for your canine companion. Plus, if you’re camping alone, they’ll make a great guard for you, as well as an inexhaustible playmate for kids if you’re taking the family. Camping with dogs presents a variety of fun outdoor excursions. Go walking, jogging or sightseeing in your new natural environment, or paddle together if you’re near a calm river or shallow lake.
Spending quiet time camping with your dog is bliss. But before you go, it’s wise to prepare. Take with you lots of balls, frisbees, tug ropes, and other toys to keep your dog entertained while you’re putting up the tent. Also, make sure to pack your dog’s regular food — don’t be tempted to feed him campfire treats. Rich, sweet or salty food that they’re not used to might make them ill or uncomfortable, which is not what you want in the wilderness. You can also choose whether to have your pet sleep in the main tent, or get them their own dog tent to save the hassle of washing and drying their paws after every walk or swim
Here’s a checklist of camping-with-dog essentials:
- Collar and lead
- Bowl and dog food
- Favorite toys and bed/basket
- Rope and anchor to keep them from running off
Hiking with dogs
If you haven’t already, this is a must. Hiking with dogs is a near faultless pet-friendly activity. To our dogs, walks are the highlight of their day. So, why not take it up a notch as a treat and enjoy a day-long hike? There are lots of hiking trails across the UK, which means there are plenty of wide fields for your dog to run, fetch and play. Take along a frisbee to keep them entertained, and pack a water bowl and dog treats in your backpack for them to use throughout the trip. Although the whole point is to let them make the most of open space, make sure to take your dog’s lead for when you pass other hikers and cyclists.
If you love the idea of hiking with dogs, but aren’t sure where to go, walking somewhere with shaded areas and soft/grassy/leafy terrains is a good idea. Your walking boots can protect you from rocky or hot grounds, but your dog’s paws will feel the full effect. Also, perhaps avoid horse riding paths and fields filled with cows or sheep if your dog is particularly sociable.
Kayaking with dogs
Kayaking with dogs is rocketing in popularity as a pet-friendly activity. Loyal companions and (usually) naturally good at swimming, dogs are perfect sailing mates. So, get involved with the trend and take your pooch on the water with you!
As long as they’re obedient and know the basics (e.g. sit and stay), then kayaking with your dog is fun and simple. However, there are a few things to consider:
- Size: the bigger the dog, the bigger and sturdier your kayak must be.
- Environment: we recommend kayaking on calm waters on a clear day. Also, preferably somewhere that doesn’t attract a lot of kayaking classes or group sessions so your dog remains undistracted and on your kayak.
- Training: get your pooch used to the boat by encouraging him to sit on it in the garden at home. They can either sit on the bow, if they’re a larger dog, or in the cockpit with you if they fit. Make sure they’re trained enough to sit, stay and come back — you don’t want them jumping off as you’re paddling, but want to make sure they return immediately if they do!
- Safety essentials: make sure your dog has their own personal flotation device in case they get into difficulty in the water. Also, take their lead and collar in case they run off/swim away, but never tether them to the boat — this will make it difficult for your dog to reach safety if your kayak overturns.
Once you’ve covered the basics, just enjoy the peace of the water with your hound, before pulling up on shore for lunch and a game of fetch. Stroking your dog and going at a slow pace will really help make your pet feel secure as you sail, which should work towards a longer kayaking trip.
Cycling with dogs
If you’re like us and love getting out on your bike when the weather’s nice, then you might be surprised to know that this is also a fantastic pet-friendly activity. There are a few ways to go about it. Firstly, is your dog an avid runner, or do they tire after a short walk? Breeds including pugs and bulldogs aren’t suited for running long distances, but don’t worry. You can buy a dog bike trailer! Attach it to the back of your bike and your dog can go wherever you go without moving a paw.
If your dog is fit and able to run alongside you as you cycle, all you need to do is get the right gear to keep them safe.
- Body harness (not a neck collar).
- Non-tangle lead.
- Reflective vest for your dog.
- Water and bowl.
Having these ensures your dog stays safe, visible and hydrated throughout your adventure. It’s worth starting off by simply walking your bike alongside your dog to get them used to it. Also, make sure they’re up to scratch with their commands so that they know when to stop and move with your bike, and we suggest going at a slow pace for the first few sessions. Make sure you keep an eye on your dog throughout this pet-friendly activity and stop if they seem like they’re slowing down or panting.
All that aside, this is excellent exercise for both you and your pooch, as well as a great way for them to improve their obedience and explore new places.
Fishing with dogs
Another pet-friendly activity for water-loving pups; fishing with your dog gives you the perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment. Companionship comes naturally to dogs and they’re great, unspeaking friends to have with you when you want to escape for peace and quiet. Of course, you don’t want your pooch scaring the fish away, so it’s worth investing in a tether and anchor to keep him away from the shoreline.
Or maybe you enjoy sit-on-top fishing? A sit-on-top is a type of kayak that has moulded grooves for your body instead of a cockpit. If your dog is well-behaved and small enough, take him on the water with you. Or, if you enjoy sea fishing, make time so that your dog can have a game of fetch with you on the beach or even a paddle. Just ensure that dangerous objects like bait hooks are kept locked away.
Make an obstacle course for your dog
A final thing to do with your dog is an obstacle course. It doesn’t have to be as extravagant as Crufts; anything that gets your dog exercising and having fun with you will do. You can make short tunnels out of old tyres, get them to clear overturned plant pots, and teach them to criss-cross between table legs. You’re sure to have lots of garden items and furniture you can use and running alongside your excitable hound is also excellent for your fitness levels!
If you’re considering a fun outdoor, pet-friendly activity; you need the right shoes. Make sure you kit yourself out in the best gear before heading out with your dog by browsing our range of sturdy and breathable men’s or women’s walking sandals.