Being that April is Active Dog Month, “a month dedicated to keeping your dog active, happy, and healthy,” (according to the website, daysoftheyear.com) we want to take a moment to ‘explore’ some tips and tricks for unleashing outdoor adventures with your best friend.
Have you been planning to check out some hiking trails with your dog? Thinking about a dual celebration, making Pet Day on April 11th that much more special? Fantastic! We love those ideas! Here are some items to cross off the to-do list before you head out the door:
Keep Pets Comfortable and Provided For
When preparing for your hike or other activity, remember to pack water for your dogs as well as something they can drink out of. Cupped hands work in a pinch, but another option is to clip a collapsible bowl onto your backpack.
Some dogs are not big drinkers or can be a little more choosy about drinking water in a new environment. A creative tip for that situation is to pack water for them and also high water-content snacks, such as cucumbers, to keep your pup cool and hydrated on your adventure.
Remember to pack additional snacks and training treats too, as well as waste bags.
Prepare Well Ahead of Time for Off Leash Adventures
If you plan to let your dog off leash, first confirm that that’s allowed based on local ordinances; understand your local leash laws. Also, make sure that you know the terrain and area before unclipping that leash from your pet’s harness. Could there be a cliff on the other side of that line of trees or shrubs?!
Another consideration when it comes to off leash adventures is your dog’s comfort level around other animals and strangers. After all, when harnessing fun with our dogs, we want to put their safety and well-being first and set them up for success.
Review Your Cues
And, as always, the key to success is advanced preparation. For any outings, there are certain cues that you want to know are rock solid for your dog:
- Leash Manners – Because walking your dog should be fun and enjoyable for all!
- Recall (or Come When Called) – If dogs will be allowed to explore off leash, be sure they have a strong recall cue in case you need to call them back to you.
- Leave it – This cue is very valuable for when you notice your dog is heading in a direction that could lead to danger, such as after a critter or the sound of a rattlesnake!
Talk with Your Vet
Of course, we want to do all we can to avoid injury and post-adventure aches and pains as well. Prevent “Weekend Warrior” syndrome by making sure your dog is physically capable of the adventure(s) you’re planning. If you have a 12-year-old dog that spends most of his time napping and snuggled on the couch with you, a random four-hour Sunday hike is probably not your best or safest option. Even with younger, peppier dogs, yes, it’s Active Dog Month, but just because your Feisty Fido is bouncing off the walls at home, doesn’t mean he can – or should- necessarily embark on a strenuous hike in 80-degree weather. So before heading out, schedule a checkup to make sure your dog is in good physical condition and discuss with your veterinarian what level of exercise is appropriate for pup and for the season.
Also, while you’re at the vet’s office, remember to ask about, and pick up, any medication your pets need. Should they be on flea and tick prevention? Are there other tiny critters out there you need to think about protecting your dogs from?
Then, once you’ve checked all the items off your to-do list, we hope you keep this spirit of dog-human bonding through exploration and adventure alive! For other outdoor activity ideas and tips, check out these related posts from TransPaw Gear and our sister site, The Inquisitive Canine:
- The Right Harness Can Help You Unleash Adventures with Your Pup
- Unleash the Love – Celebrate National Love Your Pet Day
- The Best Running Accessories for You and Your Dog
- Tips for Adventuring Outdoors with Your Inquisitive Canine
Here’s to unleashing adventures and harnessing fun with our dogs during Active Dog Month …and beyond!