5 Things Your Dog Wants To Do With You This Summer
Trying an activity that's new for your pup or new for you is both a rich and deeply rewarding experience.
As you wade through new territory together, you'll forge a stronger bond and create memories that'll make you smile long after they happen. You'll laugh a lot, splash a lot (see #1), and possibly even pick up a new hobby you'll love a lot.
Here are our top 5 favorite activities for you and your dog to try together this summer. Having the right summer gear is only part of the prep when it comes to heading out on a new adventure. Plan to start small and be patient, pack plenty of treats (for both you and your pup), and leave behind any notions of reaching instant "pro status" – then, get ready to have a new best day ever.
1. STAND-UP PADDLEBOARDING (SUP)
Summer is prime time to try out SUPing with your pup. Time on the water (and inevitably in the water for some first-timers) is refreshing, and it's a must-try for all those splash-happy dogs and humans out there.
A little research and prep goes a long way when setting your dog up for success. Ruffwear ambassador Maria Schultz SUPs with her two sidekicks, Kona and Riley. She's written a book about it – How To SUP With Your Pup – and even leads classes and clinics on it.
A few things she talks about in her book include getting your dog acquainted with the board on land and practicing basic commands like "Sit" on the board. This helps establish a solid foundation for when you hit the water.
Also imperative: knowing how to get a dog back on the board if they go for a dip (whether intentionally or after a board wobble). Check out this blog post from Maria that breaks down the steps in detail. The Float Coat Life Jacket is an essential piece of gear to have in your dog's kit. No matter how strong a swimmer your dog is, it's both safer and easier to SUP when they're wearing one of these.
Camping together is an opportunity to see wilderness through their eyes. Lakes become more than just part of the landscape – they’re primo places to splash and swim. And pinecones are no longer just pinecones – they’re the most incredible toy any dog has ever seen since the beginning of time.
If you've never camped with your dog before, the logistics can seem a little daunting at first. But when it comes to hunkering down on a patch of dirt and calling the great outdoors home with your canine by your side, their basic needs are the same as ours: a place to sleep, food to eat, water to drink.
3. TRAIL RUNNING
Pick your path, settle in to your pace, and follow that wagging tail along a string of singletrack. You'll find that the simplicity and freedom of trail running with your dog taps into a kind of joy that's pure and unbridled.
It's a great way to explore new sights and smells together while upping you and your pup's cardio fitness. Pull out a map and look for those wandering dashed lines – starting with the shorter ones at first and working your way up to longer mileage.
Check out our post with tips for trail dogs in-training and learn some good things to know before you hit the trail running with your dog.
4. PEAK BAGGING
There's a lot to take in as you ascend to new heights together. What seems unsurmountable solo is suddenly achievable with a four-legged motivator ahead on the trail. Dogs have an astounding ability to silence any doubt and fatigue with their ever-exuberant attitudes in the face of pretty much any obstacle.
Peak bagging calls for plenty of fuel and water and being prepared for the variables that go hand-in-hand with mountain travel: shifting weather patterns, longer-than-expected mileage, navigation challenges, rough terrain, and more.
A lot of our hiking tips apply for summit attempts. Savor the journey to the top, and snag a snapshot at the summit when you get there. You'll be amazed at what the two of you can conquer together.
5. FLY FISHING
It's the stuff dreams are made of – spending the day with your furry buddy by your side while you delicately dance the fly across the water's surface. It's a lesson in being present and a reminder that dogs are happy simply being outside regardless of the activity. And we're happiest when we're out there with them.
Office dog Midge can attest to the bliss of trekking to and between fishing spots, wading in the water, and napping on the river bank while her humans cast, mend, and set. Introduce your best buddy to the fishing life, and you'll definitely have tales to tell.
Have other ideas or suggestions for new pursuits to try with your dog? We'd love to hear about them in the comments below. And if you end up trying something on the list, let us know by giving us a shout on social media with @ruffwear and #mydogismy.