Summer’s not over yet! There’s still plenty of time to make plans to get out-and-about with your dog for some summer fun. Read on for ideas to get you in the planning mode, and please add your suggestions and favorite dog-inclusive summer activities in the Comments section below.
1. Take in the Sights
Play tourist in your own city or elsewhere. Dogs are allowed at more places than you may think, and at all kinds of outdoor monuments and points of interest. Canoe with your pup in Mendocino, CA, take a self-guided walking tour of Hollywood stars’ homes in LA, hop aboard a Windjammer Cruise in Bar Harbor, ME, stroll Crissy Field in San Francisco and get up-close to the Golden Gate bridge, or walk the historic Freedom Trail in Boston. Find dog-friendly attractions in your area at DogFriendly.com and BringFido.com.
2. Dogs Welcome at Local Pools with Dog Swim Day
Indulge your dog in a local Dog Swim Day if you’re lucky enough to find one in your area. What are Dog Swim Days? They’re the one or two days each year at the end of the summer season when public pools close and dogs take over the pool. Most events also include contests, games and more, and typically charge a small fee to benefit local animal shelters. See Woof Report’s past tip, Dog Swim Days are Here for more info and look out for an updated schedule of locations and dates from Woof Report in mid-August.
3. Library dogs
With the pipsqueaks in your family, extended family and the neighborhood kids heading back to school soon, why not set up a doggie reading hour to help improve their skills. Learn about how children’s reading skills improve when they read to dogs, and get ideas at LibraryDogs.com. While you’re at the site, check out the listing of books by dog breed if you’d like to personalize the reading session to your pup, As for your dog, he or she will enjoy a shady spot, lots of petting, plenty of attention, and story time!
4. Hit the Trail
Want to stay fit and bond with your dog? Try hiking together! She’ll love the nose-to-ground tracking and picking up the little critter scents, and you’ll be exercising without even realizing it! Check out Woof Report’s past tip, Hit the Hiking Trails With Your Dog, for hiking tips and to find a pup-friendly trail near you.
5. Visit a Vineyard
Would your dog prefer a Cab or Pinot? Of course he just wants water, but he’d still love to visit a winery with you. Many wineries welcome dogs on their grassy grounds and offer pup-perfect spots for picnicking. Find dog-friendly wineries in California with The Wine Institute’s handy list, or search online for them in your area. Many wineries even have dog-friendly events for pups and their people – see a sampling in Woof Report’s past tip, Wineries are Going to the Dogs.
6. Catch a Show
Pack a blanket, some snacks and a bottle of wine (water and a bowl for you-know-who) and sit back and enjoy the show! Film nights light up local parks all around the country, from New York City’s Bryant Park to Chicago’s Grant Park, and parks around the San Francisco Bay Area. Drive-in’s like the Devil’s Night Drive-In in LA welcome pups too, and don’t forget to look for free concerts and other dog-friendly events in local parks too.
7. Take Your Best Shot
Plan a photo shoot for your dog now, and come holiday season, you’ll be set with photos for holiday cards and photo framed gifts. Pick a gorgeous day to pose your pup, choose a familiar location and shoot the scene, or have a friend take some of you with your dog. Bring your dog’s toys (and whatever you do, don’t forget the treats!) and set a playful tone. If your photo day’s a fun experience for both of you, your shots will shine.
8. Hit the Open Road
Pick your destination and get out of town with your pup. Just you, your dog and the vacation you both deserve. Search for pet-friendly hotels by chain at petswelcome.com or visit VRBO.com where you can filter your search to find pet-friendly vacation rentals by owner, or check out luxurypaw.com. And of course, bone up on pet-friendly travel ideas with Woof Report’s past tip, Sniffing Out Dog-Friendly Accommodations.
9. Unleash Your Dog’s Inner Artist
Pick up Artcasso, a kit with everything you need to help your dog create a fabulous work of art using his adorable paws, and give it a go. Once your dog’s creation is complete, add his or her name and “Summer 2012” to the artwork. If you can, snap a pic of your pup in action, and tape it to the back of the artwork for a lasting summer memory.
10. Drive-In and Catch a Flick
Movies are not necessarily off limits to dogs (and babies), you just need to know where to go. If your area doesn’t offer outdoor film screenings during the summer months, head to the drive-in! Pack some snacks and snuggle up with your pup and enjoy the show. Check out Drive-Ins.com to find a theatre near you; the site includes a up-to-date and searchable database of nearly 5,000 theatres.
11. Bake From Scratch
Pick a recipe and pamper your pup with a homemade surprise. Doesn’t your dog deserve some of your home cooking? Find recipes in the Woof Report Feasts & Treats tip category. Most recipes are quick and simple, and if you’re not the greatest baker, your dog is likely very forgiving! If you can’t take the kitchen heat, serve up a special stuffed Kong based on suggestions in Woof Report’s past tip, Kong Recipes for your King (and Queen).
12. Take a Class
No need to wait until Back to School time. Summer’s the perfect time to take a class or study up on doggie tricks and tips. Check in with your local SPCA for classes in flyball, agility, nose tracking and more, or maybe your dog can just use a refresher on basic manners. There’s a class out there for you two and you’ll enjoy the bonding time as much as she will.
13. Ruff it
Take to the hills on a dog-friendly weekend camping trip. Pitch a pup tent or go car camping. National camping resort chains like KOA and Jellystone are dog-friendly as are many private campgrounds and national forests. Rules for state parks vary, so check them out before you go. Learn more at hikewithyourdog.com.
14. Indoor Fun
While the summer’s the best time to be outdoors, sometimes it’s just too hot for your dog to play outside. If that’s the case, check out Woof Report’s past tip, Indoor Games Your Pup Will Love, featuring six fun games perfect for inside your home. Also, check out the Chuck it! Indoor Launcher or Ball for indoor fetch. Just like the classic ChuckIt! launchers, but with soft balls or ‘donuts’ that won’t harm your décor (or break windows!).
15. Hit the Mall
Most outdoor shopping centers welcome dogs, as do many stores in those malls — and your dog’s already making plans to dine at the food court. While you’re there, check out the new fall fashions with your furry stylist.
16. Cool a Hot Dog
Check out Woof Report’s past tip,Fabulous Finds to Keep Your Dog Cool (and the links to others within it) to find fun toys to keep your pup cool, including Freezy Pups frozen treats to Kool Dogz ice blocks, and bones and leashes that spray water. Or whip of batch of frozen treats for your number one with Woof Report’s recipes for Frosty Paws or Pupsicles.
17. Meet Up
Join that doggie meet-up group you keep meaning to check out. Visit MeetUp.com and search by breed and/or location. Local dog resources and pet papers can also point the way to dog groups you’ll enjoy. And the group you join and friends you both meet will last beyond the summer months. Socialize together, isn’t that what best friends do best?
18. Show Up with Pup
Check out local calendars for upcoming doggie events in your area this summer. There’s Bark in the Park in San Jose, CA, Loreal’s Because Your Dog is Worth it Too! in Cranbury, NJ, and Woofstock 2012 Animal Adoption & Music Festival in Tacoma, WA, just to name a few. The best part about these events, aside from enjoying them with your dog, nearly all benefit animal shelters and humane societies in your community. Check in with local rescue groups and BringFido.com to learn about upcoming events.
19. Hit the (Dog-Friendly) Beach
Find the off-leash beaches nearby and go-go-go! Let your dog run wild, bring Frisbees and balls for fetch, whatever you like. It’s your day together. Just don’t forget to pack plenty of water, an umbrella or dog cabana for instant shade whenever you need it – and a towel!
20. See Dogs Fly
Check out dock diving, a fun sport in which dogs of all breeds, sizes and shapes compete to see who can jump the longest or highest distance into a pool from a dock or raised platform. You and your pup can choose to compete together or simply enjoy the action as spectators. Find events near you at any of the three national dock diving organizations: DockDogs, Splash Dogs, and Ultimate Air.
21. Clean Up the Pup
Pick a gray day for your doggie’s home spa treatment. Start with sudsy bath, followed by ear cleaning, nail trimming and a doggie massage. Then, pop his bedding into the washer and get the grime off his dirty toys for the full makeover. While you’re at it, pull out those toys you thought your dog would love and he never used and drop them off at your local shelter!
22. Splash Around
Spring for a kiddie pool, or even a paw-shaped pool or bone-shaped pool made just for dogs to set up in the yard. Then, pull up a poolside lounge, a cool drink and call it day. Your dog will love it as much as you do.
23. ‘Bone Apetite’ Alfresco
Pick a date and organize a dog-friendly picnic with other pooch people. Relax with your friends while the dogs romp around. Share a meal and open a bottle of wine – just don’t forget the doggie treats. Check out Woof Report’s past tip Find Great Places to Dine Out with Your Dog, to search for restaurants in your area with outdoor patios and enjoy brunch, lunch, dinner and anything in between with your fuzzy pal.
24. Take Pup Out to the Ballgame
Don’t miss the Dog Day Baseball games. See Woof Report’s past tip,Dogs Welcome at MLB Dog Days Baseball Games to see if there’s one near you or check with your minor league or local teams.
25. Mix it Up With Your Mutt
Check out a new neighborhood in your city or head out for a day trip somewhere close by. Go for a walk, try a new outdoor cafe and stop by the neighborhood pet store for a new toy and treats. What a great way to spend the day with your fur family member.
There are so many excellent outdoor activities for you and your dog to enjoy. Just remember that just like us, dog can overheat, dehydrate, even sunburn on the hot days. So it’s always best to schedule activities before or after the sun’s peak hours and pack along lots of fresh cool water and pup-approved sunblock.
Find more activities to enjoy with your dog in the Tails of the City category in the Tip Archives.
Please add your suggestions and favorite dog-inclusive summer activities in the Comments section below.
Thank you to JSmith831 on flickr for the photo.