By: Kendall Oakley

I would be lying through my teeth if I told you that dogs weren’t my favorite animal in the entire world. Aside from being incredibly cute, dogs are fiercely loyal, have good emotional intelligence, and are (sometimes) better companions that humans. In case you need some more persuading, here’s a picture of my fur-ever friend, Mollie:

Kendall and her dog, Mollie

Camping

Dogs LOVE camping! You can take your furry friend to a dog-friendly campground and enjoy the surrounding nature. There will likely be plenty of trails to walk and areas to explore with your dog. Their sense of adventure and curiosity is a refreshing reminder for us humans to focus on Earth’s natural beauty. It’s always important to keep your dog on a leash while at your camp site and to take note of specific rules and regulations regarding dogs. Make sure to pack provisions for your dog such as a bowl, water, and kibble. Venture Outdoors staff member Billy Dixon enjoys bringing his dog, Gus, on camping trips! “Camping with my dog Gus has become my favorite thing to do with the little man. At our recent trip to the New River Gorge we got to work on his off-leash skills, let him run around to his heart’s content on the trails and around our campsite, and we even put him in his favorite backpack and got him on a climb! He was totally comfortable and secure in his pack through the whole climb, and he’s becoming a great little adventure dog. Just like any skill, teaching your dog to camp is not always a quick and enjoyable process, but with a little bit of work it can be really rewarding for both you and your pup.”

Billy backpacking with his dog, Gus

Dog Parks

Dog parks are perfect for dogs and owners living in urban areas. It gives dogs the chance to romp around off the leash with other dogs and owners alike. As long as your dog is well socialized and you have confidence in your dog-owner skills, dog parks are surely a good time for all! Always remember to be courteous to other dogs and their owners! This includes picking up after your dog, using your best judgements when it comes to engaging with other dogs, and not allowing your dog to engage in inappropriate behaviors (such as fighting, excessive barking, jumping on humans). All in all, dog parks provide good opportunities for dogs to make new friends and release some steam.

Jogging

In some cases, dogs make fantastic running partners. Depending on your dog’s condition and ability level, they can enjoy going on easy to moderate jogs. Always consult your vet before taking your dog with you. A regular leash is ok, but most people recommend a hands-free running leash that secures around your waist. This allows for more mobility between yourself and your dog and also allows you to keep your form proper while running. Again, jogging with your dog is a great way to expend some energy and stay fit!

Walking/Hiking

One of the most basic yet essential activities for dogs and their owners is a good, old fashioned walk. The beauty of this one is that there are SO many places to walk your dog! Your neighborhood, the local park, down the street, you name it. It’s a good way to relieve some boredom especially if your dog spends all day at home while you’re at work/school/running errands. Hiking with your dog is exciting and definitely an adventure, too. Always use a leash and bring provisions for your dog if you plan on hiking for a long time or over a long distance.

We honestly don’t deserve dogs so the least we can do as dog owners is to give our pups the bliss of the outdoors. Adventures are always better with friends, and in this case, your friend might have four legs and a tail.