Friday, June 15, 2012

out and about: 10 ways to include your dog in summer activities

from left to right: caught mid-smile, a very happy Dusty, best buds cuddling

Year-round I like to include Dusty in as much of what I'm doing as possible.  He goes where I go whenever possible.  Here is a list of fun, dog-friendly activities you can enjoy this summer (and beyond):
  • Patio Dining: I like to take advantage of outdoor cafes on summer days and nights.  Many patios allow dogs to sit out with their owners and some have communal water bowls for their canine patrons.
  • Outdoor festivals and concerts: I take Dusty to Food Truck Friday, art festivals, movies in the park and outdoor concerts.  Most will specify if they don't allow pets at their events, and the vast majority are pet-friendly.
  • Trips to the lake:  I've yet to meet a dog that wasn't at least curious about dipping a few toes in the water.  You can bring a ball or frisbee and play catch in the sand.
  • Camping: Bring your dog to the bonfire. S/he will love hiking the trails with you and hanging by your side when you tell spooky ghost stories.  Just be sure to keep the s'mores at a safe distance.
  • Play dates at the park: Organize play dates with your dog and a friend's pup at the park.  While Dusty's dog training videos discourage taking your dog to dog parks where they can pick-up bad behaviors, I know he appreciates friend time with his own kind, so this is a nice alternative.
  • Sports games: Check out a Little League game with your dog.  Dusty enjoys watching kids play, and kids in the bleachers love to pet him.  This goes for youth soccer games and tennis, too.
  • Time with Grandma and Grandpa: What is a summer without some quality time with the Grandparents?  Dusty loves spending time with my mom and dad and their six pound Maltese.  He really appreciates the extra space to roam around (since our apartment can get a little cramped) and he loves all of the attention my parents give him.
  • Visits to a dog-treat bakery:  St. Louis has a few dog-friendly bakeries with fun snacks just for dogs.  While I have to be on my guard when I bring Dusty in for a treat (due to all the tempting treats right at his eye-level), he loves playing with the other dogs in line and getting showered with affection by the other patrons and store owners.  The promise of a gourmet treat at the end doesn't hurt, either.
  • Backyard fun: Fill up a kiddie pool and splash around with your canine companion.  Fire up the grill and cook a little something for you and your dog.  Throw the frisbee around, or just chase your dog around the yard.  S/he will enjoy the time you spend rough-housing together.
  • Road-tripping: Include your pooch on your next road trip.  He will love feeling the wind on his face as he leans out the window.  Or, if you're like me and can't trust your dog loose in the car, s/he will appreciate being taken along to explore a new place.  Make sure your pit stops are short and that you park in the shade if you have to leave your dog in the car for a minute or two.
To make all of these activities more enjoyable for Dusty and me, I bring the following with me each time I step out with him: a collapsible water bowl, dog food, a bone, a leash, and more doggie bags than I think I will need.  If we're driving, I always schlep Dusty's crate around in the car.

How are you including your dog in your plans this summer?


  1. Love this post! It is so much more fun when I can bring my dog Bella with me! I love to take her to restaurants with outdoor patios too :)

    1. I love having my dog with me, and I know he enjoys it, too. Aren't outdoor patios the best? Though in the 90 degree heat, they are best reserved for a late dinner around here :).


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