Holiday Planning: Scheduling an Adventure With Your Dog
The holidays are so fun. I love everything about this time of year, the weather, the celebration, and even the hustle-and-bustle. While many humans have holiday fun to look forward to, some dogs find the holidays to be a bit stressful.
If you think about it, as humans we bring plants and boxes inside, mix up schedules, invite guests into the home, and maybe even limit our dog's exercise due to weather. All of this combined can lead to quite the stressful season for our pets. Which is why I think this is a great time of year to schedule an adventure with your dog.
“Adventure" is a loose term, and should be used to best fit your and your dog’s lifestyle.
Here are the next steps for scheduling an adventure before year’s end with your dog.
Look into a Weekend at the Beach
Plan a Beautiful Fall/Winter Hike
Take a Herding or Agility Class
Join a Dog-friendly Meetup Group
Schedule a Playdate with a Dog-Friend
Road-trip instead of Fly
Let’s say that one of the above ideas sounds like the perfect adventure for you and your dog. Below, I have outlined a few things to consider to streamline planning during this busy season.
1) Think about what makes your dog the happiest.
Does your dog love a certain type of weather?
Does your dog love being around other dogs?
Does your dog love a mental or physical challenge?
Basically, answer the question; if I could give my dog the best day possible, what would that look like?
Rooney, has an extreme case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). If there is something fun happening, he NEEDS to be a part of it. Additionally, he loves to be around a lot of people, so I can basically take him anywhere, and he will think it’s fun. However, I know that he “lives his best life” - to borrow a phrase from many instagram posts - when he gets to be outdoors and experience freedom (i.e. off-leash time). Usually, this means taking him to the beach or to Lake Tahoe, which brings me to my next point.
2) Time Constraints
This time of year gets so busy. Between shopping, work, health, and other life-related obligations, it’s hard to find time to plan an adventure, or even have one. Based on your calendar as it looks today, and what you described above as your dog’s ideal day, how much time can you dedicate to this adventure?
Due to time constraints, I don’t think traveling to Lake Tahoe is going to be an option for us this Winter. Due to the distance from the Bay Area (it’s a 3-5 hour drive) a trip to Tahoe is a 3-day commitment for us. However, we could definitely visit the beach or take Rooney on a hike on a new trail where he can be on his long leash, or maybe even get some off-leash time.
Since it's the holidays, trying not to spend more money is on everyone’s mind. So while you want to give your dog a great adventure, you may want to consider how much it will cost to make this happen.
How far do you have to travel and how much will it cost?
Do you have to buy any new gear for your dog due to weather or type of adventure?
So far it looks like due to time constraints we will be going for a nice long hike on a new trail for Rooney, which is great since hikes are either cheap or free. Since we are being very conscious of our spending for the holidays, it’s best if this trail is within 100 miles of where we live so that we don’t spend too much money on gas. Therefore, I will turn to DogTrekker(our guide to all fun dog activities in California), to see what hikes are available. It looks like we have a few hikes available for us like the Bird Walk Coastal Access Trail in Sonoma County.
The weather this time of year can throw a curveball into everything we just discussed above. Even as a Californian, I know that Lake Tahoe isn’t always an option for us due to road closures. Not to mention changes in weather can lead to changes in gear, specifically paw or coat protection for our pets. Therefore, the weather is an important variable to consider when scheduling an adventure for you and your dog.
As the date of our adventure gets close, I’ll keep an eye on the weather and make sure that there are no thunderstorms or heavy rains deterring us from getting out on the trail. To be ultra-prepared, I’m going to schedule 2 hiking opportunities just in case weather insists on disrupting our schedule.
Did I convince you to add an adventure with your dog to your holiday list? I hope this was helpful and that you and your dog will get a chance to get out and enjoy an adventure this holiday season.
Rachel Sheppard is the author and founder of My Kid Has Paws. She is a Social Media Manager, blogger, corgi mom, animal lover, volunteer, graduate student, and shoe collector. After graduating from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science & Management, she worked as a Veterinary Assistant for 3 years. Her daily interactions with pet parents inspired her to start her blog focused on pet health, pet rescue, and pet products. She has a true enthusiasm for veterinary medicine and animal science, and enjoys sharing her knowledge and experiences with pet parents.