Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the weather, the colors, the holidays, and the food. I could go on and on about all the things I love, but one of the things I love most is being outside, taking longs walks in the crisp, cool air. When my Westie, Bailey, was alive, this was also her favorite time of year. She loved to bounce in the fallen leaves, chase the squirrels and smell to her heart’s content.
Fall is a great time to get out with your dog. Here in Colorado, the Aspen trees in the mountains are breathtakingly beautiful, so hiking is ideal. But there are many things to do with your dog that gets you outside to enjoy the fresh air.
Find it is one of my favorite activities to do anywhere. But you can make it a little more fun by hiding your dog’s favorite toy in a pile of leaves. Practice the following.
- Without your dog seeing, place your dog’s favorite toy next to a pile of leaves.
- Release your dog and say, “Find it.”
- Once your dog finds their toy, say “good” and play a short game of fetch.
- Once your dog is getting to be very good at finding their toy, you can start hiding the toy within the leaves.
Hikes in the great outdoors
Like I said, Colorado is lovely this time of year (but when isn’t it lovely?) and the crisp mountain air is just perfect for some hiking. But even if you don’t live in Colorado, there are some great trails just about anywhere you live. Make sure to bring lots of water for both you and your dog. Just because the temperature is cooler, doesn’t mean that your dog can’t get dehydrated. And also be on the lookout for wildlife. Many wild animals are out more during the cooler months.
Agility is a great sport any time of year, but it can be especially fun on a cool, fall day. You don’t have to have expensive agility equipment to have fun. DIY jumps and weave poles work just fine.
I believe all walks should be working walks, but let’s be honest, not everyone has the time to take their dog for a long walk. But when the kids are back at school and the cooler weather is just inviting you to be outside, take the opportunity to spend a little more time on your walks and tiring your dog out. Working walks are simple – you go for a walk, but work in some training at every corner. I like to practice the following on my walks:
- “Sit” and “stay” at every corner. Release when you cross the street.
- “Touch” on the side of the sidewalk when you see another person/dog coming towards you.
- “Watch me” before you release your dog to go sniff their favorite tree.
- “Come” when your dog gets out in front of you.
- Loose leash walking/not allowing your dog to pull you down the street.
No matter what you do with your dog, just make sure to have fun and stay safe!
What are your favorite activities you like to do with your dog during fall?
Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA and owner of Touch Dog Training, is a certified professional dog trainer who employs positive reinforcement behavior modification techniques intended to deliver results while building stronger bonds between dogs and their owners. Erin practiced her craft in Chicago for many years as a Senior Trainer for AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior. There she taught dog training classes and also conducted private, in-home lessons with pets and their owners. In March 2015, Erin relocated to Colorado and is excited to share her knowledge and expertise with dog owners in the Denver/Boulder metro area.