In past articles concerning hitting the trail with man’s best friend, I’ve talked a lot about safety and regulations, but what about the reasons to do it in the first place? Sharing your love for the outdoors with your dog, and experiencing the trails together can be beneficial for both of you in many ways. Keep reading to learn more about the positive effects of heading out for a hike with your own dog!
For Your Dog
Dogs have energy and a natural inclination to want to run, but they also require exercise to maintain that energy level and keep their muscles and joints healthy. Regular hikes with your dog will go a long way towards keeping them in shape and healthy. Not only that, but hiking will help expend some of their energy, which will tire them out later on in the day. This will give you some spare time for yourself once you get home and will also keep your dog from using that energy in destructive ways, such as chewing or digging.
A dog’s senses work a little differently than ours, and it’s no secret that their senses of smell and hearing are a lot more sensitive. The varying and exciting change of scenery that trails provide bring along with them new smells, sights, and sounds for your dog to enjoy. Also, dogs are social creatures, and heading out onto the trail allows opportunities for them to meet new people and other dogs, which boosts their social skills.
Obviously, one major appeal of hiking is the physical rigor you endure while doing it. Hiking is great exercise and hitting the trails regularly will keep you in shape. Furthermore, we tend to enjoy running and walking more when there’s scenery and solitude involved.
We often take nature for granted, especially when we live so far from it. It’s amazing what kind of surprises are waiting to be found in the woods, and hiking—especially if you take a camera—will allow you to experience some great views and interactions with your local wildlife and scenery.
Lastly, unlike many other exercise activities, hiking requires little to no experience whatsoever. Unless you’re hitting the backcountry for a week, all you really need is some water and a pair of shoes, which allows hiking to be an accessible activity for anyone.
Perhaps the most important benefit to hiking with your dog is that it deepens your relationship with them. Dogs love to spend time with their owners and hiking together can increase the bond between you and your dog in amazing ways. It doesn’t have to be miles and miles on the trail, but regular outings with your dog will go a long way towards ensuring you have a longer, healthier life together.