by Courtney Norjen

Summer is a great time to take advantage of the bond you have with your dog. The weather is beautiful, the water is warm, and your dog will be ready to tag along on an adventure! Instead of your usual stroll around the neighborhood, take advantage of all that Columbus has to offer you and your dog in the summer! Here are 5 different activities that you can try with your best friend:

1. Hiking

If you are used to taking your pup for a walk each day, why not go hiking instead? A simple change of scenery can bring new life to a routine activity. There is nothing quite like enjoying the tranquility of nature while your dog gets to enjoy new sights and smells. And the good news is, there are plenty of Metro Parks in the greater Columbus area that have a variety of walking paths and hiking trails for you and your dog! If you’re up for a longer adventure, you could drive about an hour to Hocking Hills State Park, Mohican State Park, or Caesar Creek State Park – all offer miles of trails to enjoy and lots of beautiful views.

Courtney and Finn hiking at Hocking Hills

Photo Credit: Katie Doran

Finn waiting for some treats at our campsite

Photo Credit: Courtney Norjen

2. Camping

Are you looking for even more of an adventure than hiking? If so, camping is a great option! While it does require more gear and there is likely a fee associated with renting a campsite, it is a wonderful way to get away from work and hectic city life for a night or two. During the day, you and your pup can explore the hiking and swimming in the park, and in the evening you can kick back, make some s’mores, and just enjoy each other’s company. Hocking Hills State Park and Alum Creek State Park are both great camping locations that allow your dog to tag along.

3. Kayaking/Canoeing

Kayaking or canoeing can be a really fun activity for you and your pup, whether your dog likes to swim or not! For dogs that like to swim, they can hop out of the kayak and just swim alongside you for a bit, and then hop back in when they’re tired (be warned – you WILL get wet!) For dogs that don’t love to swim, they can enjoy the cool breeze over the river from the dry safety of the kayak! In the meantime, you can relax and float down the river, or give yourself a workout by paddling down! Hocking Hills State Park and Mohican State Park both have kayaking/canoeing services and they happily accept dog passengers! If you’re an OSU student, you can also rent kayaks/canoes at the OAC.

Finn captaining Courtney’s kayak

Photo Credit: Katie Doran

Finn catching some air (and his favorite Frisbee!)

Photo Credit: Jewel Herbig

4. Teach Your Dog to Play Frisbee

Who doesn’t love watching a dog play Frisbee in the park? If your dog likes to chase a ball, you can teach him or her to catch a Frisbee! Both Dogington Post and Pet Place have great blog posts about the first steps you can take to get your dog to LOVE the Frisbee so much, they’ll jump into the air to catch it! With some time and patience, you and your pup can be the coolest kids in the dog park!

5. Teach Your Dog Some New Tricks

Whoever said “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” never tried. Dogs are capable of learning new things for the majority of their lives! Teaching them new tricks is fun for you and your dog, and often a short training session will tire out your dog even more than a routine walk will! If your dog knows the standard sit, down, high five, and roll over, check out this link for 52 trick ideas and a step-by-step guide on how to teach them! You and your dog will have a blast, and you’ll be able to show off to your friends and family!

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