Go On An Adventure With Your Dog

It may not surprise you that I think every person should go on an adventure with her dog.

But just what is an adventure anyway? And can every person take one?

Honey the Golden Retriever waits to go kayaking.

What’s today’s adventure?

Adventuring With Dogs

Everything is better with dogs.

Okay maybe there are one or two things better without dogs.

But dogs do bring an awful lot of fun to ordinary activities. So why not do something extra-ordinary with your dog?

What if you have a job, though? School? Kids to raise? What if the thought of sleeping on the ground gives you hives? And what if your idea of whitewater is a hot bath loaded with bubbles?

Honey the Golden Retriever stands in a tent.

Sleeping outdoors is great. As long as I have my people under me so I don’t feel any creepy crawlies.

Can you still have an adventure with your dog?

Adventures For Homebodies

The short answer to whether homebodies can have adventures with their dogs? Hell yeah!

You just need to think smarter about what having an adventure means.

Recognize that the definition of adventure means doing something unusual, or exploring unknown territory. If your usual is watching the Kardashians, then that leaves a lot of room for finding adventure.

So what are some adventures for homebodies to have with their dogs?

Look closely at a place you think you know well

How many times do we walk by things and never really see them?

Why not take your dog to the back corner of your yard or a favorite park? Get down on his level. Sniff the ground where he does. Sit still and look for movement—birds, bugs, rodents. Viewing the familiar at a dog’s eye view will open worlds to you. And your dog will love having you exploring by his side.

Explore somewhere new

I’m astonished by how many of my neighbors have never visited some of the semi-wild areas in my small city.

There’s the footpath behind the old movie theater. The many creeks that travel through on their way to the lake. And yes, I’ve even met someone who has only viewed the Ithaca falls from the road?!

Honey poses at Ithaca Falls.

I don’t care if no one else comes down to visit the falls. It’s a great place to play off-leash.

Where are the fringy areas of your neighborhood? Water’s edges? Old, neglected cemeteries? Vacant lots? These places attract all kinds of interesting critters. And your prey-driven dog will love you for giving her an excuse to clear those pesky squirrels.

Discover a new sense

When it’s too yucky to enjoy being outdoors, nose work games are a fabulous adventure to have with your dog.

She’ll have a blast hunting for stinky treats. And you’ll learn all kinds of new things about your dog (I discovered that Honey needed to learn to lift her head to find higher scents; for a long time, she was stuck only exploring the ground).

While you’re at it, tuck a stinky treat on a table. See how close you have to get before you smell it yourself. Then enjoy the amazement of what your dog can do so much better than you.

Train a new trick

Is there any better adventure than exploring the mind?

I’m not a great trainer. And I never saw the point of teaching dogs tricks. But then I discovered how much fun Honey found it to learn new things. And that became fun for me.

Honey the golden retriever at slide.

I don’t think I want to learn this trick.

I taught Honey to push doors closed with her nose to make her less scared of sudden noises (it worked!). But she loves “high-five” so much that she’ll do it spontaneously to ask us to play.

Working together with your dog on learning a new skill is a fabulous adventure. And if you teach him how to sort the laundry, it could bring you a whole new working relationship.

Visit a new pet-friendly place

I love taking Honey out to eat. But since we live in the un-pet friendly U.S. instead of Paris, it doesn’t happen very often.

It’s spring. That means ice cream stands are opening up. Coffee shops are setting up outdoor tables.

If your dog has the temperament to sit quietly around strangers and food, take him out for drinks or lunch.

I can’t guarantee you won’t see a bug or two. But it’s a pretty sophisticated adventure compared to scrambling up rocks or canoeing through the wilderness, eh?

Honey the golden retriever rides in a kayak.

Let’s go for an adventure.

Relationships Need Adventures

All relationships need something new every now and again.

Our relationships with our dogs are no different.

Spring has arrived in the northern hemisphere (despite the snow some of us got recently). So why not let the new life appearing around you inspire you go on an adventure?

Your dog will love you for it, whether your idea of an adventure is scaling your state’s highest peaks or taking a drive to a new park.

Your Turn: What do you think of when you hear the word “adventure.” And what kind of adventures do you like to take with your pups?


  1. Such a great point! Adventures don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. There are so many interesting places within 30 minutes of where I live that I haven’t yet explored with Haley. You’ve motivated me to check out some new places to hike and explore! 🙂

    • I find that we all have awesome places to explore all around us. We just need to look at them with fresh eyes.

      I look forward to reading about some of your future adventures with Harley.

  2. I need to teach Ducky to close doors! For that matter, I need to teach her Daddy to close them, too!

  3. We take lots of adventures from walks, to traveling to visiting new places and we all love it.

    • OMD, Emma! You and your family are Team Adventure! When I looked up adventure in the dictionary, I saw a picture of you and your sisters and mom. 🙂

  4. I don’t think of myself as adventurous, so I like your take on it. One of the best walks I had last summer was right in my home town, down a street I’ve driven over loads of times, but I never walked there. And I was surprised by what we saw, and Cricket enjoyed wading in the lake too. I plan to go back there more this summer.
    I never thought much of trick training either, but I also learned how much Luke loves it, and now we both enjoy it immensely. Oh, and thanks to you for suggesting “close doors” to us, because we are having a blast with that! I now hearing slamming cabinets in the kitchen in the morning when my hubby is up with the dogs. Luke now wants to close them when he’s not even asked to!

    • Since most of us drive everywhere, we sometimes miss some places that look totally different on foot. I’m glad you took some time to explore something familiar in a new way. That’s a perfect adventure.

      Glad to hear Luke enjoys the “close” trick. I’ve been amazed at how much learning tricks can build a dog’s confidence (we’ve definitely seen it with Honey).

      Perhaps the next time you have visitors, one of you can do some tricks with Luke to distract him while the new arrivals are settling in.

  5. Justus is going home with me to South Dakota this June. Hopefully, we’ll stay in a tiny house in Omaha a couple nights. He will stay with the friend of a friend who boards and trains one night while I go to an anniversary party in MN. We’ll walk and walk and look, listen, smell, see, relax. I rarely have long stretches of time off w/o being ill so I’m really looking forward to this. Thank you for reminding me of the adventures we can have in our back yard. There’s a nearby state park I haven’t visited for years and never with a dog, so that’s on the list, too.

    • Your upcoming trip sounds wonderful. I hope you and Justus both enjoy your travels.

      You’ve spent so much time caring for other animals. I’m thrilled to see you taking some time to enjoy yourself. And I bet Justus will be a great road trip buddy. Just think of all the new smells?!

  6. You know you’re preaching to the choir here! I think everybody should try taking their dogs on adventures. For us, that means almost anything that’s new and dog-friendly for us. While National Parks are almost all prohibitive, most State Parks welcome leashed dogs and we take advantage of that whenever we can. We also have a lot of new dog-friendly shopping areas to explore as well as a pretty good assortment of restaurants that allow dogs to join people for patio dining. We’re also lucky to live along Route 66, and sometimes we just enjoy a fun road trip. I could write a novel here, but I’ll spare you all of my crazy ideas!

    • I would definitely read Houndstooth’s Guide to Dog Adventures. When are you going to write it? 🙂

  7. On your point about cemeteries, I wonder if anyone else has noticed something I’ve picked up on a couple of times now…

    We’ve taken our Springer for a long walk through the country side, and on the way back cut through our local cemetery. Now, despite being very content and very energetic for the entire rest of the walk, he gets really cagey- I’m talking about holding a low profile, ears drooped, tail between legs. If we hang about a bit he starts to whine and get visibly upset, cheering up again as soon as we leave.

    Has anyone else experienced this before? Any ideas what it could be? There’s no obvious cause in the area- but I’m not quite ready to jump to conclusions of a doggy 6th sense just yet!

    • I’ve never witnessed Honey behave with anything but joy in our local cemetery. But the one we go to is very old and not taking new bodies. To Honey, it’s just a giant park where she can go off-leash.

      I’d agree that I wouldn’t rush to assume your dog is sensing ghosts (of course, I could be wrong). But if it’s an active cemetery, maybe he’s responding to other smells. Or are there trees that react strangely to the wind–firs and pines can be kinda creepy when the wind whistles through them.

      I’d be curious to know if you can put yourself in your dog’s place enough to figure out just what has gotten him spooked. And please report back if you do.

  8. We love taking adventures. The weather is just now starting to “act right” so I am looking forward to new ones with Jax in tow.

  9. We love taking our dogs out on adventures great and small! Whether it’s a Pet Expo or a cross country road trip, it always brings us closer!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them