Fall activities to enjoy with your dog
Fall is everyone's favorite season, especially for dog lovers. The cooler weather means you no longer have to worry about protecting your dog from overheating, which means it's one of the best times of the year to get active with your dog. Here are some fun fall activities to do with your dog:
Enjoy the fall foliage
If you are heading out to look at the fall foliage, bring your dog along for a walk or hike. There are plenty of prime hikes only a short drive from Rockville and Bethesda. For example, try taking your dog for a lovely walk along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The banks of this canal are lined with 184 miles of easy hiking (mostly flat) towpaths that are surrounded by trees that put on a gorgeous show of color every fall. You don't have to hike the entire path; it can easily be broken up into a shorter dog walk that is of a length appropriate for you, the dog, and the family to comfortably handle. Pack a lunch and stop for a picnic before heading back home. Try visiting a different trail or park every weekend to really enjoy the fall foliage season.
Go to the Arboretum
Want to take your dog into the city? The US National Arboretum in DC welcomes leashed pets on its grounds. Fall is a great time to visit the Arboretum and enjoy its natural beauty. The gardens extend over 446 acres and include many enjoyable trails to navigate on your dog walk. Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, just outside DC, also allows leashed pets to enjoy its gardens.
Take up tracking
Many of us who enjoy watching our dogs use their noses eagerly await the cool weather of fall so we can get out there and play this fun game. Any dog can track, and all you need to get started is a dog, a leash, a dirty sock, and your dog's favorite toy or treats. To start out, leave your dog in the car for a few minutes while you walk a few feet and drop the sock. The first few attempts you'll sort of lead your dog to the sock and reward the dog for "finding" it, but most dogs rapidly catch on to the game and within a few short training sessions will be tracking down your sock over ever-increasing distances and even unearthing it from under piles of leaves. Watching a dog use its nose in this very natural way is fascinating and a great way to tire out your dog's mind and body.
Take a historical walking tour
There are many historical sites and towns that provide walking tours managed by well-informed history buff guides who can take you back into history and show you around while providing fascinating and educational insights into what life was like in colonial times. For example, in historical Alexandria, there are numerous Footsteps of the Past walking tours that welcome leashed pets. We suggest calling ahead to confirm your selected walking tour does allow dogs on their tours.
Attend a harvest festival
Many localities host fabulous and fun harvest festivals every fall. Usually centered around local food and drink, these events are fun for the whole family. Since they are held outdoors, the majority of harvest festivals welcome well-behaved four-footed attendees.
Go apple picking
There's nothing more autumn-like than going out and picking your own crisp apples fresh off the trees and then taking them home and turning them into pies. Many local orchards and farms offer "pick your own apples" events and welcome leashed dogs; but it's always wise to confirm this before heading out.
Visit a brewery
In the tradition of Oktoberfest, try taking a visit to a local brewery and sample some local craft brews. Many breweries are dog friendly and allow dogs to hang with their owners in the outside seating area; some also allow dogs inside the brewery. We suggest calling ahead to confirm your pup will be welcome.